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Hari Das Mundhra Vs. the State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. No. 198 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1959All82; 1959CriLJ113
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 14, 154, 166, 166(1) and 166(2); Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 14, 156, 177, 190, 190(1) and 537; Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946
AppellantHari Das Mundhra
RespondentThe State
Appellant AdvocateNiamatullah, ;G.G. Chatterji, ;Inayatullah, ;C.P. John, ;D.P. Arrena, ;B.M. Dixit and ;Babu Ram Gir, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateRam Asrey Misra, ;M.L. Trivedi, Advs. and ;Adv. General
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
(i) constitution - compliance - article 166 of constitution of india - provisions of article 166 are directory and not mandatory or imperative - constitution requires substantial compliance of provisions and not literal one - order not in strict compliance of article 166 not invalid or void - but order could be challenged and may need proof. (ii) criminal - investigation - sections 190 and 537 of criminal procedure code, 1898 - defect or illegality in investigation however serious has no bearing on resulting trial or cognizance - valid or legal police report is not foundation of jurisdiction of court to take cognizance. (iii) territorial jurisdiction - sections 14 and 177 of criminal procedure code, 1898 and article14 of constitution of india - section 177 empowers court to take.....orderv.d. bhargava, j.1. this in an application in revision filed on behalf of sri hari das mundhra against an order of the courts below rejecting his application challenging the validity of the trial and the investigation.2. sri hari das mundhra was the chairman of the british india corporation limited, kanpur, which is a joint stock company incorporated under the indian companies act. he is being prosecuted under sections 420, 471 and 467 i. p. c., in the court of sri maharaj singh who has been appointed a special magistrate. his substantive designation is additional district magistrate of lucknow.3. sri w. h. j. christi was the managing director of the aforesaid corporation. he lodged a report on 21-12-1957 to the deputy superintendent of police who had been appointed under the delhi.....
Judgment:
ORDER

V.D. Bhargava, J.

1. This in an application in revision filed on behalf of Sri Hari Das Mundhra against an order of the courts below rejecting his application challenging the validity of the trial and the investigation.

2. Sri Hari Das Mundhra was the Chairman of the British India Corporation Limited, Kanpur, which is a joint stock company incorporated under the Indian Companies Act. He is being prosecuted under Sections 420, 471 and 467 I. P. C., in the court of Sri Maharaj Singh who has been appointed a Special Magistrate. His substantive designation is Additional District Magistrate of Lucknow.

3. Sri W. H. J. Christi was the Managing Director of the aforesaid Corporation. He lodged a report on 21-12-1957 to the Deputy Superintendent of Police who had been appointed under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (Act No. XXV of 1946). One Sri Gurdas Mal was the Deputy Superintendent of Police under the aforesaid Act and he filed a charge-sheet on 22-3-1958 under Sections 420, 467 and 471, I. P. C., in the Court of Sri Maharaj Singh in respect of offences alleged to have been committed by the applicant at Kanpur in connection with the aforesaid Corporation.

When the inquiry started, an application was made by the applicant in the Court of Sri Maharaj Singh Special Magistrate challenging his jurisdiction inter alia, on the ground that the Special Police Establishment had no power to investigate the case against the applicant, that the charge-sheet was not in accordance with law and the Court was not competent to take cognizance, that the appointment of Sri Maharaj Singh as a Special Magistrate to hold the inquiry against the applicant was illegal and ultra vires and was a deviation from the usual procedure, that the facts, if at all, disclosed a breach of the provisions of the Indian Companies Act and cognizance could not be taken by the Criminal courts and that on the facts disclosed no criminal offence had been made out and that the case was of a civil nature. The objections were repelled by the learned Magistrate by his order dated 3-6-1958.

4. The applicant went up in revision against that order and before the Sessions Judge the pleas taken before the Magistrate were reiterated and it was contended that the whole inquiry was illegal.

5. The grounds which were considered by the Sessions Judge, inter alia, were whether the investigation by the Special Police Establishment was valid, whether the Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 and its subsequent amendment were applicable to the State of Uttar Pradesh and whether the appointment of the Special Magistrate was ultra vires of the Constitution.

6. I have confined myself to the aforesaid three grounds only because the learned Counsel for the applicant had confined his arguments to these points alone and other points were not urged before me.

7. All the above three grounds were decided against the applicant and hence this application in revision.

8. The first point argued by the learned counsel for the applicant was that the investigation by Sri Gurdas Mal, Deputy Superintendent of Police of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Branch, was not legal and the report lodged by him before the Special Magistrate was also not in accordance with law.

9. This ground needs consideration of certain sections of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.

10. Originally, as the Preamble shows, the Act was for the constitution of a special police force for the Chief Commissioner's Province of Delhi for the purpose of investigation of certain offences committed in connection with matters concerning Departments of the Central Government, for the Superintendence and administration of the said force and for the extension to other areas in British India of the powers and jurisdiction of members of the said force in regard to the investigation of the said offences.

