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V.K. Rao Vs. Chandappa Appa Devadiga - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revision Application No. 1018 of 1973 and Criminal Revision Applications Nos. 184, 188 and
Judge
Reported in(1977)79BOMLR16
AppellantV.K. Rao
RespondentChandappa Appa Devadiga
Excerpt:
criminal procedure code (v of 1898) sections 145, 147 and 537 - whether it is mandatory for the magistrate to state the grounds on which the order under section 145 is made--use of cyclostyled forms--what is 'breach, of peace' within the meaning of section 145--whether order under the third proviso to section 145(4) can be passed simultaneously with the preliminary order under section 145(1)--whether the capacity or the character of the contestants is of relevance in proceedings under section 145 of the criminal procedure code.;section 145 of the criminal procedure code, 1898 uses the words 'the magistrate shall make an order'. it does not state further that the magistrate shall state the grounds for making the order. the word 'shall' in section 145 and the word 'may' in section 147 are.....hajarnavis, j.1. this case has been referred to this bench, at the instance of our learned brother gandhi j. for decision on the following questions:1. whether stating the grounds of his being so satisfied in section 145(7) mean that the magistrate empowered under the section to pass order must separately give reasons or grounds of being so satisfied of his reading the application and satisfying himself by seeing that the complainant has made statements on solemn affirmation are sufficient to pass a preliminary order?2. whether non-stating of grounds or reasons vitiates the order and/or the subsequent proceedings including the final order under section 145(6)?3. whether the preliminary order passed on a cyclostyled form with blanks filled in ink necessarily implies that the magistrate has.....
Judgment:

Hajarnavis, J.

1. This case has been referred to this Bench, at the instance of our learned brother Gandhi J. for decision on the following questions:

1. Whether stating the grounds of his being so satisfied in Section 145(7) mean that the Magistrate empowered under the section to pass order must separately give reasons or grounds of being so satisfied of his reading the application and satisfying himself by seeing that the complainant has made statements on solemn affirmation are sufficient to pass a preliminary order?

2. Whether non-stating of grounds or reasons vitiates the order and/or the subsequent proceedings including the final order under Section 145(6)?

3. Whether the preliminary order passed on a cyclostyled form with blanks filled in ink necessarily implies that the Magistrate has not applied his mind or has mechanically passed the order without considering the contents of the application?

4. Whether 'a breach of the peace' referred to in Section 145(1) necessarily means 'breach of public peace' or a dispute likely to raise a question of law and Order or an apprehension that the situation endangers use of force or violence resulting into grave and dangerous consequences involving criminal offences regarding persons concerned?

5. Whether the preliminary order under Section 145(1) cannot be passed along with the order under III proviso to Section 145(4) and if passed whether the orders under Section 145(1) as well as under Section 145(4) III proviso are without jurisdiction and the High Court can in revision set aside the entire Order under Section 145(1)?

6. When the dispute as contemplated under a. 145 is between landlord and tenant, or tenant and licensee or between a person and another who has permissive possession from him-Section 145 cannot be invoked at all and parties must go to civil Court for redress? Are proceedings under Section 145 barred in such cases and if any proceedings are initiated or conducted and/or concluded by the Magistrate so empowered, the disputes under Section 145 are without jurisdiction and must be set aside, by the High Court?

7. Whether under Section 145(4) 2nd proviso the dispossession must be complete ouster or even partial dispossession by trespass and occupation of the part jointly with the complainant can also be considered and final order under Section 145(6) declaring who is entitled to possession can be directed to be put in entire possession and the wrong-doer removed from the premises and prevented from interfering with possession of the persons entitled till evicted therefrom in due course of law?

2. The facts of this case are that the petitions was a tenant in respect of Room No. 2, Harjitsingh Chawl, Golibar Road, Jawahar Nagar, Khar (East), Bombay. In the year 1969, he and the other members of his family left the premises temporarily as he had to go out on account of his ill-health. It is the case of the petitioner that he allowed respondent No. 1 to occupy these premises on what is usually called as a leave and licence basis. While it was the case of the respondent that the petitioner Sub-let the premises to him. An agreement on the usual leave and licence form was drawn. It was the case of the petitioner that he had kept some of his articles in the premises. The respondent's case was that the petitioner had removed all his articles and belongings from the premises.

3. In the year 1970 the petitioner asked the respondent to vacate the premises which the respondent refused to do. The parties, however, again entered into another leave and licence agreement in January 1972. On January 22, 1973, the petitioner gave a notice to the respondent asking him to vacate the premises. The respondent replied to the notice refusing to vacate and claimed to be a sub-tenant. It was the case of the respondent that on March 14, 1973 he had gone out to the place of his employment but his wife and children were, however, on the premises. He was informed in the evening that the petitioner had taken forcible possession of the premises by driving out his wife and the children from the premises. The respondent went to the Kherwadi Police Station and lodged a complaint. He returned to the premises with the police and found that the petitioner and his family members were occupying the premises. He learnt from his wife that the petitioner and his wife had come with five or six other persons and broken open the door and forcibly entered the premises and they had also placed some articles in the premises driving out the respondent's wife and the children out of the premises. The police registered an offence against the petitioner under Section 448 of the Indian Penal Code and arrested him. The petitioner, after learning that the respondent has lodged ft complaint with the police, permitted the respondent's wife and the children to come into the premises and stay there. Since that time, the petitioner and his family and the respondent and his family have been staying in the premises. It was the case of the respondent that he was in occupation and possession of the premises right from 1969 to March 14, 1973. His possession was disturbed by the petitioner illegally and there was an apprehension of a breach of the peace inasmuch as both the families cannot stay in the same premises as relations between them were strained as the petitioner had forcibly entered into the premises. He, therefore, filed an application before the Presidency Magistrate under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The learned Magistrate, after examining the respondent, drew up a preliminary Order under Sub-section (1) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and issued a notice to the petitioner under the sub-section.

4. The petitioner filed a written-statement. He stated that in 1969,the respondent approached him and requested him to allow him to mafias of the premises temporarily till he got another accommodation. At that time, the petitioner was not keeping good health and he had decided to go and stay with his nephew. He, therefore, allowed the respondent to stay in the premises on leave and licence basis. An agreement to that effect was drawn on September 1, 1969. The petitioner had kept some of his articles in the premises. He had also kept one of the keys of the premises with him. The petitioner, therefore, claimed to be in effective control over the premises. After the period of eleven months was over, the petitioner asked the respondent to vacate which he put off to do on some pretexts or the other. As the petitioner was in need of his premises he pressed the respondent to vacate the premises. The petitioner, however, agreed to enter into a fresh leave and licence agreement with the respondent on January 26, 1972 for a further period of eleven months. On the expiration of that period, the petitioner gave a notice to the respondent on November 27, 1972 but still the respondent did not vacate. The petitioner thereafter gave another notice dated January 16, 1973 to which the respondent sent a reply through his advocate dated January 27, 1973 alleging that he was a subtenant and not a licensee and that he would not vacate except by due process of law. Ultimately, the respondent agreed to vacate and told the petitioner that he could come and re-occupy the premises on March 14, 1973. Accord singly on March 14, 1973 at about 12.30 p.m. the petitioner went to the premises with his family. The respondent was not present. His family was occupying the premises. The petitioner, however, entered peacefully With the members of his family and with his belongings. No force was used. He stated that he and the respondent's family have been staying jointly in the premises peacefully since March 14, 1973. He denied that the respondent was in exclusive possession of the premises and entitled to relief under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In support of his contentions, the respondent filed affidavits including that of his wife but no affidavit in support of his claim was filed by the petitioner.

