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The Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Through P. Ranga Rao, Sanitary Inspector Vs. Imamuddin, Proprietor of Tafreeh Deccan Hotel, Hyderabad - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. Case No. 312 of 1963 and Cri Revn. Petn. No. 273 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1964AP290; 1964CriLJ12
ActsHyderabad Municipal Corporation Act, 1956 - Sections 119, 521(1), 596 and 674
AppellantThe Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Through P. Ranga Rao, Sanitary Inspector
Respondentimamuddin, Proprietor of Tafreeh Deccan Hotel, Hyderabad
Appellant AdvocateAdv. General and ;Prasannakumari, Adv.
Respondent AdvocatePublic Prosecutor
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
.....was in error in refusing to take cognizance of the case on that..........is whether a sanitary inspector is competent to file a complaint for an offence under the hyderabad municipal corporation act (no. ii of 1956) (which will be referred to as 'the act'). the answer to this question is to be found in two sections of the act viz., sections 674 and 119. before adverting to these provisions, we shall refer to the farts which have green rise to this revision petition.2. one sri p. ranga rao, sanitary inspector, ward. no. 22 (b) of the hyderabad municipal corporation, filed a complaint before the first class magistrate, hyderabad, against one imamuddin, proprietor of tafreen-deccan hotel, hyderabad, for an offence punishable under section 596 read with section 521(1) of the act alleging that on april 4, 1963 the said imamuddin was found running a hotel.....
Judgment:

Basi Reddy, J.

1. The short question that arises for our consideration in this revision petition filed on behalf of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, is whether a Sanitary Inspector is competent to file a complaint for an offence under the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act (No. II of 1956) (which will be referred to as 'the Act'). The answer to this question is to be found in two sections of the Act viz., Sections 674 and 119. Before adverting to these provisions, we shall refer to the farts which have green rise to this revision petition.

2. One Sri P. Ranga Rao, Sanitary Inspector, Ward. No. 22 (B) of the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, filed a complaint before the First Class Magistrate, Hyderabad, against one Imamuddin, Proprietor of Tafreen-Deccan Hotel, Hyderabad, for an offence punishable under Section 596 read with Section 521(1) of the Act alleging that on April 4, 1963 the said Imamuddin was found running a hotel named Tafreeh-Deccan in the city of Hyderabad, without obtaining a licence and had thereby contravened the provisions of Section 521 (1) of the Act. Along with the complaint, the Sanitary Inspector filed a copy of the proceedings No. ODP/100/61 dated 13-10-1961 to show that the Municipal Commissioner, acting under Section 119-of the Act, had delegated the power vested in him under Section 674 of the Act to Sanitary Inspectors in general, to launch prosecutions in respect of offences under the Act.

3. The learned Magistrate, however, declined to take cognizance of the case, taking the view that the Sanitary Inspector was not competent to file a complaint because the Commissioner had no authority to delegate his power to launch prosecutions to any other Municipal officer. In reaching that conclusion, the Magistrate followed an observation of Mirza J. in Rustum Kiyani v. The Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Criminal Revn. Case No. 63S of 1961 (Andh-Pra.). That observation is as follows:--

'.........under Section 674 the Commissioner is the only person who is competent to take, or withdraw from, proceedings against any person, who is charged with any offence under the Act and I do not think that Section 119 permits him to delegate his powers, to any of his subordinates to take, or withdraw from, the proceedings.'

Relying on the above observation, the learned Magistrate held that the Commissioner was not authorised to delegate his power of prosecuting offenders to his subordinate Sri P. Ranga Rao, and consequently the latter was not competent to file the complaint on behalf of the Commissioner. The Magistrate concluded :

'So this complaint is not tenable. The Court cannot take cognizance of this offence on the complaint filed by 311 unauthorised person, who is not an aggrieved person.'

