Piggott and Walsh, JJ.
1. It appears that there was a rent suit tried in the court of an Assistant Collector of the first class named Mr. Ambika Nandan Sinha, exercising jurisdiction in the Muzaffarnagar district. There was a question in that rent suit as to the genuineness of a certain receipt tendered in evidence by the defendants. The question was decided in favour of the' plaintiff by the Assistant Collector, and the Assistant Collector's decision was subsequently affirmed by the District Judge in appeal. An application was then made by the successful plaintiff to the same Assistant Collector, that is to say, to Mr. Ambika Nandan Sinha, still exercising the jurisdiction of an Assistant Collector of the first class in the Muzaffarnagar district, for sanction to prosecute the three defendants in the suit for offences under Sections 467, 471, 193 and 199, Indian Penal Code, in connection with an alleged false defence said to have been set up by them and the alleged forgery of the receipt on which they relied. The Assistant Collector granted sanction. Against his order an application was made according to law to the appellate court to which the said Assistant Collector was subordinate, namely, in this matter, the court of the Additional Judge of Meerut. A variety of pleas were taken, but the Additional Judge disposed of the matter on a single point. He said that Mr. Ambika Nandan Sinha had no jurisdiction to entertain the application for sanction when it was presented to him. It appears that, in the interval between the rent suit and the presentation of the application for sanction, Mr. Ambika Nandan Sinha had, under the provisions of Section 18 of the Land Revenue Act (Local Act III of 1901), been put in charge of a different sub-division of the Muzaffarnagar district. The suggestion is that the only officer competent to entertain the application for sanction was the Assistant Collector who had taken over from Mr. Ambika Nandan Sinha the charge of the particular sub-division in question. There is nothing in the Tenancy Act (Local Act II of 1901) about a sub-divisional officer. Whatever may be the effect of transfers of work, either on the criminal side or under the Land Revenue Act, between one officer and another of equal rank in the same district, there seems no force in the objection taken in the present case. The suit under the Tenancy Act in connection with which the alleged offences were committed was a suit before Mr. Ambika Nandan Sinha, Assistant Collector of the first class exercising jurisdiction in the Muzaffarnagar district. Any transfer of work which might subsequently be made under the orders of the Collector between different Assistant Collectors in the same district could at the most affect the powers of the officer concerned under the Land Revenue Act. So far as the powers of Mr. Ambika Nandan Sinha as Assistant Collector under the Tenancy Act were concerned they remained the same, and he was for practical purposes the same court which had decided the rent suit in question. It seems therefore that the Additional Judge was wrong in the ground which he took up as the basis of his order setting aside the sanction granted by the Assistant Collector. The application before the learned Additional Judge raised a number of other points which he has declined to consider. Moreover, there is another view of the case which should have been present to the mind of the Additional Judge. He was the presiding officer of the court to which appeals lay from the decisions, either of Mr. Ambika Nandan Sinha, or of the other Assistant Collector who was alleged to have succeeded to the charge of the former's sub-division under the Land Revenue Act. It was, therefore, competent for him, from any point of view, either to affirm or to quash the sanction which had been granted. He was seised of the case on the merits and the real question which he had to determine was whether this was a proper case in which the interest of justice required that sanction should be granted to the successful plaintiff to prosecute the unsuccessful defendants. In refusing, as he says, 'to try the other issues' raised before him, the Additional Judge has declined to exercise a jurisdiction vested in him by law. We think it is a proper case to exercise the revisional jurisdiction [of this Court. We accordingly allow this application, set aside the order of the Additional Judge, and direct that the application contesting the order of sanction granted by the Assistant Collector be returned to the court of the Additional Judge of Meerut, with orders that it be re-admitted on to the file of pending applications and disposed of according to law. Under all the circumstances of the case we make no order as to costs of this application.