5. After considering the rival claims of the parties and after going through the affidavits and documents filed by the parties, the learned Additional Chief Presidency Magistrate came to the conclusion that the case was one for an action under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He came to the conclusion that the petitioner had forcibly entered the premises on March 14, 1973 and interfered with the exclusive possession of the respondent. He rejected the contention of the petitioner that he entered the premises peacefully under an agreement. The learned Magistrate also came to the conclusion that there was no case of joint possession as the respondent was in exclusive possession on March 14, 1973 and that the petitioner had forcibly entered into the premises. He, therefore, passed the following order:

It is hereby declared that applicant Chandappa Appa Devadiga is entitled to possession of Room No. 2 with verandah of Harjitsingh Chawl, Golibar Road, Jawahar Nagar, Khar (East) until evicted therefrom in due course of law and I hereby forbid all disturbance of such possession until such eviction. Kherwadi Police are directed to restore possession to the applicant by removing all other occupants and their belongings from the premises.

Documents produced by the parties to be returned to them. No order as to costs.

6. It is against this order that the petitioner has filed this Criminal Revision Application under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Vaidya J. on November 16, 1973 issued a rule and interim stay. The matter came up for hearing before Gandhi J. The main point which was pressed before Gandhi J. by Mr. Dixit on behalf of the petitioner was that the learned Magistrate has not applied his.mind at all before issuing the preliminary order under Section 145(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Mr. Dixit urged before him that there was no endorsement on the application to show that it was verified before any officer of the Court. He stated that the endorsement on the application by the learned Magistrate viz., 'Applicant on S.A.' seems to have been made without examining the respondent. He also urged that the preliminary order passed by the learned Magistrate was on a cyclostyled form in which the details are filled in by ink and, therefore, it has resulted in a mechanical process and seems to have been passed not by careful consideration or after subjective satisfaction of the learned Magistrate as required by Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He also urged before Gandhi J. that the grounds of satisfaction were not stated in the preliminary order as required by Sub-section (1) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He further urged that the Magistrate ought to have been satisfied that there was apprehension of a breach of public peace and not mere tension in the mind of an individual or likelihood of fight between the individuals. The preliminary order was, therefore, illegal and suffered from these infirmities and the whole proceedings including the final order were vitiated and were liable to be quashed. It was then urged that there was a relationship of tenant and sub-tenant or tenant and licensee between the petitioner and the respondent and that the drawing of the proceedings under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was not warranted in a dispute of this nature. He submitted that this was a matter which should be left to be decided by the civil Court. In support of this contention Mr. Dixit relied on the following unreported decision of this Court:

1. Manek E. Patel v. Dhanjishaw Soharabji Mewawala (1973) Criminal Revision Application No. 604 of 1973, decided by Joshi J., on July 24, 1973 (Unrep.), 2. Freny Framroze Kerawala v. Dosu Hiraji Patel (1973) Criminal revision Application No. 645 of 1973, decided by Joshi J., on August 8/9, 1973 (Unrep.), 3. Jahangir Behram Irani v. Aspi Jahangir Irani (1973) Criminal Revision Application No. 548 of 1973, decided by Kamat J., on August 16, 1973 (Unrep.), 4. Ganpati Parmeshwar Kashi v. Nagji Pragji Kotak (1973) Criminal Revision Applications Nos. 874 to 884 of 1973, decided by Vaidya J., on October 29, 1973 (Unrep.) 5. Bhajanlal Kedarmal Didwania v. Babulal Ramdayal (1973) Criminal Revision Application No. 999 of 1973, decided by Vaidya J., on November 15, 1973 (Unrep.). He also relied on the decision in Bisse Gowda v. State of Mysore

7. Mr. Saudagar appearing on behalf of the respondent urged that the unreported decisions of this Court were based on the last proviso of Sub-section (4) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and therefore, those judgments were not relevant for the purpose of this case. He also relied on a Supreme Court decision in R.H. Bhutani v. Mani J. Desai : 1969CriLJ13 .

8. Mr. Solkar, the learned public prosecutor, urged that the observations in the unreported judgments were not relevant for the purpose of this case which should be disposed of without reference to those observations. Gandhi J. has observed:.Though there is considerable force in the contention of Mr. Solkar, which he submitted before me, I feel that I cannot dispose of this matter, without taking into consideration the judgments of my brother Judges, I also feel that the law has been well settled in R.H. Bhutani v. Mani J. Desai which I will deal with in a little detail hereafter, in one or two judgments of my brother Judges it has been considered and even after considering that judgment, my brother Judge has come to the conclusion that the preliminary orders in that particular matter because of want of grounds were made. If I were not to look at these judgments and if I were to go by the petition before me, and the judgment delivered by the learned Magistrate and the order passed, I have no hesitation to state that I would not have interfered in this matter in revision, because in my opinion there has been proper compliance of Section 145 and before passing a preliminary order, it is subjective satisfaction of the learned Magistrate, who entertains the application under Section 145, he has to arrive at that conclusion on the materials placed before him and it is not for the High Court sitting in revision to look into sufficiency of the materials placed before the learned Magistrate, who exercises jurisdiction under Section 145. But, in view of the serious questions raised by Mr. Dikshit with regard to the validity of the preliminary order and with regard to the consequences, viz., that if the preliminary order is not properly worded so as to disclose the grounds of satisfaction, it results into vitiating the entire proceedings under Section 145, after giving careful and anxious thought to this matter, I have come to the conclusion that in the interest of administration of criminal law in this State and in the interest of justice and in the interest of judiciary at large namely, that the highest Court of the State should give proper guide lines how they should proceed in the matters of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, it is necessary that I should refer this matter to the learned Chief Justice to be placed before any larger Bench or the Division Bench for laying down the law to enable the lower judiciary to follow the same with some amount of certainty.

9. Regarding the contention that the petitioner was not examined by the Magistrate who issued the preliminary order, Gandhi J. has observed:.In my opinion, it is not correct to assume that the complainant was not examined. As there is an endorsement and one familiar with the procedure which is followed in the criminal Courts, in the City of Bombay, before entertaining this application, the learned Magistrate must have called the applicant and he must have been examined on solemn affirmation, as the endorsement discloses. Mr. Dikshit submitted that if it were examination, there should have been the examination-in-chief as required under the provisions of the Evidence Act. He submitted that there should have been on the record, what he stated on oath. If the applicant in ex parte application were to merely repeat what he had stated in the application and if the learned Magistrate has satisfied himself by insisting upon the presence of the applicant and stating what has been stated in the application on solemn affirmation before him and thereafter if he made the endorsement, I think it is not proper to hold that there is no examination of the applicant.

In view of this finding, we have to proceed on the basis that the applicant before the Magistrate was examined by the Magistrate before he issued the notice under Section 145(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Gandhi J. thereafter proceeded to examine the various unreported decisions cited by Mr. Dixit in his support. Gandhi J. then observed:

Having discussed all the aspects of the Various judgments and also discussed R.H. Bhutani v. Mani J. Desai, I refer this matter to the learned Chief Justice, by raising the following questions, which may be decided by a larger Bench of this Court.

