1. The accused were charged under Section 379, Penal Code, for having cut and removed branches of an avenue tree in Nandi Daddabalapur high-road; they were caught red-handed and produced along with the property before the Police of Daddaballapur. After trial, the learned Magistrate found both A. 1 and A.2 guilty of the offence and fined them Rs. 40 and Rs. 5 respectively, and the accused have preferred this revision petition against their convictions.
2. On a perusal of the evidence there is little doubt that the tree in question is the avenue tree on the road side which is the property of the Government, and that the accused have removed the branches without the permission of the authorities concerned. The facts found by the lower Court are not disputed before this Court.
3. Sri B. Venkatesha Rao, the learned counsel for the petitioners, urged that the acts complained of amount to an offence under the Special Act, viz. Section 43, Land Revenue Code. Under Section 44 of the said Act provision is made for recovering the value of the tree removed as if it were in arrear of land revenue and also to levy a fine. These provisions of the Land Revenue Code, it is urged, do exclude the liability of the petitioners under the ordinary law, the Indian Penal Code. Reliance is placed on the decision reported in Mohan Lal v. Emperor, A. I. R. (17) 1930 Oudh 497: (32 Cr. L. J. 104) wherein it has been held that a punishment under the Penal Code for abetment of an act which is an offence under the Salt Act and not an offence under the Penal Code is illegal for the reason that Salt Act prescribes specific punishment for the abetment of such an offence. This decision is not applicable to the circumstances of the present case. It is not denied that the act complained of forms a separate offence under the general law, the Penal Code; and these Acts do not conflict with each other. Section 26, General Clauses Act, makes ft provision as to offences punishable under two or more enactments thus :
'Where an act or omission constitutes an offence under two or more enactments, then the offender shall be liable to be prosecuted and punished under either or any of those enactments, but shall not be liable to be punished twice for the same offence.'
It is admitted that the petitioners were neither proceeded with nor punished under the Land Revenue Code. It, therefore, follows that where an act is an offence under the provisions of two enactments which are not in conflict wit each other, prosecution could be resorted to under either of the enactments. The prosecution under the Penal Code is not illegal as contended.
4. The next point raised by the petitioners is that the proviso to Section 44, Land Revenue Code, enables the Deputy Commissioner instead of imposing a fine, to institute criminal proceedings. It is argued to mean that either the Deputy Commissioner or only with his sanction any other authority should institute criminal proceedings and not otherwise; I am unable to agree with this suggestion. The proviso to that section only contemplates the alternative remedy open to the Deputy Commissioner with no delegation to any other authority by way of sanctioning the prosecution, but the said proviso does in no way preclude the applicability of or the liability under the general law, the Indian Penal Code. In any view of the case, there is no reason to interfere with the decision of the Court below. The petition fails and is dismissed.