John Beaumont, Kt., C.J.
1. This is a petition by the Government of Bombay asking us in revision to set aside the order of the Honorary Presidency Magistrates pronounced on May 6, 1931. The accused was charged with committing certain offences under the Bombay Public Conveyances Act (Bom. VII of 1920), and the conclusion at which the learned Magistrates arrived is this, They say:-
Accused is charged under the Public Conveyances Act. The railway police have no powers under the Act to conduct the investigation. The accused is released under Section 219 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
I do not know exactly what was in the minds of the learned Magistrates. In the first place, I should say that even if the railway police had not the powers of the ordinary police and were to be regarded as private individuals, still it is well settled that any individual who has reason to think that an offence has been committed is entitled to set the law in motion, and if the evidence before the learned Magistrates justified a conviction, I think they were bound to convict, whether the evidence was produced by the police or anybody else.
2. The learned Government Pleader has, however, argued that under Act III of 1888 and the notification of the Government of India No. 943, dated Simla, October 19, 1917, which was re-published in the Bombay Government Gazette on October 25, 1917, the railway police are police-officers enrolled for a special district which embraces the Bombay Central Station of the B.B. & C. I Railway, that being the place within which the alleged offence was committed, and the learned Government Pleader says that under that Act and that notification the railway police have all the powers of the general police within their special district, the railway station. As at present advised I think the argument of the learned Government Pleader is correct. As, however, the accused has not appeared and we have not, therefore, heard any argument on the other side, I prefer to base my actual decision on the view that whether the railway police have the powers of the ordinary police or not the learned Magistrates were bound to deal with the case on the evidence before them. The case will, therefore, be referred back to the learned Magistrates to be dealt with according to law.
3. I agree.