The learned Chief Justice has directed that the matter be placed before a division Bench. This is how this matter came before us. After hearing the counsel for the parties for sometime we thought that it would be proper to decide the question whether the provisions regarding the stating of the grounds in the preliminary order was mandatory or directory. We framed an additional question as question No. 1A, viz:

1A. Whether the provision in the Sub-section (1) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure requiring the Magistrate to state in writing the grounds of his being satisfied that a dispute likely to cause a breach of the peace exists concerning land or water or the boundary thereof is mandatory or directory?

10. Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure reads as follows:

145. (1) Whenever a Chief Presidency Magistrate, District Magistrate, Sub-Divisional Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate specially empowered by the State Government in this behalf is satisfied from a police-report or other information that a dispute likely to cause a breach of the peace exists concerning any land or water or the boundaries thereof, within the local limits of his jurisdiction, he shall make an order in writing stating the grounds of his being so satisfied, and requiring the parties concerned in such dispute to attend his Court in person or by pleader, within a time to be fixed by such Magistrate, and to put in written statements of their respective claims as respects the fact of actual possession of the subject of dispute and further requiring them to put in such documents, or to adduce, by putting in affidavits, the evidence of such persons, as they rely upon in support of such claims.

(2) ...

(3) .

(4) The Magistrate shall then, without reference to the merits or the claims of any of such parties to a right to possess the subject of dispute, peruse the statements, documents and affidavits, if any, so put in, hear the parties and conclude the inquiry, as far as may be practicable, within a period of two months from the date of the appearance of the parties before him and, if possible, decide the question whether any and which of the parties was at the date of the order before mentioned in such possession of the said subject:

Provided that the Magistrate may, if he so thinks fit, summon and examine any person whose affidavit has been put in as to the facts contained therein:

Provided further that, if it appears to the Magistrate that any party has within two months next before the date of such order been forcibly and wrongfully dispossessed, he may treat the party so dispossessed as if he had been in possession at such date:

Provided also that, if the Magistrate considers the case one of emergency, he may at any time attach the subject of dispute, pending his decision under this section.

(5) Nothing in this section shall preclude any party so required to attend, or any other person interested, from showing that no such dispute as aforesaid exists or has existed; and in such case the Magistrate shall cancel his said order, and all further proceedings thereon shall be stayed, but, Subject to such cancellation, the order of the Magistrate under Sub-section (1) shall be final.

(6) Party in possession to retain possession until legally evicted. If the Magistrate decides that one of the parties was or should under the second proviso to Sub-section (4) be treated as being in such possession, of the said subject, he shall issue an order declaring such party to be entitled to possession thereof until evicted therefrom in due course of law, and forbidding all disturbance of such possession until such eviction and when he proceeds under the second proviso to Sub-section (4), may restore to possession the party forcibly and wrongfully dispossessed....

These provisions are enacted to provide a speedy remedy for prevention of breaches of peace arising out of disputes relating to immovable property by maintaining one of the parties in possession. The purpose, the Legislature had in view, is the prevention of a breach of the peace. This section confers power on the Magistrate to intervene and pass a temporary order in a dispute between the parties regarding possession of land which threatens to development into use of force causing a breach of the peace. The Section contemplates that (1) there should be a dispute, (2) relating to (possession) of land, water etc. and that (3) the dispute was likely to cause a breach of the peace. Magistrate gets jurisdiction to intervene whenever he is 'satisfied' about the existence of these three facts. He shall, then, pass an order under Sub-section (1) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He shall pass an order in writing stating the grounds of his being so satisfied, and requiring the parties concerned in such dispute to attend his Court in person or by pleader, within the time fixed by the Magistrate and to put in written-statements of their respective claims as respects the fact of actual possession of the subject of dispute, and further requiring them to put in such documents or adduce evidence by affidavits of such persons as they rely. It would be clear from these provisions of Sub-section (1) that mere satisfaction of the Magistrate that there is a dispute between the parties is not enough nor is it enough that such a dispute should be in respect of land, water etc. What is required is that the Magistrate should be satisfied that such a dispute was also likely to cause a breach of the peace. When these three conditions are satisfied, then the Magistrate gets jurisdiction and has to pass preliminary order under Sub-section (1) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It was urged that the Magistrate must mention the grounds of his being so satisfied in the order itself. The law on this point is now well-settled by various decisions of High Courts to which I will make a reference subsequently. In these proceedings it is not disputed that the Magistrate gets jurisdiction not because of his stating the grounds in the preliminary order but because of his satisfaction as to the existence of the above-mentioned facts. It is rightly conceded that mentioning of the grounds in the order itself is not a matter granting jurisdiction, but is a matter of procedure. 'What is urged is that it is mandatory and not directory for the Magistrate to mention the grounds in the preliminary order. If the grounds are not mentioned in the order, then the preliminary order is illegal because of the non-compliance of mandatory provision of law and that defect is not curable under Section 537 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It is true that the words used are:

Whenever a Chief Presidency Magistrate, District Magistrate, Sub-Divisional Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate specially empowered by the State Government in this behalf is satisfied from a police-report . he shall make an order in writing stating the grounds of his being so satisfied, and requiring the parties concerned in such dispute to attend his Court in pertfon..

The mere use of word 'shall' does not make the provisions mandatory. In fact, there are a number of provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure where word 'shall' is used and yet those provisions are directory and not mandatory. In my view, the question whether this provision is mandatory or directory does not depend upon the word 'shall' but upon the purpose and the object for which this provision has been made. In these proceedings the Magistrate has to pass an order on his subjective satisfaction as to the existence of a dispute regarding immovable property which is likely to cause a breach of the peace. It is for the purpose of indicating that the Magistrate had material before him and that he applied his mind to the facts of the case that the provision for stating of grounds seems to have been made. The stating of the grounds by the Magistrate in the preliminary order is also for the purpose of indicating to the parties against whom the order has been drawn that the Magistrate has been satisfied about the existence of the dispute. It is not to the grounds stated by the Magistrate to which the parties are called upon to reply or show cause. The parties are called upon by the Magistrate 'to put in written statements of their respective claims as respect the fact of actual possession of the subject of dispute.' It may be that in a given ease the Magistrate may act on an application filed by a party but in most of the cases, he acts on the basis of a report filed by the police. He, therefore, calls upon all the parties who claim to be in possession to file their written-statements. These written-statements are not in reply to the grounds stated by the Magistrate nor are they in reply to the claims made by one of the parties before the Magistrate but they are claims of each of the parties showing how he was in possession on the date of the dispute. What the Magistrate does is to call upon the parties to file their claims regarding actual possession. Therefore, giving of the grounds in the order itself hae practically no impact on the proceedings that follow. It is true that under Sub-section (5) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure any party required to attend or any other person interested can show that no such dispute as aforesaid exists or existed and in that case the Magistrate has to cancel the said order, but this provision also does not support the contention that the grounds are absolutely necessary ingredients of the preliminary order. The party or interested person can show that there was no dispute even if the grounds are not mentioned in the preliminary order. It is also true that in Section 147 of the Code of Criminal Procedure the words used are:

Whenever any District Magistrate,.is satisfied,.he may make an order in writing stating the grounds of his being so satisfied.

