Knox, Blair and Burkitt, JJ.
1. This is an application calling upon us to set aside an order passed by the Sessions Court of Bijnor-Budaun dismissing an, appeal presented by one Fazl Azim who was convicted of offences under Sections 265 and 266 of the Indian Penal Code. The main contention urged upon our notice was that the order of the Sessions Judge was a nullity, it having been passed at Moradabad, a place outside the local limits of the Sessions division known as the, Bijnor-Budaun Sessions Division. It appears from the record that the appeal was presented at Bijnor, and there can therefore be no doubt whatever that the learned Sessions Judge had jurisdiction to entertain the appeal. The question therefore remaining for our decision is whether the order dismissing the appeal was a valid order or a nullity.
2. The Sessions division of Bijnor-Budaun was constituted by an order of Government, No. 545, dated the 12th of May 1880. Under that order and under Section 13 of Act No. X of 1872, the Local Government, from the 15th of May. 1880, withdrew the district of Bijnor from the Moradabad Sessions Division and the district of Budaun from the Bareilly and Shahjahenpur Sessions Divisions, and constituted the two districts thus withdrawn a new Sessions division to be called the Bijnor-Budaun Division. By subsequent order a Sessions Judge was duly appointed to this division under Section 16 of Act No. X of 1872, and the Sessions division thus constituted continues to exist up to the present time.
3. It is an undisputed fact that Moradabad is situated without the local area of the Sessions division, and it is also undisputed that this appeal, though presented at Bijnor, was heard and orders on it passed at Moradabad. We have no hesitation in saying that the Sessions Judge did commit an irregularity in hearing the appeal outside the local area which constitutes his Sessions division, for it is a general and well-known rule that all judicial acts exercised by persons whose judicial authority is limited as to locality should be done within the locality to which such authority is limited. It is an irregularity which should not be allowed to recur. The further question which now arises is whether we are obliged by law to set aside the proceedings on the trial of the appeal, and the order on the appeal, as absolutely void by reason of that irregularity. The case Empress of India v. Jagan Nath I.L.R. 3 All. 258, was cited to us as an authority for holding that the proceedings are void. It is a precedent which has been followed by several other cases decided by this Court, but, with all due deference to the learned Judge who decided that case, it appears to us that his judgment involved a confusion between Sections 70 and 33 of Act No. X of 1872, sections which have now been replaced by Sections 531 and 532 of the present Code. Our attention was also called to the case of Queen-Empress v. James Ingle I.L.R. 16 Bom. 200, in which we think the law has been very correctly laid down by Mr. Justice Farran in the following words:
Referring to Section 531 that learned Judge said:
This section, I think, must be read as complete in itself and not as in any way cut down or limited by the proviso contained in the latter part of Section 532. Section 531 applies solely to cases in which there is no jurisdiction by reason of the inquiry, trial or other proceeding being held in the wrong local area; but Section 532 seems to refer to cases in which the Magistrate is competent to deal with the offences as having taken place within the local limits of his jurisdiction but has no power to commit to the High Court or Court of Sessions, either because he is only a second class Magistrate, or for some reason other than that of local jurisdiction.
4. We understand that the meaning of the learned Judge is that Section 531 refers to irregularities arising out of the fact that the finding, sentence or order had been passed outside the geographical area of its jurisdiction by a Court otherwise competent, whilst Section 532 refers to a personal disability irrespective of area of jurisdiction. We have no doubt that the trial of this appeal in the Court of Sessions and the order dismissing it passed by the Sessions Judge come within the words 'inquiry, trial or other proceeding.' The present case therefore falls within Section 531, and under that section no finding, sentence or order should be set aside unless it appears that the error occasioned a failure of justice. It is not contended in the present application that any failure of justice was caused. No other point was pressed upon us; and we therefore order that this application stand dismissed.
5. The order admitting Fazl Azim to bail will therefore be discharged, and Fazl Azim will be committed to prison to work out the rest of the sentence passed upon him on the 31st of March 1894.