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Pemmasani Venkatachalapati Rao and ors. Vs. Govindarajulu, Revenue Inspector and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1960CriLJ782
AppellantPemmasani Venkatachalapati Rao and ors.
RespondentGovindarajulu, Revenue Inspector and anr.
Excerpt:
.....tahsildar and the connected records clearly disclosed offences under sections 353 and 355, indian penal code. suryaprakasam, the learned counsel for the petitioners, contended that the magistrate had no jurisdiction to take cognizance under section 190, criminal procedure code of the alleged offences under sections 353 and 355, indian penal code, because the report made to him by the sub-inspector clearly stated that the facts disclosed, at the best, only a non-cognizable offence under section 352 indian penal code and because no complaint was laid before him by the tahsildar or any other person in spite of the referred notice served on the tahsildar. it was submitted on behalf of the respondents that the report of the tahsildar dated 17-2-1958 and the statements recorded by him were..........under section 190(1)(c), criminal procedure code, of an offence under section 353, indian penal code said to have been committed by the first petitioner and of an offence under section 355, indian penal code, said to have been committed by petitioners 2 to 5 and issued summons to the petitioners posting the case to 13-9-1958. the facts are briefly diese : on 25-2-1958, the revenue inspector of dug-girala, sri v. govindarajulu, and the village munsife of cliinnapalem, sri v. narayana, reported to the tahsildar of tenali that when they attempted that day to collect arrears of land revenue at chinnapa-lem, they were assaulted by the petitioners,on 26-2-1958, the tahsildar made a preliminary enquiry examining witnesses and found that there was a prima facie case against the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Krishna Rao, J.

1. These petitions Under Sections 439 and 561-A, Criminal Procedure Code, respectively are directed against the order dated 26-8-1958, of the Judicial Second Class Magistrate, Tenali, by which he took cognizance Under Section 190(1)(c), Criminal Procedure Code, of an offence Under Section 353, Indian Penal Code said to have been committed by the first petitioner and of an offence Under Section 355, Indian Penal Code, said to have been committed by petitioners 2 to 5 and issued summons to the petitioners posting the case to 13-9-1958. The facts are briefly diese : On 25-2-1958, the Revenue Inspector of Dug-girala, Sri V. Govindarajulu, and the Village MunsifE of Cliinnapalem, Sri V. Narayana, reported to the Tahsildar of Tenali that when they attempted that day to collect arrears of land revenue at Chinnapa-lem, they were assaulted by the petitioners,

On 26-2-1958, the Tahsildar made a preliminary enquiry examining witnesses and found that there was a prima facie case against the petitioners Under Sections 353, 355, 356 and 146, Indian Penal Code. On 27-2-1958, he transferred the papers to the Station House Officer, Duggirala 'for registering a case and for conducting necessary investigation and such further action as he may think fit.' The Sub-Inspector of Duggirala after investigation submitted a final report dated 22-6-1958, Under Section 173, Criminal Procedure Code, to the Judicial Second Class Magistrate, Tenali,'stating that the allegations against the petitioners were partly false and that the evidence indicated only the commission of a non-cognisable offence Under Section 352, Indian Penal Code.

The Sub-Inspector also served a notice on the Tahsildar on 21-6-1958, referring the case as a mistake of law and as non-cognizable and asking the latter to oppose the report, if he wanted, within a week before the Judicial Second Class Magistrate. The Tahsildar did not take any such action before the Magistrate but it is stated by the learned Public Prosecutor that he has moved his higher departmental authorities in the matter. After waiting for about two months, the Judicial Second Class Magistrate made the order in question, holding that he was not at all satisfied with the grounds and reasoning of the Sub-Inspector and that the report of the Tahsildar and the connected records clearly disclosed offences Under Sections 353 and 355, Indian Penal Code.

2. Sri S. Suryaprakasam, the learned Counsel for the petitioners, contended that the Magistrate had no jurisdiction to take cognizance Under Section 190, Criminal Procedure Code of the alleged offences Under Sections 353 and 355, Indian Penal Code, because the report made to him by the Sub-Inspector clearly stated that the facts disclosed, at the best, only a non-cognizable offence Under Section 352 Indian Penal Code and because no complaint was laid before him by the Tahsildar or any other person in spite of the referred notice served on the Tahsildar. He argued that in any view, the action taken by the learned Magistrate, in the circumstances, amounted to an abuse of the process of the Court.