It was argued that in Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure the words used are 'Magistrate shall pass such order' and it showed that the provisions in Section 145 regarding the stating of the grounds are mandatory and those in Section 147 are directory. It is not possible to accept this contention because the words used in Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are 'the Magistrate shall make the order.' It does not further say that the Magistrate shall state the grounds. If at all the discretion is granted to the Magistrate, in Section 147 the discretion is not regarding the stating of the grounds but that discretion has been granted in the matter of drawing the order. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the use of the word 'shall' in Section 145 and 'may' in Section 147 are of very little assistance in construing whether the provisions regarding the stating of the grounds are mandatory or directory. Sub-section (4) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure shows what matters the Magistrate has to take into consideration while passing the final order. I have already stated that the parties have to make a statement regarding actual possession and the Magistrate has also to decide who was in actual possession on the basis of the documents and the affidavits that are filed by the parties. This enquiry, therefore, has practically no relevance to the grounds which the Magistrate has to state in his preliminary order. The enquiry has to be concluded as far as may be practical within a period of two months. I have already stated that these are summary proceedings and the case has to be disposed of by the Magistrate on the basis of the documents and affidavits filed by the parties. The procedure regarding the matter of enquiry has been amended and provision for recording of the evidence has been deleted and the parties have been given right to adduce evidence by affidavits in order to shorten the procedure. The emphasis is on the speedy disposal of such disputes. All this clearly leads me to conclude that the provisions regarding the stating of the grounds are directory and not mandatory.

11. Even If the provisions regarding stating of the grounds are mandatory, noncompliance by the Magistrate of those provisions does not in any way vitiate the final order in absence of proof of prejudice suffered by the parties against whom the order is made. I have already stated that the parties are required to file statements not in reply to the grounds stated by the Magistrate in the preliminary order but they have to file statements and affidavits in support of their claim to the actual possession. Therefore, there is very little scope of prejudice in subsequent proceeding even if the Magistrate does not state the grounds in the preliminary order. It is well-settled that the non-compliance even of mandatory provisions by the trial Judge does not in absence of prejudice vitiate the final Order. See W. Sidney v. State of M.P : 1956CriLJ291 .

12. I am fortified in my view by the decisions of various High Courts on this point. I am referring to only a few decisions of various High Courts.

13. In Kapoor Chand v. Suraj Prasad : AIR1933All264 ., case decided by a Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court the Magistrate did not strictly comply with the provisions of Sub-section (1) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He did not expressly state that there was likelihood of a breach of the peace nor did he mention the grounds on which he was so s&tisfied.; All he had stated was that he perused the police report and the statement on oath of the petitioner. He directed a notice to issue according to law. It was urged on behalf of the petitioner that the Magistrate had, therefore, no jurisdiction as the Magistrate did not strictly comply with the letter of law in formulating his order under Section 145(1). The learned Judges after referring to Section 537 of the Code of Criminal Procedure observed (p. 267):

Now, if we read Section 145, in the light afforded by the sections quoted above, we see that if the Magistrate is satisfied from a police report or other information that a dispute likely to cause a breach of the peace exists, he is seized of jurisdiction to take action and he is empowered by the Code to act in a particular way. If this view be correct, the jurisdiction of the Magistrate arises from the fact he has received certain information and that he is satisfied as to the truth of that information. The jurisdiction of the Magistrate does not depend on how he proceeds. There are two things; one is the authority conferred on him to act and the other is how he is to Act. If he has jurisdiction, he is not deprived of jurisdiction merely because his procedure is erroneous or defective. If this view be right, the omission on the part of the Magistrate to follow certain directions contained in the Code, although some of these directions may be more important than others, cannot be said to deprive him of jurisdiction.

The learned Judges further observed (p. 268):.The sole criterion given by Section 537 is whether the accused person has been prejudiced or not. The object of procedure is to enable the Court to do justice, but if in spite of even total disregard of the rules of procedure, justice has been done, there would exist no necessity for setting aside the final order which is just and correct simply because the procedure adopted was wrong.

To the same effect are the observations in Ram Piari v. Dankua : AIR1949All402 and in Vidya Ram v. Ganga Sahai : AIR1953All455 .

14. In Durjan Singh v. State , the division Bench of the Rajasthan High Court examined a number of cases practically of all the High Courts. They also referred to the decision of the Privy Council in Abdul Rahman v. King-Emperor :

Applying the principle laid down by their Lordships of the Privy Council in the above case; we have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that where there are materials on the record vesting a Magistrate with jurisdiction under Section 145(1), or in other words, where there is a dispute relating to land or water or boundaries there of within the local limits of his jurisdiction, and where he is satisfied from a police report or other information that such a dispute is likely to cause a breach of the peace, a mite omission on the part of the Magistrate to draw up a formal preliminary order or his failure to state the grounds of his being so satisfied are, by themselves, mere irregularities of procedure and cannot have the effect of vitiating the entire proceedings unless such failure has resulted in prejudice or failure of justice.

To the same effect are the observations of the Patna High Court in Wazir Mahton v. Badri Mahton : AIR1950Pat372 .

15. In Jenatbibi v. Kasambhai (1968) 11 Guj. L.R. 22, the division Bench of the Gujarat High Court observed (p. 26):

It was urged by Mr. Chhatrapati that there were no grounds mentioned in the notice and a mere reference to a police report would not suffice to make the order valid, when in fact the police report did not disclose any material indicating the existence of a dispute likely to cause a breach of peace. If we look at the police report, it does refer to the dispute between the parties and states, that if no action is taken, there was a likelihood of commission of serious offences and murders. It also refers to some criminal proceedings against some of the parties and the necessity for immediate action under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The petitioner herself had given an application to the police to take action under Section 145 making allegations of apprehension of danger to life and property and on considering the application of the petitioner which was before the police, confirmed by her statement, the police had made the report pursuant to which the learned Magistrate acted under Section 145(1). It could not, therefore, be said that there was no material before the police on the basis of which a report could be made and it could not also be said that there was no material before the learned Magistrate on the basis of which he could pass an Order under Section 145(1). For the reasons aforesaid the proceedings that were started by the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate and the proceedings subsequent thereto could not be held to be invalid and the contention of Mr. Chhatrapati that all subsequent proceedings must be held to be invalid most be rejected.

16. I am also fortified in my view by the decision of the Supreme Court in R.H. Bhutani v. Muni J. Desai. The Supreme Court has observed (p. 1448):

The question is whether the preliminary order passed by the Magistrate was in breach of Section 145(1) that is, in the absence of either of the two conditions precedent. One of the grounds on which the High Court interfered was that the Magistrate failed to record in his preliminary order the reasons for his satisfaction. The Section, no doubt, requires him to record reasons. The Magistrate has expressed his satisfaction on the basis of the facts set out in the application before him and after he had examined the appellant on oath. That means that those facts were prima facie sufficient and were the reasons leading to his satisfaction.

It is true that the Supreme Court has observed that the Section requires that the Magistrate has to state in writing the grounds for his satisfaction. If the Supreme Court has, in fact, held as is urged by the petitioner that the provision is mandatory, then the order of the Magistrate would be bad because the Magistrate had not stated the grounds in writing. In my opinion, the Supreme Court has held that there should be something in the order to indicate that the Magistrate had grounds to pass the order. If that material was before him when he passed the order then the grounds may not necessarily be stated in writing by the Magistrate as those facts were the grounds themselves. The fact that the Supreme Court has observed that the application along with the examination of the applicant were the reasons (grounds), clearly indicates that the Supreme Court has held that the provision regarding stating of the grounds in writing in the order was not mandatory. In my opinion, what the Supreme Court seema to have held is that there should be sufficient compliance of provisions of the Sub-section (1) and there should be something to show that there were grounds before the Magistrate when he passed the preliminary order.

