1. This order will also govern the decisions of Miscellaneous Petitions Nos. 92 and 93 of 1952. These petitions are directed against the decisions of Shri S.N. Mishra, Civil Judge, Class I, Raipur, setting aside the decrees passed by the Nyaya Panchayat, Newra in three different suits preferred before it.
2. It would appear from the copies of the plaints in these suits that the relief claimed by the plaintiffs in each of these suits was for damages for wrongful seizure and impounding of their cattle. The Nyaya Panchayat decreed the plaintiffs' claim in each of these suits but it referred in its judgment to Section 22, Cattle Trespass Act. Thereupon respondents 2 to 4 went up in revision on the criminal side before the Civil Judge, Class I, Raipur. The learned Judge held that the Nyaya Panchayat had no jurisdiction to entertain the suits on the civil side, that it had jurisdiction to entertain them under the Cattle Trespass Act, that the claim under that Act was barred by time and that he would treat the decisions of the Nyaya Panchayat as those given on the criminal side. In this view he entertained the criminal revisions and set aside the decrees passed by the Nyaya Panchayat.
3. We would state only briefly that the view taken by the learned Judge that the claim is not triable by a Nyaya Panchayat because it does not fall under Section 86(1), C.P. and Berar Panchayats Acts is not correct. That provision reads thus:
86(1) The following suits shall be cognizable by a Nyaya Panchayat:
(i) suits for ascertained sums not exceeding one hundred rupees;
(ii) suits for damages not exceeding one hundred rupees for breach of contract not affecting immovable property;
(iii) suits for specific movable property or for the value thereof not exceeding one hundred rupees; and
(iv) suits for compensation for wrongly taking or injuring movable property not exceeding one hundred rupees in value:* * *
We are clear that suits for wrongful seizure and impounding of cattle would fall under Section 86(1)(iv).
4. It is argued before us that the word 'impounding' is not the same thing as 'wrongly taking', that the expression 'wrongly taking' in this provision refers to cases of conversion and that since this is not a case of conversion but only of trespass it does not fall within this clause. In our opinion this contention is not correct. The expression 'wrongly taking' is a wide one and it comprises not only of an act which would amount to conversion but also an act which would amount to trespass to goods.
5. It is then said that the value of the movable property which is sought to have been taken away should not exceed Rs. 100/-, in order that a suit for compensation in respect of wrongly taking or injuring such movable property can be entertained by a Nyaya Panchayat. In our opinion the clause, not exceeding one hundred rupees in value' qualifies 'suits' and not 'movables'. This will be made further clear from a perusal of Clauses (i), (ii) and (iii) of Sub-section (1) of Section 86. In each of these cases the pecuniary jurisdiction of a Nyaya Panchayat is stated with reference to the value of the claim made in a suit. Moreover, we are also clear that it would be hardly relevant to refer to the value of the movable property when the suit is for compensation with regard to any wrong done to it. A perusal of Sub-section (2) of Section 86 would also show that under the whole of Sub-section (1) the valuation of a suit is to be made with reference to the amount claimed therein and not to anything else.
6. Not only was the view of the learned Civil Judge that the suits were not cognizable by the Nyaya Panchayat wrong but also was his action in setting aside the decrees in a civil matter in criminal proceedings. The mere fact that the Nyaya Panchayat in its judgment made a reference to the Cattle Trespass Act would not change the character of the proceedings from a civil suit to a criminal Proceeding. Apart from that, when the Nyaya Panchayat in the clearest terms passed the decrees, those decrees could be set aside only in the exercise of civil jurisdiction and not in the exercise of criminal jurisdiction. No doubt, a Civil Judge is vested with the jurisdiction of both kinds but when two jurisdictions are so distinct they cannot be exercised even simultaneously, much less can criminal jurisdiction be exercised in relation to a civil matter or civil jurisdiction in relation to a criminal matter. The order of the Civil Judge in each of these cases was therefore wholly without jurisdiction and we accordingly set it aside.
7. Various other points were raised by the learned Counsel for respondents 2 to 4 but we do not think it necessary to deal with them here because none of them appears on the face of the record.
8. In this view we allow the petitions, set aside the order of the Civil Judge in each of these cases and direct respondents 2 to 4 to bear the costs of these proceedings. Counsel's fee Rs. 50/- in each case.
9. The amount of security furnished by the petitioners shall be refunded to them.