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Boggaram Srirama Murty Vs. Kandala Veeraraghava Charulu and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1958CriLJ124
AppellantBoggaram Srirama Murty
RespondentKandala Veeraraghava Charulu and anr.
Excerpt:
.....but, where there was no panchayat court previously, the requirements of section 70(1), where-under the state government have to invest the panchayat courts with criminal jurisdiction, must be satisfied......court. it is averred by the petitioner that there was no notification under section 76 of the madras village courts act, 1888, empowering the pancha-yat court to exercise criminal jurisdiction and it is therefore submitted by him that the court has no jurisdiction to proceed with the trial of c.c. no. 3 of 1954.3. as there was some controversy with regard to the fact as to whether there was a notification under section 76 of the madras village courts act, vesting the panchayat court with jurisdiction to try the oii'ences categorised in sub-section (1) of section 76 of the madras village courts act, i directed notice to the government pleader, who, on making enquiries from the departments of the government concerned, has informed me that there was no such notification1.4. even so,.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Satyanarayana Raju, J.

1. This is an application under Article 226 of the Constitution for the issue of. a writ of prohibition restraining the Village Panchayat Court, Chithapuram, from proceeding with the trial of C.C. No. 3 of 1954 on its file.

2. The petitioner is a resident of the area comprised within the Panchayat limits of Chithapuram village in the Vinukonda Taluk of the Guntur District. On 21-5-1954, he was served with summons in C.C. No. 3 of 1954 to appear before the Village Panchayat Court. It is averred by the petitioner that there was no notification under Section 76 of the Madras Village Courts Act, 1888, empowering the Pancha-yat Court to exercise criminal jurisdiction and it is therefore submitted by him that the Court has no jurisdiction to proceed with the trial of C.C. No. 3 of 1954.

3. As there was some controversy with regard to the fact as to whether there was a notification under Section 76 of the Madras Village Courts Act, vesting the Panchayat Court with jurisdiction to try the oii'ences categorised in Sub-section (1) of Section 76 of the Madras Village Courts Act, I directed notice to the Government Pleader, who, on making enquiries from the Departments of the Government concerned, has informed me that there was no such notification1.

4. Even so, the learned Counsel appearing for the Panchayat Court, has submitted that the Court could try the offences complained of as there was an automatic vesting of jurisdiction in the Court by reason of the fact that the Village Munsifs Co-art which was previously functioning within the Panchayat limits, was vested witn such jurisdiction.

5. In order to appreciate the correct legal position, it is necessary to notice the material provisions of the Madias Village Courts Act of lo8S, and the Madras Village Panchayats Act, 1950 (Act X of 1950). The expression 'Village Court' has been defined in Section 5 of the former Act as the Court of a village munsif appointed under Section 7, or a Panchayat Court established under Section 9. Section 7 provides that in villages where there are no Panchayat Courts, village munsifs shall be appointed by the Collector in the manner prescribed.

6. Section 9(1) of the Madras Village Courts Act, which provides for the constitution of Panchayat Courts, reads:

Government may, by order notified in the Dist. Gazette, constitute a Panchayat Court, as hereinafter provided, for any village, group of villages or part of a village; and thereupon, no Court of a village munsif appointed under Section 7 shall exercise jurisdiction under this Act in any part of such area.

Section 9-A reads:

Where a village Court is established under any of the provisions of Section 6 or Sub-section (1) of Section 9 in any local area in lieu of a village Court or Courts having jurisdiction over such area (a) all suits or civil proceedings pending in such Court or Courts shall be deemed to have been instituted or taken in the Court newly established for such area; and

b) all decrees passed by such Court or Courts which have not been executed or are under execution shall be deemed to have been passed by the Court so established.

7. Section 9-B makes a similar provision with regard to criminal case's or proceedings pending before a Panchayat Court or Courts in lieu of which a Panchayat Court is newly established. Section 76 of the Act empowers the State Government to invest the Panchayat Courts with criminal jurisdiction. The material portion of the said section reads:

The State Government may, by order notified in the Dist. Gazette, empower a Panchayat Court to take cognisance of and try all or any of the following offences when committed within the local limits of its jurisdiction....

8. Section 132 of the Madras Village Panchayats Act, 11)50, contains modifications of the Madras Village Courts Act for certain purposes and with regard to certain matters. It reads:

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Madras Village Courts Act, 1888

1) every Panchayat constituted or deemed to be constituted under this Act for any area shall be deemed to be a Panchayat Court for that area under Section 9(1) of the said Act;

2...

3. in any area within the jurisdiction of a Panchayat constituted or deemed to be constituted under this Act, the jurisdiction of any village or Panchayat Court or Courts, if any, established under the said Act bet ore the commencement of this Act shall cease, and the Panchayat shall be deemed to be a Panchayat Court established in lieu of such Court or Courts within the meaning and for the purposes of Sections 9-A and 9-B of the said Act.

9. By virtue of Section 132 of the Village Panchayats Act, all the panchayat boards constituted under that Act, will be deemed to be panchayat courts constituted under Section 9 (1) of the Village Courts Act. Such a panchayat Court, however, can exercise criminal jurisdiction if it is empowered in that behalf by the State Government by means of a notified order in the District Gazette.

10. The argument of the learned Counsel for the respondent is that since in the village there was a Court of the village munsif functioning already with jurisdiction to try criminal offences, there was no need to empower the Panchayat Court by means of a notification under Section 76(1) of the Village Courts Act, and he relies upon Sections 9-A and 9-B of the Act. By the continued operation of Sections 9-A and 9-B, all Panchayats, which became Panchayat Courts, can try all civil and criminal cases pending before Panchayat Courts in lieu of which they ore newly established. But Section 9-A, specifically refers to a village Court established under the provisions of Section 6 or Sub-section (1) of Section 9. Sections 9-A and 9-B do not apply to a Court of the village munsif appointed by the Collector under Section 7. Therefore, it follows that all Panchayats, which became Panchayat Courts, can try all civil and criminal cases pending before the Panchayat Courts which were in existence previously and which ceased to function consequent upon the establishment of Panchayat Court need not be invested afresh with jurisdiction under Section 76(1) of the Village Courts Act; but, where there was no Panchayat Court previously, the requirements of Section 70(1), where-under the State Government have to invest the Panchayat Courts with criminal jurisdiction, must be satisfied.

11. In the village of Chithapuram, there was no Panchayat Court invested with crimi- nal jurisdiction functioning previously; Therefore, the newly-established' Panchayat Court cannot exercise jurisdiction unless it is empowered by means of a notified order under Section 76.(1).

12. For the above reasons, I hold that the Panchayat Court had no jurisdiction to entertain C.C. No. 3 of 1954. A writ of prohibition will issue restraining the 2nd respondent from proceeding with tile trial of the said case. The petitioner will nave his costs from the President of the Panchayat Court (1st respondent) who has opposed the writ petition. Advocate's fee Rs. 100.


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