17. In Murali Patel v. Purusottam Bhati AIR [1995] Ori. 208, the learned Judge observed (p. 210):

The position may, therefore, be thus summarised. It is the duty of the Magistrate to record in writing in clear and unambiguous terms that a dispute likely to cause breach of the peace exists and the grounds of his being so satisfied. If, however, due to inadvertence that Magistrate does not state the grounds of his satisfaction, the proceeding cannot be quashed as being without jurisdiction, if it otherwise appears from the record that there were materials for his satisfaction when the order under Section 145(1), Cr.P.C. was passed. No hard and fast rule can be laid down. Each case must, however, be governed by its own facts.

18. The counsel for the petitioner referred to a decision in Durga Prasad v. Rameswar A.I.R [1959] GAU 54 wherein the division Bench of the Assam High Court observed (p. 55):

Obviously, two things are necessary: there should be a dispute relating to land or water; and it should be likely to cause a breach of the peace. A Magistrate passing an order under Section 145 Cr.P.C. should be satisfied about the existence of such a dispute and should state the grounds of his being so satisfied. The orders which have beep passed in this case do not strictly comply with the directions contained in Section 145, Cr.P.C. The first order passed was on 19.3.1953 when the complaint was filed. The learned Magistrate could pass that order on receiving the complaint without obtaining any report from the Police or without making any preliminary enquiry.

19. He did not even record the statement of the complainant, but even this omission would not make his order illegal. The language of the section leaves wide discretion to the Court. The Magistrate concerned may feel satisfied about the existence of a dispute likely to cause a breach of the peace from a Police report or other information. What is necessary is that the Magistrate should make an order in writing, giving reason for his satisfaction that a dispute about some land or water likely to cause a breach ol the peace existed,...

20. The next question is-whether this omission to comply strictly with the requirements of Section 145, Cr.P.C. is fatal to the procedings, by itself. Section 537, Cr.P.C. provides that subject to the provisions contained in the Act, no finding, sentence or order passed by a Court of competent jurisdiction shall be reversed or altered under Chapter XXVII or on appeal or revision on account of any error, omission or irregularity in the complaint, summons, warrant, charge, proclamation, order, judgment, or other proceedings before or during trial or in any inquiry or other proceedings under the Code, unless such error, omission, irregularity or misdirection has, in fact, occasioned a failure of justice.

The learned Judges further observed (p. 57):

We notice that though the learned Magistrate of the trial Court committed irregularities initiating the proceeding, in the absence of any basis for a finding that a failure of justice has occurred, we do not find our way to accept the recommendation made by the learned Sessions Judge.

Mere omission to mention the grounds in this order did not vitiate the final Order. It is true that in this case there are some observations which show that the division Bench of Assam High Court has held that these provisions are mandatory, but the fact that they had observed that the defect is curable under Section 537 of the Code of Criminal Procedure clearly shows that they had held that these provisions are directory and not mandatory.

Reliance was also placed by the petitioner on the decision of the Punjab High Court in Sri Ram v. The State , where it is observed (p. 50):

The requirements of law relating to the issuance of an initiatory order are not dispensable. On the other hand these are the pre-requisites or sine qua non for instituting proceedings under Chapter 12 of the Code. These requirements of law contained in the first sub-section as to the Satisfaction on the question of existence of an apprehension of breach of the peace are purposeful and incorporated deliberately. Important rights relating to possession over immoveable property regardless of title can be interfered with by Criminal Courts only when public tranquillity is in danger and the extraordinary powers which are vested in the Magistrate under this provision can only be justified where breach of peace is to be prevented.

A Magistrate would have no jurisdiction unless he was satisfied that there existed a dispute concerning land etc., which would be likely to induce a breach of the peace. A formal order to this effect under Sub-section (1) is therefore, absolutely necessary in order to give jurisdiction to the Magistrate. An omission to pass the preliminary order in accordance with the requirements of Sub-section (1) is not a mere irregularity but is fatal to further proceedings. Reference may be made to Hakam v. Ralia Ram A.I.R. [1924] Lah. 91, Dhaniram v. Kaliram A.I.R. [1927] Lah. 805 Emperor v. Sis Ram A.I.R. [1930] Lah 895 and Sita Ram v. The Crown A.I.R. [1949] E.P. 398 : S.C. 51 P.L.R. 301.

21. Reliance was also placed on the decision of the Punjab High Court in Faqir Chand v. Bhana Ram , where the same learned Judge has observed (p. 305):

It was the duty of the Magistrate to state the grounds upon which he was satisfied that there was likelihood of a breach of the peace. A fortiori, it follows that the Magistrate who is required by the statute, to state the grounds of his satisfaction, as to the existence of the likelihood of a breach of the peace, he must permit to be produced the material on the basis of which he has to express his satisfaction. If the Magistrates were allowed entirely to have a free hand, uncontrolled and unregulated by any rules of logic or equity, the result would be that the grant or refusal of initiatory order would depend upon his caprice or whims.

The law while giving to the Magistrate ample latitude, insists, that in his preliminary Order, the Magistrate must set out the grounds which are the basis of his satisfaction. Conversely, it follows that the reasons on the basis of which he declines to pass the initiatory order must also be stated, otherwise it will become impossible for the Court of revision to appraise the soundness or justification for his order.

With respect to the learned Judge, it is not possible to agree that the provisions regarding stating of the grounds in the preliminary order of the Magistrate being satisfied are mandatory. The learned Judge has not stated any reasons or grounds in support of his conclusion except stating that it would not be possible for the revisional or the High Court to find out on what material the Magistrate has passed the preliminary order. The learned Judge has also not taken into consideration that the material on which the Magistrate passed the preliminary order was either the police report or the application or other material which was already on record. 'With respect to the learned Judge I may state that the sufficiency of the material cannot be a subject of dispute before the revisional Court.

22. In Lakhpat v. Mt. Mahrana , the learned Judge has quoted (p. 161):.If without giving any reasons and without even stating that he is satisfied that there is any apprehension of a breach of the peace, the Magistrate passes an order under Section 145(1) the order is without justification.... [1944] O.W.N. 479.

This was a ease where the Magistrate has also not observed that he was1 satisfied that there was likelihood of breach of peace. It was not a case where the Magistrate has not recorded the grounds of his satisfaction. This ease is of little assistance to find out whether the provisions regarding stating of the grounds in the order were mandatory or directory,

23. Lastly reliance was also placed by the petitioner on the decision of this Court in In re Pandurang (1900) 2 Bom. L.R. 84, In my opinion, that case is of very little assistance for the question which we are examining. That was a case of the Badves of Shri Pandurang Deosthan. It was their case that Shevadharis and other priests interfered with their right of performing the Alankar Puja. The question that was agitated before the Court was whether the order passed was one under Sections 144, 145 or 147. The division Bench of this Court held that it was passed by the Magistrate under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. They, however, quashed those orders on the ground that (1) the Magistrate had not given the grounds on which he was satisfied that there was a dispute likely to cause a breach of the peace, (2) the complaint did not specify the persons against whom the protection of the District Magistrate was asked, (3) notice was not issued in this case and the parties were not given opportunity to put in their respective claims, (4) the case was not governed by proviso to Clause. (iv) and (5) the order also interfered with the decree that was passed by the High Court. The learned Judges observed (p. 88):

In these several respects, the procedure followed by the District Magistrate appears to be defective. It was held in The Queen-Empress v. Gobind Chandra Das I.L.R (1893) I. 20 Cal. 520, that it is obligatory on the Magistrate to inform the parties concerned of the grounds of the report or complaint before he makes an order under Section 145. It is also the duty of the Magistrate to ascertain who are the parties concerned and give them notice before he makes his final order: Ram Chandra Das v. Monohur Roy I.L.R (1893) Cal. 29, Protap Narain Singh v. Rajendra Narain Singh I.L.R (1896) Cal. 55 F.B. An order is bad if all the parties interested are not made parties: Behary Lall Trigunait v. Darby I LOBLY U (1894) 21 Cal. 915, Following the authorities quoted above, we must hold that the procedure followed by the District Magistrate was defective and that his order must be set aside.

