A.N. Mulla, J.
1. This is a criminal revision in a case under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
2. One Mirza Mohammad Aziz filed an application against Safdar Husain and Asghar Husain before the Deputy Superintendent of Police that they were threatening to take possession over a room in his house which was in his possession and this application was filed on the 19th July, 1959. The Deputy Superintendent of Police Lucknow sent it to a subordinate police officer who reported that there was an apprehension of a breach of the peace. This complaint was then forwarded to the Additional City Magistrate who took cognizance of it and passed a preliminary order on the 14th of November, 1959.
The parties were then asked to file their affidavits and produce their documentary evidence and the Magistrate by his final order dated the 12tli January, 1961, handed over the disputed property to Safdar Husain and Asghar Husain and as the keys of the room were with one Nawab Ghaznafar Ali Khan, he in order to facilitate the taking over of possession by Safdar Husain and Asghar Husain directed that he should hand over the keys to Asghar Husain and Safdar Husain. Immediately after the criminal courts passed this order Mirza Mohd. Aziz went up in revision against the order of the Magistrate but this revision was dismissed. He then came up in revision before this Court and I am hearing it today.
3. The counsel for the applicant contended that as his client has filed a suit in the civil courts and the civil courts have issued a temporary injunction stopping Safdar Husain and Asghar from taking possession of the room according to the orders of the Magistrate, I should allow this revision and set aside the order of the Magistrate, The counsel on the other side, however, contends that the Magistrate had passed this order when he was competent to do so and any subsequent action taken by Mirza Mohd. Aziz cannot make the order passed by the Magistrate as illegal or non-compliable. He contends that he has gone in appeal before the District Judge against the temporary injunction issued by the Munsif North Lucknow and that appeal is pending. It may be that the District Judge allows this appeal then the order of the Magistrate would be enforceable.
I have heard the counsel for both the parties and in my opinion the order of the Magistrate cannot be treated as a dead letter. There is no legal defect in the order passed by the Magistrate and it cannot be said that he had no jurisdiction to pass this order. In order to illustrate this point it is necessary to give a few facts which form the background of this case.
4. It appears that Safdar Husain and Asghar Husain were the sub-tenants of Mirza Mohd. Aziz and admittedly for quite appreciable time they were in possession of the disputed room as Asghar Husain was carrying On business in that room. Then Asghar Husain went away to Bombay but his signboard remained outside this room. After the departure of Asghar Husain Mirza Mohd. Aziz wanted to retake possession of this room but Safdar Husain objected to it and there was a dispute between them which created an apprehension of a breach of peace. This apprehension can easily be inferred because some criminal cases were filed and the matter went before the courts of law. The common friends who were interested in both the parties then intervened and they tried to bring about a compromise. An agreement was drafted and it appears that it was acceptable to both the parties.
This agreement was scribed on the 19th of June, 1959 and one of the terms of this agreement was that if Asghar Husain returned within two months from Bombay he will be given possession of this room. The keys of the room were placed with one Nawab Ghaznafar Ali Khan. Asghar Hussain came back within a fortnight and so Safdar Husain and Asghar Husain wanted to take the keys of the disputed room from Nawab Ghaznafar Ali Khan. Instead of accepting the terms of the agreement Mirza Mohd. Aziz, made some objections and did not permit Ghaznafar Ali Khan to hand over the keys to Asghar Husain and Safdar Husain, It was after this that he went and lodged his petition before the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Lucknow.
5. In the background of facts given above it was first suggested by the counsel for Mirza Mohd. Aziz that once a compromise was reached and an agreement was signed the jurisdiction of the criminal courts was ousted as there was no apprehension of a breach of the public peace. In my opinion there is no substance in this contention. As I look at the matter it seems to me that there was an apprehension of a breach of the peace in the beginning which was temporarily removed when the compromise was reached. Obviously at that stage the criminal courts could not step in but when Mirza Mohd. Aziz objected to the handing over of keys to Asghar Husain and Safdar Husain and stopped Nawab Ghaznafar Ali Khan from doing so the danger of a breach of the peace which, had temporarily, subsided wag revived and the criminal courts were, therefore, competent to take cognizance of this dispute.
It is well known that the first question which is the very basis for the jurisdiction of the criminal courts is whether there is an apprehension of a breach of public peace or not. The conduct of Mirza Mohd. Aziz in not sticking to the agreement clearly amounted to a violation of the agreement and it is not open to him to urge that this compromise had removed all causes of friction and there was no likelihood of any breach of the peace. I am therefore satisfied that the jurisdiction of the criminal courts cannot be assailed and the police was justified in reporting that there was an apprehension of a breach of the peace.
