Norman Macleod, Kt., C.J.
1. This is a reference by the District Magistrate of Ratnagiri. One Muhadeo Laxman filed a complaint on April 15, 1924, under km. 44.S, 500 and 350, Indian Penal Code, in the Court of the First Class Magistrate at Milvan against Sitaram Narayan Tavde, Havildar o1 the 1/5th Mahratta Light Infantry then stationed at Secunderabad, and three others. The complaint was that the accused entered the complainant's house on April 8 1924, beat him and threatened to kill him. The First Class Magistrate verified the complaint and dismissed it under Section 20a of the Criminal Procedure Code on April 16, 1924.
2. The complainant then tiled a fresh complaint on the same facts against the same accused in the Court of the Bench Magistrates of the Second Class at Malvan on April 25, 1924 The fact of his previous complaint having been dismissed by the First Class Magistrate was not mentioned by the complainant in his complaint to the Bench Magistrates. The Bench Magistrates entertained the complaint, recorded the complainant's verification statement, and ordered the issue of process under Section 448, Indian Penal Code. Accordingly, a bailable warrant was issued for the arrest of the accused Havildar who brought to the notice of the District Magistrate the above facts in an application for transfer of the case.
3. On examining the papers the Magistrate was of opinion that the Bench Magistrates were wrong in taking up the complaint, which was already dismissed by the First Class Magistrate. Such a complaint was held to be without jurisdiction and the proceedings were set aside by the High Court of Allahabad in Queen-Empress v. Adam Khana I.L.R.(1899) All. 106. The District Magistrate, therefore, requested the Registrar to kindly move the High Court to set aside the proceedings pending in the Court of the Bench Magistrates at Malvan.
4. In Queen-Empress v. Adam Khan it was held that when a competent tribunal has dismissed a complaint another tribunal of exactly the same powers cannot re-open the same matter on a complaint made to it. The learned Judges said (p. 108):-
We think it utterly contrary to sound principles that one Magistrate of coordinate jurisdiction should, in effect and substance deal with, us if it wore an appeal or ft matter for revision, a complaint which had already been dismissed by a competent tribunal of co-ordinate authority.
5. On the other hand, in Queen-Empress v. Bapuda (1887) Unr. Cr. C. 350 it was held by this Court that there was nothing to prevent a Magistrate after he has once discharged an accused under Section 203 of the Code of Criminal Procedure from enquiring again into the case against him. A discharge not operating as an acquittal leaves the matter at large for all purposes of judicial enquiry. There is jurisdiction still vested in all Magistrates including the one who made the previous enquiry, just as before. But all Magistrates and especially the one who formerly discharged the accused are bound to exercise due discretion to take that discharge into account, and to avoid any such oppressive proceedings as may either expose them to punishment under Section 219 or 220 of the Indian Penal Code or to civil action on the part of the accused.
6. We do not think, therefore, that the Bench Magistrates at Malvan had no jurisdiction to hear the complainant, and to inquire into the second complaint because a similar complaint had already been dismissed by the First Class Magistrate. But we do think that there was a compelling duty on the complainant to inform the Bench Magistrates that he had previously filed a similar complaint which had been dismissed, because when the Court to which the second complaint is made becomes aware that a similar complaint has already been dismissed it must necessarily exercise greater care in considering how to deal with the case.
7. Therefore, we might send back the case to the Bench Magistrates to reconsider their order taking into consideration the fact that a previous complaint was dismissed; but considering the conduct of the complainant we see no reason why we should do so. Accordingly we set aside the order of the Bench Magistrates.