3. On behalf of the learned Public Prosecutor it was at first argued that the action of the learned Magistrate could be supported even as coming Under Section 190(1)(c). Criminal Procedure Code, because He was not bound to adopt the conclusions of the Sub-Inspector in his report and because the three clauses of Section 190(1)(c) are not mutually exclusive. This position was ultimately abandoned by the learned Public Prosecutor, because the impugned order specifically and unequivocally states that cognizance of the offence was taken only Under Section 190(1)(c), Cri- Procedure Code. Therefore, the only contention on the side of the respondents which falls for consideration is whether the learned Magistrate legitimately and properly acted Under Section 190(1)(c), Criminal Procedure Code.

4. It is not disputed that the Magistrate has-been specially empowered to take cognizance Under Section 190(1)(c), the material portion of which reads :. any other Magistrate, specially empowered in this behalf, may take cognizance of any offence -

* * * * * *(c) upon information received from any person other than a police officer, or upon his own knowledge or suspicion, that such offence has been committed.

It was submitted on behalf of the respondents that the report of the Tahsildar dated 17-2-1958 and the statements recorded by him were sent by the Sub-Inspector along with his final report and were perused by the Magistrate as clearly appears from his order. It was urged that in these circumstances the Magistrate had 'received information' within the meaning of Section 190(1)(c) from the Tahsildar, who was a person other than a police officer. But thp Tahsildar's report of 27-2-1958 was addressed not to the Magistrate but only to the Station House Officer, Duggirala. It was obviously not intended' For the Magistrate, because it concluded by asking the Station House Officer to take such further action as he thought fit, after registering the case and conducting the investigation.

The word 'receive' means 'to take proffered thing into one's possession.' (See Concise Oxford Dictionary). The giving of information to a Magistrate entails liability Under Section 250, Criminal Procedure Code, if the accusation in the case is ultimately found to be false and either frivolous or vexatious. As the Tahsildar specifically authorised the Station House Officer to take such action as he deemed fit on the information and did uot pursue the matte before the Magistrate after the Station House Officer referred the case, it is impossible to hold that ht intended the information to be given to the Magistrate for suitable action. The natural construction of the first clause of Section 190(1)(c) is that the informant must intend the information to reach the Magistrate himself, whether directly or indirectly, for proceeding in the matter.

I am unable to agree with the learned Public Prosecutor's contention that the Magistrate may be held to have taken cognizance upon the information leceived from the Tahsildar. But Section 190(1)(c) also empowers the Magistrate to take cognizance upon his own knowledge or suspicion that an offence nas been committed, Sri S. Suryaprakasam's contention is that this refers to facts personally observed by the Magistrate. But the words 'own knowledge of suspicion' stand in contrast with the words 'the view or presence' of any Court used in Section 480, Criminal Procedure Code.

If the Legislature had intended that the fact should have been personally observed by the Magistrate, it would have used appropriate words such as those we find in Section 480, Criminal Procedure Code. The word 'own' has evidently been used in Section 190(1)(c) in contradistinction to the earlier reference to 'any other person'. Knowledge or suspicion on the part of the Magistrate himself is sufficient, although it is not shared by any other person. When it is borne in mind that the policy of the Code is entitle any person having knowledge of the commission of an offence to set the criminal law in motion, subject to express statutory exceptions such as- those in Sections 195 - 199, Criminal Procedure Code, it becomes plain that the wide import of the words I 'own knowledge or suspicion' are not to be eviscerated by reading them in a limited sense. Knowledge no doubt implies a higher degree of certainty than 1 suspicion,

But a Magistrate is entitled to take cognizance of any offence even on his suspicion. In Queen-Empress v. Sham Lall ILR 14 Cal 707 (FB) construing the similar words in Section 191 of the Code of 1882, the learned Judges held that a Magistrate had jurisdiction to take cognizance on suspicion of an offence Under Section 211, India Penal Code, disclosed in a police report, although the report stated that no such charge could be made. There were ample materials here before the Magistrate to support his suspicion that offences Under Sections 353 and -355, Indian Penal Code, had been really committed. It is therefore impossible to uphold the petitioners' contention that the Magistrate had exceeded the jurisdiction vested in him Under Section 190(1)(c), Criminal Procedure Code.

5. The learned Counsel finally contended that as the Tahsildar did not choose to press the matter before the Magistrate, the order should be set aside on the ground that a sound judicial discretion was not exercised by the Magistrate. But the Magistrate after perusing the record has found that the materials prima facie disclosed offence Under Sections 353 and 355, Indian Penal Code, and that the Station House Officer's reasoning was unsatisfactory. The provisions of Section 191, Criminal Procedure Code, are sufficient to safeguard the interests of the petitioners and I see no valid reasons to stifle the judicial inquiry against them. The situation is entirely different from that in ILR 14 Cal 707 (FB), where the complainant was not heard before he was sought to be prosecuted Under Section 211, Indian Penal Code.

6. There are no valid grounds for interference in revision or Under Section 561-A, Cr.PC The petitions are accordingly dismissed.


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