4. In this revision petition, the learned Advocate-General appearing for the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, has submitted that the view expressed by Mirza J. is not correct and requires reconsideration. He has argued that Section 119 of the Act authorises delegation by the Commissioner of the power vested in him under the Act, subject to the safeguard provided in Sub-section (2) in the shape of prior approval of the Standing Committee. Since the Commissioner has delegated his power to launch prosecutions under the Act to Sanitary Inspectors after obtaining the prior sanction of the Standing Committee, in the present case the Sanitary Inspector, Sri P. Ranga Rao, was competent to make a complaint and the Magistrate was in error in refusing to take the complaint on file and try the case. We are satisfied that the position contended for by the learned Advocate-General is unanswerable, and with respect, we are unable to agree with the view of Mirza J. with regard to the combined effect of Sections 674 and 119 of the Act. No doubt Section 674 lays down under the heading 'Legal Proceedings':

'The Commissioner may --(a) take, or withdraw from, proceedings against any person who is charged with --(i) any offence against this Act.'

5. But this section is controlled by Section 119 and has to be read subject to it. Section 119, the marginal note to which is -- 'Municipal Officers may be empowered to exercise certain of the powers etc., of the Commissioner,' provides :

'119(1) Subject to the provisions of Sub-section (2) any of the powers, duties or functions conferred or imposed upon or vested in the Commissioner by or under any of the provisions of this Act may be exercised, performed or discharged, under the control of the Commissioner, and subject to his revision and to such conditions, if any, as may be imposed, or as he shall think fit to impose in a manner not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act or rules made thereunder, by any municipal officer whom the Commissioner generally or specially empowers by orders in writing in this behalf; and to the extent to which any municipal officer is so empowered the word 'Commissioner' occurring in any provision in this Act, shall be deemed to include such officer.

(2) The Commissioner shall not, except with the prior approval of the Standing Committee, make an order under Sub-section (1) affecting his powers, duties or functions under any of the sections, sub-sections and clauses specified in Schedule B'.

It will be seen, therefore, that Sub-section (1) of Section 119 provides in express and explicit terms that the Commissioner may, subject to the provisions of Sub-section (2), delegate any of his powers, duties or functions to any municipal officer. Sub-section (1) further clarifies that to the extent to which any municipal officer is so empowered, the word 'Commissioner' occurring in any provision in the Act, shall be deemed to include such officer. The institution of legal proceedings in respect of offences committed under the Act is unquestionably a power conferred upon or a function vested in the Commissioner by Section 674 of the Act. Such a power or function may be delegated by the Commissioner to a subordinate municipal officer subject to the condition prescribed in Sub-section (2). That sub-section says that the Commissioner shall not, accept with the prior approval of the Standing Committee, make an order under Sub-section (1) affecting his powers, duties or functions under any of the sections, sub-sections and clauses, specified in Schedule B.

6. Now, one of the sections enumerated in Schedule B is Section 674, Sub-section (1) Clause (a). It would follow that before the Commissioner could validly delegate his power or function to launch prosecutions in respect of offences under the Act, he should obtain the prior approval of the Standing Committee. In the present case, that has been done. It would appear that by a resolution dated 7-10-1961 the Standing Committee gave its prior approval to the delegation by the Commissioner of his power to launch prosecutions to all the Sanitary Inspectors of the Corporation, and by an order dated 13-10-1961, the then Commissioner of the Corporation delegated the power vested in him under Section 674 of the Act to all Sanitary Inspectors. This was done obviously because it would be extremely difficult and lead to much practical inconvenience if the Commissioner were required personally to examine all the cases himself and launch prosecutions for the contravention of one or other of the numerous provisions of the Act.

7. We are therefore clearly of the opinion that the complaint filed by the Sanitary inspector in the instant case is in accordance with law and the Magistrate was in error in refusing to take cognizance of the case on that complaint.

8. In the result this revision case is allowed and the lower court is directed to restore the complaint to its file and deal with it according to law.


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