John Beaumont, Kt., C.J.
1. This is a reference made by the Sessions Judge of Ratnagiri asking us to quash the prosecution of a police patel of a village on the ground that no sanction from Government was obtained under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The charge against the police patel is that in a case before him of abuse which he tried under Section 14 of the Village Police Act, he held that the complaint was groundless and dismissed it, but in forwarding the record and proceedings under Section 17 he stated that he had convicted the accused. He is alleged therefore to have committed offences under Sections 218, 219, 220, 500 and 197 of the Indian Penal Code ; and the question is whether Government sanction to the prosecution is required.
2. Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that-
When any person who is a Judge within the meaning of Section 19 of the Indian Penal Code, or when any Magistrate, or when any public servant who is not removable from his office save by or with the sanction of a Local Government or some higher authority, is accused of any offence alleged to have been committed by him while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty, no Court shall take cognizance of such offence except with the previous sanction of the Local Government.
It is admitted in this case that the police patel is liable to be removed from his office without the sanction of the Local Government or some higher authority, so that the only question which arises is whether he is a Judge within the meaning of the section. Section 19 of the Indian Penal Code defines a ' Judge' as including any person who is empowered by law to give, in any legal proceeding, civil or criminal, a ' definitive judgment.' I take it that a ' definitive judgment' means a final judgment. So the question is whether the police patel can give a final judgment. In my opinion, he can do so in cases under Section 14 of the Village Police Act. That section enables him to try and on conviction to punish as therein mentioned any person charged with committing certain petty offences. I think that when he convicts or acquits, he is giving a 'definitive judgment.' Therefore, it seems to me that he is a Judge within the definition of Section 19 of the Indian Penal Code, and therefore comes within the protection afforded to Judges and public servants under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
3. It has been suggested that Section 1, Sub-section (2), of the Criminal Procedure Code, prevents the application of Section 197 to a village police patel because that subsection provides, among other things, that the Criminal Procedure Code shall not apply to village police officers in the Presidency of Bombay. It seems to me that all that is meant by that provision is that the procedure laid down by the Code is not to govern the actions of village police-officers, but it does not mean that the provisions of the Code are not to apply in the case of a complaint against a village police-officer. I have known cases in which the police patel of a village has been charged with others with the offence of dacoity It is obvious in such a case that the proceedings against the police patel must be covered by the Criminal Procedure Code. All that Sub-section (2) of Section 1 means is that the procedure to be followed by the village police-officers is not to be governed by the Criminal Procedure Code. I think, therefore, that the learned Sessions Judge is right in the view he takes, viz. that the sanction of Government must be obtained to this prosecution. Apparently, an attempt was made to obtain the sanction of Government, but the First Class Sub-Divisional Magistrate took the view that no sanction was necessary. That view was wrong and we must quash the present complaint. The complainant can apply to the proper authority for Government sanction to a fresh prosecution.