It would be clear that the order of the Magistrate had been quashed not only because he had not stated in the preliminary order the grounds of his being satisfied that there was1 likelihood of breach of the peace but because the Magistrate had committed several breaches while passing that order and, therefore, the whole order was set aside.

24. I may also mention that the law laid down in The Queen-Empress v. Gobind Chandra Das has been reconsidered in Khosh Mahomed Sirkar v. Nazir Mahomed I33 (1905) I.L.R. 33 Cal. 352 F.B. Where the Pull Bench answered in the negative the following reference:

Whether an initial order made by a Magistrate under Section 145, Clause (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, is defective because it is not self-contained and does not state in express terms the grounds upon which he is satisfied that a dispute likely to cause a breach of the peace exists, when such grounds appear in the Police report on which the order is founded and to which it makes reference.

I am, therefore, of the view that the provisions regarding the stating of the grounds by the Magistrate in the preliminary order is directory and not mandatory. I have already observed that even if the provision is mandatory the breach thereof in absence of proof of prejudice does not affect the final order in view of the provisions of Section 537 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

25. Turning to the main question, I may state that the law so far as requirement of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is concerned has been clearly laid down by the decision of the Supreme Court in R.H. Bhutani v. Mani J. Desai. In that case, the Supreme Court has observed (p. 1447):

The object of Section 145, no doubt is to prevent breach of peace and for that end to provide a speedy remedy by bringing the parties before the court and ascertaining who of them was in actual possession and to maintain status quo until their rights are determined by a competent court. The, section requires that the Magistrate must bo satisfied before initiating proceedings that a dispute regarding an immovable property exists and that such dispute is likely to cause breach of peace, But once he is satisfied of these two conditions, the section requires him to pass a preliminary Order under Sub-section (1) and thereafter to make an enquiry under Sub-section (4) and pass a final Order under Sub-section (6). It is not necessary that at the time of passing the final order the apprehension of breach of peace should continue or exist. The enquiry under Section 145 is limited to the question as to who was in actual possession on the date of the preliminary order irrespective of the., rights of the parties. Under the second proviso, the party who is found to have been forcibly and wrongfully dispossessed within two months next preceding the date of the preliminary order may for the purpose of the enquiry be deemed to have been in possession on the date of that order. The opposite party may of course prove that dispossession took place more than two months next preceding the date of that order and in that case the Magistrate would have to cancel his preliminary order. On the other hand, if he is satisfied that dispossession was both forcible and wrongful and took place within the prescribed period, the party dispossessed would be deemed to be in actual possession on the date of the preliminary order and the Magistrate would then proceed to make his final order directing the dispossessor to restore possession and prohibit him from interfering with that possession until the applicant is evicted in due course of law. This is broadly the scheme of Section 145.

The satisfaction under Sub-section (1) is of the Magistrate. The question whether on the materials before him, he should initiate proceedings or not is, therefore, in hia discretion which, no doubt, has to be exercised in accordance with the well recognised rules of law in that behalf. No hard and fast rule can, therefore, be laid down as to the sufficiency of material for his satisfaction. The language of the Sub-section is clear and unambiguous that he can arrive at his satisfaction both from the police report or 'from other information' which must include an application by the party dispossessed. The High Court, in the exercise of its revisional jurisdiction, would not go into the question of sufficiency of material which has satisfied the Magistrate.

The question is whether the preliminary order passed by the Magistrate was in breach of Section 145(1), that is, in the absence of either of two conditions precedent, One of the grounds on which the High Court interfered was that the Magistrate failed to record in his preliminary order the reasons for hia satisfaction. The section, no doubt, requires him to record reasons. The Magistrate has expressed hia satisfaction on the basis of the facts set out in the application before him and after he had examined the appellant on oath. That means that those facts were prima facie sufficient and were the reasons leading to his satisfaction.

The other reason which, according to the High Court, vitiated the order was that the Magistrate acted only on the allegations in the appellant's application without making any further enquiry and issued the order as if he was issuing a process in a N.C. case. But counsel for the respondents conceded that before passing the order the Magistrate had examined the appellant on oath and it was then only that he made the order recording his satisfaction. But apart from the allegations in the application as to his forcible and wrongful dispossession and assault, there was the fact that on June 11, 1966 the appellant had gone twice to the police station, requested the police to take action and had lodged two N.C, complaints. This material being before the Magistrate, it was hardly fair to blame the Magistrate that he had passed his preliminary order lightly or without being satisfied as to the existence of the two conditions required by tile sub-section.

It is true that the Supreme Court has observed that in that particular case the complainant was examined on oath by the Magistrate and, therefore, the complaint plus the examination of the complainant on oath were the reasons leading to the satisfaction of the Magistrate. The Supreme Court has not laid down that it was necessary, in absence of the police report, to examine the complainant on oath in every case. The Supreme Court has in terms stated in para. 9 of the judgment (p. 1448):.The language of the Sub-section is clear and unambiguous that he can arrive at his satisfaction both from the police report or 'from other information' which must Include an application by the party dispossessed.

To the same effect are the observations in para. 12 of the judgment where the Supreme Court has observed (p. 1449):.The words 'other information' are wide enough to include an application by private party.

Therefore, what the Supreme Court has held is that the Magistrate was entitled to arrive at satisfaction either on the basis of the police report or other information which may be only the application of the complainant. It may be that in that particular case before the Supreme Court the complainant may have been examined by the Magistrate on oath but the Supreme Court has not stated that it was obligatory on the Magistrate to examine the complainant on oath. The question whether the material before the Magistrate was sufficient or not cannot be examined by the High Court as the satisfaction under Sub-section (1) is that of a Magistrate. Whether on the material before him he should initiate the proceedings or not is his discretion. No doubt, he has to exercise this jurisdiction in accordance with the recognised rules of law in that behalf.

