1. This is a reference by the learned Judge of Saharanpur. It appears that the accused persons interfered with a civil Court Amin who was attempting to make an attachment. They were prosecuted by the police under Sections 353, 429 and 504, Penal Code, as a result of a report made by the Amin to the police. The Magistrate held that these offences had not been established, but, on the other hand, held that the accused had been guilty of obstructing the Amin in the execution of his duty and were punishable under Section 186, Penal Code. The learned Judge is of opinion that the conviction under that section and the sentence of fine of Rs. 50 must be set aside because the Magistrate could not take cognizance of the offence except on the complaint in writing of the Amin or of some public servant to whom he was subordinate under the provisions of Section 195(1), Criminal P. C. This is a pure matter of technicality, and in my judgment there is no reason for interference.
2. In the first place, the term 'complaint' as defined in Section 4(1)(h), Criminal P. C., has the meaning therein given, unless a different intention appears from the subject or context. A complaint, as defined, does not include the report of a police officer. It is obvious that the term 'complaint' in Section 195(1)(a) cannot be used in that sense because otherwise, it would be possible for any person to obstruct a police officer in the execution of his duty without rendering himself liable to punishment under Section 186, Penal Code. It seems to me that the intention of Section 195, Criminal P. C., is only that the Magistrate should not punish any person except at the instance of the public officer concerned or of his superior and I do not think that the term 'complaint' is used in the technical sense in which it is defined in Section 4. At the time when the Magistrate convicted the accused in this case, he had before him the written report of the Amin made to the police and the evidence of the Amin who had been called as a witness. It is obvious that the Amin intended that these people should be punished and that the prosecution was not really at the instance of some other person. Finally, the most that can be said is, that the complaint made to the Magistrate was irregular and the provisions of Section 537, Criminal P. C., are that no finding or sentence shall be reversed on appeal or revision on account of any error, omission or irregularity in the complaint. No substantial injustice has been done. I reject the reference.