1. The applicant in this matter has asked us to set aside the sanction given by the District Magistrate of Dharwar to prosecute him for abetting the giving of false evidence. On the merits of the case we say nothing. But a question has been raisod as to whether that District Magistrate had jurisdiction to make this order, a question the answer to which it is not so easy to give.
2. What happened is this. The First Class Magistrate of Ranebennur enquired into a case of murder and committed it to the Court of Session, and it is in relation to the proceedings of this First Class Magistrate's Court that the alleged offence was committed. Before the alleged offence of abetting the giving of false evidence can be enquired into by a Magistrate there must be a sanction either of the Court in which were pending the proceedings in relation to which the alleged offence was committed or of some Court to which that Court is subordinate. The Court before which the proceedings were pending when the offence, if any, was committed, was the Court of the First Class Magistrate. But some time after the murder case had been disposed of by the Court of Session and after a question arose as to whether sanction should be granted and before that question was settled, the First Class Magistrate was transferred, and it seems he was succeeded in office by a Magistrate who had only Second Class Magistrate's powers and had not power to commit to the Court of Session. It seems to me that the incoming Magistrate had no power to grant sanction in this case for these reasons.
3. We are dealing with a Court, and not with an officer. The Court of the Magistrate of Ranebennur which had power to commit cases to the Court of Session was not a Court of which the incoming Magistrate could take charge. For that reason the incoming Magistrate could not, in my opinion, succeed to any jurisdiction relative to a case which had been committed to the Court of Session. This difficulty seems to have been anticipated by the outgoing Magistrate who before he left sent the papers to the District Magistrate. The latter took the matter on to his own file, issued the necessary notices, held an inquiry and gave the sanction.
4. It is argued that this sanction was without jurisdiction. It seems to me that it was not without jurisdiction for this reason: There was somewhere a successor to the outgoing Magistrate in the Court which, as regards the Ranebennur Taluka, had power to commit cases to the Court of Session, and that successor to this Court, wherever he might be, would, in my opinion, be the Judge of the 'such Courts' referred to in Sub-clause (b), Clause 1 of Section 195 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
5. I have already explained that this Court would not be the Court of the incoming Magistrate. It would be either the Court of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate or the Court of the District Magistrate. For either of them would have the power of committing to the Court of Session cases occurring in the Ranebennur Taluka, and as either of them would have that power, it seems to me that either of these Courts would be the 'such Court' referred to and could grant the sanction.
6. It may be said that in the ordinary courso of events cases in the Ranebennur Taluka which had to be committed to the Court of Session would go to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate and not to the District Magistrate. That no doubt is true. In the ordinary course of events they would go to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. Nevertheless, the District Magistrate had jurisdiction. Any such case might be sent to his Court and he could call for and himself deal with any such case, and as it happened, his was the Court to which these papers came and he was the Magistrate who dealt with the matter. I myself am unable to see that it can properly be said that he was without jurisdiction to grant the sanction. I am not at all sure but that the jurisdiction could also be upheld as being based on a transfer of the case to his own Court made by the District Magistrate in accordance with the powers he possesses under Section 528, but I prefer definitely to base my conclusion on the other ground. This is that the District Magistrate was clearly at least one of the officers on whom devolved the disposal of committal of cases in the Ranebennur Taluka. So he was an officer who had jurisdiction to give sanction in this particular case.
7. As I have said, we say nothing on the merits, and as the only point of law of any substance has been decided against the applicant, we must discharge this rule.
8. I am of the same opinion.