26. Mr. Dixit and Mr. Mehta have relied on unreported decisions to which a reference has been made by Gandhi J. in his reference order. Mr. Dixit and Mr. Mehta, the learned Counsel for the petitioners, urged that in absence of the grounds being stated in the preliminary order, there is nothing on record to show that the Magistrate has applied his mind before he issued the preliminary order. They conceded that sufficiency of material may not be examined. They urged that there should be some indication that the Magistrate himself has applied his mind before he passed the preliminary order. Stating of the grounds in the order was a proof that the Magistrate has examined the material that was placed before him. They submitted that in the case before the Supreme Court the complainant was examined on oath by the Magistrate and that lent assurance that the Magistrate applied his mind to the facts of the case. In my opinion, if that was enough to show that the Magistrate had applied his mind to the facts of the case, then in this particular ease also the Magistrate has made the endorsement: 'Applicant on S.A.' The endorsement and the wording of the order itself clearly indicated that the Magistrate had in fact examined the material and the complainant before he passed the preliminary order. I do not see how the facts of this ease are different from the facts before the Supreme Court. It is true that in the case before the Supreme Court it was conceded on behalf, of the respondent that the complainant was examined on oath by the Magistrate, while in this particular case the petitioner disputes that the, complainant was examined on oath by the Magistrate. We are not called upon to decide that question. I have already stated that Gandhi J., when he heard this ease, has held that the complainant was in fact examined by the Magistrate. I may mention that when a party or a witness is examined in the Court he is either examined on solemn affirmation or on oath. Therefore, the endorsement 'on S.A.' does not necessarily mean that the party was asked only to affirm the contents of the application. In my opinion, 'S.A.' also means that he was examined in the Court itself. Under the Oaths Act, 1963 a party or witness is entitled to depose either on oath or on solemn affirmation. What a Magistrate should record when a party or a witness is examined in the Court depends upon the procedure that is followed by the Magistrate. In some cases, he has to record verbatim what he states. In other eases he has to take a summary or he has only to make notes. He may take notes and reproduce what he has noted, in the judgment and destroy the notes or he may not record any notes at all but he may state about it in his order or judgment. When the complainant is examined by the Presidency Magistrate under Sub-clause (b) to the proviso of Section 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, he need not reduce in writing his examination if the complaint is in writing. It is, therefore, not correct to say that in every case when the complainant or the witnesses are examined, the Magistrate must record what he has stated in the Court. The fact that there was no record of what the complainant had stated, is, therefore, of very little assistance to show that the complainant was not examined as a fact in the Court at all. I may also mention that it is not necessary at all that the complainant should be examined by the Magistrate before he issued the order. The Magistrate haa to draw the preliminary order on the basis of the police report or other information. What that 'other information' should be is entirely a matter which he has to decide.

27. It was then urged that in absence of examination of the complainant, the Magistrate would be induced to draw a preliminary order on the basis of false averments. It is not possible to accept this argument. If the averments are false then certainly the other party will be entitled to initiate proceedings against him for starting frivolous and vexatious proceedings on false averments. Then again the Magistrate when he passes the preliminary order is supposed to examine material that was placed before him. He has to go through the averments made by the parties and find out whether the material placed before him was sufficient to satisfy him that there was a dispute regarding immovable property and that the dispute was likely to cause a breach of the peace. The Magistrate does not pass preliminary order in every case in which application is made under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The non-examination of the complainant does not by itself show that the Magistrate has not applied his mind before issuing the preliminary order.

28. It is true that Joshi J. in Manek E. Patel v. Dhanjishaw Soharabji Mewawala, has observed:.The words: 'shall make an order in writing, stating the grounds of his being so satisfied' would clearly indicate that the order must be in writing and the grounds for satisfaction also must be stated. Unless the grounds are stated in the order itself, it will be difficult to test the correctness or otherwise of the order by the Magistrate. Therefore, the preliminary order should state clearly the reasons and grounds on which the satisfaction is based and that the Magistrate had applied his mind in passing the preliminary order. If he does not state the grounds,.

These observations indicate that Joishi J. was of the opinion that the provision was mandatory but he has observed at page 22 of the judgment:.His Lordship has impressed that the mere failure to record reasons may not in a given case prove fatal, but there must be facts set out in the application. He must be convinced on examining the applicant on oath that those facts prima facie were sufficient and they are the foundations leading to his satisfaction.

These observations indicate that he does not think that the provisions regarding stating of the grounds in the preliminary order were mandatory. In fact, in that particular ease, he seems to have examined whether there was any material before the Magistrate to come to that conclusion. In that case, the petitioner had approached the High Court against the preliminary order itself. From the facts of that case and the manner in which the case was conducted, Joshi J. came to the conclusion that the Magistrate has not applied his mind when he passed the preliminary order.

29. The next case, viz. Freny Framroze Kerawala v. Dosu, Hiraji Patel was decided by Joshi J. on August 8 and 9, 1973. This is also a case where an order was passed by the Magistrate under Section 145(1) and 145(4) proviso (III) of the Code of Criminal Procedure simultaneously. Joshi J. has referred to the case of Nagi Reddy v. Venkatappa : AIR1953Mad436 , and Bisse Gowda v. State of Mysore. He also referred to the decision in Md. Abbas v. Md. Mustaqim : AIR1970Pat332 , and observed:.When the statute prescribes a certain procedure to be followed, certain grounds to be mentioned and certain things to be carried out, or imposes a duty upon the learned Magistrate and that duty is side-tracked, it would amount to an illegality lying much beyond the scope of Section 537 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

I have already observed that a part of the provision is directory and a part of it is mandatory. Not every breach of the provision can be illegal. The provision regarding the drawing of an order is mandatory but that regarding the stating grounds in that order is directory. If the Magistrate does not mention the ground that does not amount to illegality but to irregularity and that does not affect the final order passed by the Magistrate. It is true that Kamat.J. has stated in his judgment that the provision regarding the stating of the grounds is mandatory. He seems to have made those observations while discussing the requirements under Sub-section (1) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He does not seem to have made the observations with reference to whether the provisions are directory or mandatory. I have already stated that the parties are required by the Magistrate by the preliminary order to file written-statements of their respective claims as respects the fact of actual possession and not a reply to the grounds. There cannot, therefore, be any question of prejudice to the parties if grounds are not stated in the preliminary order, much more so when the proceedings are initiated on police report and the Magistrate draws a preliminary order without giving reasons. With respect, it is not possible to agree with the view expressed by Joshi J. that non-stating of grounds in the preliminary order is an illegality and that it is not curable under Section 537 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

30. Vaidya J. also seems to have been more concerned with the facia of the case than laying down the law regarding the provisions of stating the grounds by the Magistrate in the preliminary order of his being satisfied that there is likelihood of a breach of the peace. In each of these cases the Magistrate has acted under proviso III of Sub-section (4) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In my opinion, except Joshi J. none of them was concerned and seemed to have examined the ease on the point whether the provision regarding stating of the grounds1 was directory or mandatory and how far was the final order affected if the reasons are not stated in the preliminary order. Joshi J. has followed the decision of the Mysore case which held that if the grounds are not mentioned in the preliminary order itself by the Magistrate then that affects the jurisdiction of the Magistrate. I have already held, following the decision of the Allahabad and other High Courts, that the jurisdiction is one thing and the procedure is another thing. The Magistrate has jurisdiction not because he has passed the preliminarv order. He passed the preliminary order when he has jurisdiction and the jurisdiction depends not upon the grounds but upon his satisfaction that there is a dispute regarding immovable property which is likely to cause a breach of the peace.

