1. Applicant, Party No. 2, has filed this revision application challenging the order of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sakoli, Shri M. N. Bobde, in Criminal Case No. 49 of 1972 and confirmed in Criminal Revision No. 13 of 1972 by the Additional District Magistrate, Bhandara in a proceeding under Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure. The facts in brief are as under:
Chunilal and Radhakisan were brothers residing at village Nilaj, Soniya Bai, non-applicant party No. 1, is their real sister. During their lifetime, Soniya Bai came to reside with her brothers and was residing along with Radhakisan. It appears that the brothers owned S. No. 90 measuring 18 acres 38 gunthas at village Nilaj and it is common ground that Chunilal was in enjoyment of western half portion and Radhakisan was in enjoyment of eastern half portion. It is further disclosed from the record that Chunilal was murdered by his brother Radhakishan in 1949 and Radhakisan was hanged to death in 1950. It is alleged by Soniya Bai that a will was executed in her favour by Radhakisan bequeathing his estate to her while it is also contended on behalf of Kusum, the present applicant, through an affidavit of one Karim that a will was executed by Radhakisan bequeathing the share in favour of two daughters of Chunilal, However, we are not concerned with the question of title in a proceeding under Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure, Chunilal had two daughters Sundarabai and Kusumbai, the applicant. Marriage of Sunderabai took place and she was married to Bharatlal, non-applicant No. 2. Sunderabai died sometime in 1962. It is further seen that Kusum was a child when her father died. After the death of her mother which appears to have taken place in 1959, she had gone to reside with her maternal uncle. After Sunderabai was married. Kusum came and started residing with Soniya who was residing in the family house and Soniya was in enjoyment of the whole land S. No. 90. It is to be noted that a dispute was also raised before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate in respect of Khasra No. 106 admeasuring 1 acre by the present applicant, Party No. 2. But it was conceded that Kusum had no concern with that land as Soniya had produced a sale-deed and shown her possession over that land. Therefore, the proceedings were restricted, to find out the possession of Khasra No. 90. It is also an admitted fact that Kusum attained majority in the year 1968. It is the case of Kusum that after she attained majority, she started cultivating the whole land and in the years 1969-70, 1970-71, she was in possession of the whole land, while it was the contention of Soniya that she was in possession of the whole land. She was never dispossessed at any time, Kusum, after she attained majority, started demanding her share. Therefore, partition by arrangement had taken place. Soniya got half share of the land, i.e., 9 acres 19 gunthas, Out of the 9 acres 19 gunthas which belonged to Chunilal, half the land was given to Kusum and half the land was given to Bharatlal, the husband of Sunderabai who was serving in military. Thus in between the lands of Soniya and Bharatlal, an area of 4 acres and some gunthas was given in possession of Kusum and she was in possession of it and not of the whole land, as contended by her. Dispute arose between the parties and the police thought that the breach of peace will take place. The police applied to the Magistrate to take an action under Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure. The Magistrate after considering the relevant papers, satisfied himself and passed a preliminary order on July 12, 1972. Thereafter Kusum had filed her affidavit. She also filed affidavits of nine persons in support of her contention that she was in possession of the whole land and not of only four acres and some gunthas as contended by Soniya. Soniya filed her affidavit and also filed affidavits of some persons to show that she was in actual possession of the eastern half of khasra No. 90. Entries from khasra 'No. 90 upto 1968-69 have been filed. They are at record page 76 as well as entries of record of rights were produced by Soniya of the year 1971-72 for showing that the names of Soniya, Kusum and Bharatlal appeared as persons in possession of the whole khasra No. 90.
2. The learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate has considered the version from the affidavit of Kusum and Soniya and simply enumerated that Kusum had filed affidavit of some nine persons without considering particular affidavits. It is further seen from the order passed by the learned Magistrate that he relied in support of the affidavit of Soniya on the entry of the record of rights and inferentially came to the conclusion that Soniya was never dispossessed and, therefore, she was in actual possession of the eastern half share of khasra No. 90. In that view, he declared that Soniya was in possession of eastern half of khasra No. 90.