6. The counsel then contended before me that Nawab Ghaznafar Ali Khan was examined under Section 540, Cri. P. C. by the trial court and the Magistrate considered his statement before passing the final orders. This procedure was considered illegal by the learned Sessions Judge and he was of the opinion that only such a witness can be examined whose affidavit has been filed earlier in Section 145 proceedings, Nawab Ghaznafar Ali Khan deposed in favour of Mirza Mohd. Aziz and the learned Sessions Judge did not take his statement into consideration because according to him it was1 not admissible in evidence.
As the learned Sessions Judge dismissed the revision filed by Mirza Mohd, Aziz this opinion of the learned Judge did not cause any failure of justice. Still for the guidance of the learned Sessions Judge I would like to observe that his view is quite incorrect and there is no bar to a Magistrate examining a witness under Section 540, Cri. P. C. even in proceedings under Section 145, Cri. P. C. I am quite clear in my mind that the words of Section 145, Cri. P. C. in no way subtract from the power possessed by courts including Magistrates to examine necessary witnesses during the trial before them. The words of Section 540, Cri. P. C. are quite clear on this point. Section 540 runs as follows :
'Any Court may, at any stage of any inquiry, trial or other proceeding under this Code, summon any person as a witness, or examine any person in attendance, though not summoned as a witness, or recall and re-examine any person already examined; and the Court shall summon and examine or recall and re-examine any such person if his evidence appears to it essential to the just decision of the case,'
Obviously proceedings under Section 145 are proceedings under this Code and therefore the rights of a Court apply with as much force to proceedings under Section 145 as to any other form of inquiry or trial. The trial Court was perhaps misled by the words of the first proviso to Sub-section (4) of Section 145, Cri. P. C. This proviso runs as follows:
'Provided that the Magistrate may, if he so thinks fit, summon and examine any person whose affidavit has been put in as to the facts contained therein.'
The error committed by the Sessions Judge was that he did not relate this proviso to the words used in Sub-section (1) of Section 145. The relevant words of Sub-section (1) are
'and to put in written statements of their respective claims as respects the fact of actual possession of the subject of dispute, and further requiring-them to put in such, documents, or to adduce, by putting in affidavits, the evidence of such persons, as they rely upon in support of such claims.'
It is noticeable that the latter part of the extract just cited above and the proviso were added at the same time and they make it very clear that the proviso is confined in its operation to the witnesses who are named by the parties to the dispute. It is only the witness of a party who cannot be examined unless his affidavit was put in earlier. This proviso in no way takes away the basic and fundamental right of a court to seek assistance from whatever source it pleases if it is necessary in the interest of justice to seek that assistance. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the Magistrate made no mistake when he examined Nawab Ghaznafar Ali Khan as he was a necessary witness. The view that I have expressed above is supported by a decision of the Rajasthan High Court reported in Bahori v. Ghure, AIR 1960 Raj 15.
7. The last point to be determined is whether order passed by the criminal court can be enforced or not. I have already observed above that there is no legal defect in this order and it has been passed by a competent court, but it is one of the maxims of administration of justice that a conflict of decisions should be avoided and where disputes are really of a civil nature the orders of competent civil courts should be given precedence over the orders of criminal courts. It has not been contended before me that the Munsif North was not competent to issue the temporary injunction which he issued because a criminal court had already passed a conflicting order. Criminal Courts in such disputes are merely stop-gaps and their orders are only meant to ensure peace and the dispute is finally decided by a competent civil court.
Mirza Mohd. Aziz has now approached a competent civil court and the dispute between the parties would be decided by the civil courts. Under the circumstances the temporary injunction issued by the Munsif North is a valid order and it limits the operation of the order of the criminal court till the injunction is in force. Of course, if the injunction is set aside then the order passed by the criminal courts will again be revived and it can be acted upon. At the moment this order is in abeyance because of the injunction issued by the Civil Court. In case the injunction is confirmed then the order passed by the civil court will have precedence over the order passed by the criminal court. In view of what I have observed above I see no reason to interfere with the order passed by the Magistrate, but this order cannot be enforceed till the injunction stands in its way. I think I have made the position quite clear.
8. This application of revision is dismissed.