31. I have already observed that it is not necessary that Magistrate must examine the applicant before he draws a preliminary order and issues notice to the other side under Subsection (1) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Magistrate has to draw the order if he is satisfied that there is a dispute regarding land, water etc. and that dispute is likely to cause a breach of the peace. The Magistrate may get that satisfaction either from the police report or 'other information'. The other information may be only the application filed by the party. If the applicant gives relevant material in the application, there is nothing wrong in the Magistrate acting on the application without anything more. I am fortified in my opinion by a decision of Patna High Court in Jhaman Mahton v. Thakuri Mahton A.I.R. [1920] Pat. 219 and also by the decision of Nagpur Judicial Commissioner's Court in Madho Kunbi v. Tilak Singh where Bose A.J.C. as he then was, observed (p. 194):.A Magistrate of the first class can act when he is satisfied from a police report or 'other information' that a dispute likely to cause a breach of the peace exists concerning any land, etc. No definition is given of the words 'other information', and the omission to use a technical term such as affidavit, evidence, or verified statement, indicates that the widest possible latitude has been allowed in the matter. It is now well settled that proceedings under this Section are quasi executive. That was decided by Sir Lawrence Jenkins in In re Pandurang Govind I.L.R (1900) 25 Bom. 179 : 2 Bom. L.R. 755, in the year 1900, and it was again decided in Nanhe Mai v. Jamil-ul-Rahman : AIR1925All316 , in the year 1925. But the matter is much older even than that. As early as 1873 objection was taken in Kishoree Mohun Roy(1872) 19 W.R. 10 to the order of a Magistrate who had acted on the statements of 'witnesses not examined on oath and whose examinations were never reduced into writing.' It was contended he had acted without jurisdiction, but it was held that he had not, and that neither of these things is necessary. All that is required is that the Magistrate should refer to the information on which he has acted in his order and state that he believes it....

It is significant that the Legislature did not alter the term 'other information', in spite of these judicial interpretations, when it recently amended Section 145. I can only conclude it meant to leave the term elastic and give Magistrates the widest possible latitude in such cases.

32. I am in respectful agreement with the observations of the learned Judge who has further observed (p. 195):

I do not wish in any way to minimise the effect of rulings which enjoin caution upon Magistrates about having recourse to these proceedings. It is important that they should not be abused and that parties should not be allowed to treat them as a cheap means of obtaining possession of property. But it is even more important that effective preventive action should be taken before heads are broken and lives lost. There fore it is undesirable to hedge these preventive sections with more technicalities than are absolutely necessary, and it is important to leave Magistrates a reasonably wide latitude in exercising discretion in such matters.

33. My answer to questions Nos. 1 and 1A is: It is advisable for the Magistrate to record the grounds of his being satisfied as required by Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure separately, but if he is satisfied by reading police report or the application it is not obligatory for the Magistrate to record the grounds separately or examine the applicant. First he has to read the report or the application and he may examine the applicant and then pass the preliminary order.

34. So far as question No. 2 is concerned, my answer is that if the Magistrate has perused the application and satisfied himself that there is a dispute regarding land, water etc. likely to cause a breach of the peace then it is not mandatory for him to state the grounds and the non-stating of the grounds will not vitiate the final order as the stating, of grounds in the preliminary order is matter of procedure.

35. So far as question No. 3 is concerned: The mere fact that a cyclostyled form was used by the Magistrate in drawing the preliminary order will not by itself show that he has not applied his mind or he acted mechanically in passing the preliminary order without considering the contents of the application. The contents of the preliminary order and that of the notice that is issued to the parties are the same. In fact, reading of Sub-section (1) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure will clearly show that the requirements of both, viz. the preliminary order and the notice are the same and if for that purpose cyclostyled forms are kept ready where some portion is to be scored out and some blanks are kept which are to be filled in by the ministerial staff of the Court under directions of a Magistrate, I do not think that that by itself will show that the Magistrate has mechanically passed the order. A number of notices and orders are required to be passed by a Magistrate and it is for that purpose such forms are kept ready. Each ease will have to be decided on the facts of that case and not only because cyclostyled forms are used.

36. Regarding question No. 4: Mr. Dixit urged that the breach of the peace contemplated by Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is a breach of public peace and not a breach of private peace. There does not seem to be any conflict of decisions regarding this question. This query is very widely worded and it is rather difficult to answer this question. Under Section 145, we are not concerned with every breach of the peace. We are concerned with a dispute regarding land, water etc. which is likely to cause a breach of the peace. There may be dispute regarding immovable property between two contestants without the neighbours knowing about it. Yet, they may be using violence to settle that dispute. There may be a dispute between two individuals at a distance from locality. Both of them may be using violence and that dispute may not affect the public peace or the tranquillity. Question is, will these disputes fall within the mischief of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure? It is true that Kamat J. has observed that these provisions are made in the interest of public peace, but that does not mean that he held that the dispute contemplated by Section 145 must be one which affects the public peace or public tranquillity. 'Breach of the peace' has been defined in the Dictionary of English Law by Jowitt 1959, vol. 1 at p. 276:

Breaches of the peace are offences against public order. They are commonly divided into actual, constructive and apprehended.

Actual breaches of the peace include riotous and unlawful assemblies, riots, affrays, forcible entry and detailer, etc.

'Forcible entry' or 'detailer' itself constitute a breach of the peace. In vol. 2 of the Dictionary of English Law of Jowitt at p. 1319 'Breach of the peace' has been defined as a violation of that quiet, peace, and security which is guaranteed by the law.' In Ballentine's Law Dictionary, 3rd edn., at p. 153, 'breach of peace',has been defined:

Such a violation of the public order as amounts to a disturbance of the public tranquillity, by act or conduct either directly having this effect, or by inciting or tending to incite such a disturbance of the public tranquillity.

'Forcible entry' has been defined by Ballentine at p. 485 as under:

An entry on real property peaceably in the possession of another, against his will, without authority of law, by actual force, or with such an array of force and apparent intent to employ it for the purpose of overcoming resistance, that the occupant, in yielding and permitting possession to be taken from him, must be regarded as acting from a well-founded apprehension that resistance by him would be perilous or unavailing.

It, therefore, appears to me that a breach of the peace need not be a breach of the public peace in the sense that it affects the public tranquillity or peace of the locality as such but a dispute regarding land, water etc. where violence is being used.

37. So far as question No. 5 is concerned, no argument was addressed to us on the point that the Order under proviso III to Section 145(4) cannot be passed simultaneously with the preliminary order under Sub-section (1) of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In fact this section makes it clear that the Order under proviso III can be passed at any stage. 'Any stage' includes the initial stage also. Therefore, the fact that the two orders are passed at the same time does not any way vitiate the orders.

38. So far as question No. 6 is concerned, the capacity or the character of the contestants is of no relevance in proceedings under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In fact, such disputes are often between a landlord and a tenant or tenants and licensees or individual owners or person in permissive possession. The title of the contestants is totally irrelevant for the purpose of these proceedings. What is relevant is the actual possession at the time or two months next prior to the passing of the preliminary order. It is true that Vaidya J. in Ganpati Parmeshwar Kashi v. Nagji Pragji Kotak has observed that a party in permissive possession cannot approach the Court to draw up the proceedings under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He made those observations in reference to a case initiated by a contractor who alleged that he was in possession and that the members of the co-operative society, for whom the building was constructed, had entered into forcible possession of that property and, therefore, they should be thrown out as his dues have not been paid by the society. Vaidya J. was right in holding that the possession of the contractor was that of the society and that his claim that he was in exclusive possession of the premises was unjustified and the Magistrate had committed an error in drawing the proceedings against the members of the society under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In my opinion, those observations were not meant to suggest that there can be no proceedings under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure between the landlords and tenants and tenants and licensees and between real owners and persons in possession. Please see Madho Kunbi v. Tilak Singh and Hosnaki v. State : AIR1956All81 .

39. So far as the last question is concerned, it is not necessary that there should be complete ouster of a party to enable him to approach the Court under Section 145 of the Code.of Criminal Procedure. If a party who is being threatened can approach a Court under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, I do not see any reason why a party who has been partially dispossessed forcibly from a part of the immovable property cannot approach the Court for protection under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.


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