3. Feeling aggrieved, Kusum has filed a revision application in the Court of the Additional District Magistrate Bhandara. The learned Additional District Magistrate has confirmed the order of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate mainly relying on the entries in the record of rights. In the orders of both the authorities, I do not find any discussion about the affidavits adduced by Kusum. It appears that both the authorities did not apply their minds to these affidavits. Their orders do not show that they have assessed the value of the affidavits. Feeling aggrieved, Kusum has filed this application.
4. Shri Khan, the learned Advocate for Kusum applicant urged that the learned Magistrate was in error in not considering the affidavits filed by witnesses in support of the contention of the applicant that she was in exclusive possession of the whole land. He read out certain portions from the various affidavits, e.g., the affidavit of Kisan Doma, Bhiwa Dewaji, her maternal uncle, Kusum and one Karim. All these affidavits, according to Shri Khan go to support the case of Kusum that immediately prior to the institution of the proceedings for nearly two years after Kusum became major, she was in possession of the whole land and Soniya was ever in possession. The learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate has also not considered the affidavits of witnesses of Soniya, though it is seen that besides her affidavit Soniya has also filed affidavits of some persons in support of her contention that she was in actual possession of eastern half share. Section 145 (4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure reads as under;
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...
Sub-section (4) of Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure as amended after 1955, clearly lays down that the Sub-Divisional Magistrate has to peruse the statements, i.e., affidavits filed by the parties and the documents and then hear the parties and thereafter conclude the inquiry. The question that will be for consideration is what is the Sub-Divisional Magistrate expected to do when he is asked to peruse the statements. It is well settled that perusal of the affidavit means that the order of the Magistrate must show that he has considered the affidavits, that he has applied his judicial mind to the assertions contained therein. It has been observed in Raghunath Behera v. Purna Chandra Mahanta : AIR1966Ori170 , placitum (D) as follows:
After amendment in 1956, an affidavit substitutes oral evidence except where the Magistrate may summon and examine a person whose affidavit has been put in to test the correctness of the facts mentioned in it. It is the bounden duty of the Magistrate to examine carefully the affidavits of each deponent. He must give' clear reasons for accepting or rejecting the affidavit. The order of the Magistrate must give indications that he had applied his mind to the affidavits. The affidavits cannot be dealt in a perfunctory manner by general observations. They should be weighed as oral evidence was being done prior to the amendment in 1956.
In the instant case, what we find is that the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate has only enumerated the names of the per-sons who have filed the affidavits in support of the contention of Kusum without considering the contents of these affidavits. He should have applied his judicial mind to the affidavits, he should have assessed their value, he should have given clear reason for accepting or rejecting the affidavits. He has not done so in the case of the affidavits filed by Kusum as well as by Soniya. The order of the Additional District Magistrate also suffers from the above mentioned infirmity. Hence on this ground alone the orders passed by both the authorities cannot be sustained. They appear to be perfunctory orders and in breach of the mandatory provisions of Section 145 (4), Code of Criminal Procedure. It is further seen from the order of the Sub-Divl. Magistrate that he has mainly considered the question from the angle of right to possess. We are not concerned with the title of the persons concerned while considering the proceedings under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. What is necessary to consider is the actual possession of the party. The Magistrate's duty is to determine actual possession and not whether the possession is rightful or wrongful. Proceedings under Section 145, Code - of Criminal Procedure are a summary remedy and the parties have a right to approach the Civil Court to litigate on their respective contentions about title. As there is a clear breach of Section 145 (4) of the Code, I set aside the orders of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate as well as the Additional District Magistrate and remand this matter to the file of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sakoli. The learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate, after the records and proceedings are received by him will issue notice to both the parties and after hearing the arguments, he will consider the affidavits filed by both the parties in the light of the observations made above and then dispose of the matter as expeditiously as possible.