Section 2 provides the Constitution and powers of the Special Police Establishment with which I am not concerned in. this case. Section 3 authorises the Central Government to specify by notification offences which may be investigated by the Special Police Establishment. It was not challenged before me that so far as the present offences were concerned they could not be investigated by that Establishment.

The important sections are Sections 5 and 6. Section 5 gives powers to the Central Government to extend the powers and jurisdiction of the Special Police Establishment to areas other than the Province of Delhi. Section 5 reads as follows :

'5. (1) The Central Government may by order extend to any area (including Railway areas) in a Part A State or a Part B State the powers and jurisdiction of members of the Delhi Special Police Establishment for the investigation of any offence or classes of offences specified in a notification under Section 3.

(2) When by an order Sub-section (1) the powers and jurisdiction of members of the said police establishment are extended to any such area, a member thereof may, subject to any orders which the Central Government may make in this behalf, discharge the functions of a police officer in that area and shall, while so discharging such functions, be deemed to be a member of the police force of that area and be vested with the powers, functions and privileges and be subject to the liabilities of a police officer belonging to that police force.'

11. Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (No. XXV of 1946) as amended by the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Act 1952 (No. XXVI of 1952) read as follows :

'6. Nothing contained in Section 5 shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in a Part A State or a Part B State, not being a railway area without the consent of the Government of that State.''

12. In the trial Court, it appears, it was argued that there was no power to extend a central legislation to a State but that point was not argued before me. Thus there can be no doubt that if there is the consent of the Government of the State of Uttar Pradesh Sri Gurdas Mal could properly investigate the case.

13. The argument of the learned Counsel forthe applicant was that in order to have a properconsent the provisions of article 166 of the Constitution should have been fulfilled. Sub-article (1) ofArticle 166 provides :

'All executive action of the Government of a State shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the Governor.'

Sub-article (2) further provides :

'Orders and other instruments made and executed in the name of the Governor shall be authenticated in such manner as may be specified in rules, to be made by the Governor, and the validity of an order or instrument which is so authenticated shall not be called in question on the ground that it is not an order or instrument made or executed by the Governor.'

The consent of the State appears to have been communicated to the Government of India by means of two letters.

14. One is No. 453/VIII-483/56 dated the 19th February, 1957, which had been signed by Sri Altaf Hussain, Deputy Secretary to the Govt. of Uttar Pradesh to the Secretary, M.H.A., Home Department (Police A) and which is in the following words :

'Subject :--Sanction for the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.

'In continuation of this Government's letter No. 2GI/VIII-483/50, dated January 14, 1957, on the above subject, I am directed to say that the State Government have no objection to the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment in this State in respect of offences punishable under section of the Acts specified in the Ministry's Notification No. 7/5/55-ADV, dated November 6, 1956.'

15. The other letter is No. 154-GI/VIII-48.3/ 1956 dated the 8th March, 1957, which also had been sent by Sri Altaf Husain, Deputy Secretary to the Govt., Uttar Pradesh to the Secretary to the Govt. of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, (Administrative Vigilance Division) New Delhi and that was in the following words :

'Subject :--Consent of State Government to the functioning of the Special Police Establishment in the State.

'With reference to the Ministry's letter No. 6/45/56-ADV dated February 19, 1957, and in continuation of State Government's letter No. 483/ VIII-483/1956, dated February 19, 1957, on the above subject I am directed to say that the State Government have no objection to the function of the Delhi Special Police Establishment in this State even in respect of offences punishable under section of the Acts specified in the Ministry's Notification No. 7/1/57-ADV, dated February, 12, 1957.'

16. According to the argument of the learned Counsel for the applicant both these letters do not purport to have been expressed in the name of the Governor and it was contended that there should have been a strict compliance of Article 166 and if that has not been complied with, that consent is invalid and, therefore, the enforcement of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act to the State of Uttar Pradesh and the investigation made by Sri Gurdas Mal was void in law.

17. It was further argued that if the investigation by Sri Gurdas Mal was not in accordance with law then he could not be deemed to be a proper Police Officer in this State and he could not lodge a report under Section 190, Cr. P. C., before any Magistrate nor the Magistrate could take cognizance of the case on that report because it could not be deemed to be a report of a Police Officer. It could have been treated as a report by complaint or a third person under Clause (a) or (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 190; but in that case it was urged that the mode of trial would be different.

According to the amended Criminal Procedure Code Section 207-A would apply to the proceedings which had been instituted on a police report but if it is not a police report, a different procedure has to be followed and since in this case the procedure which has been followed is in accordance with Section 207-A, therefore, it was urged that the Court had erred in taking cognizance of the case on the basis of the report of Sri Gurdas Mal who was not, according to the applicant's contention, a proper Police Officer-(18) Relying on Shripad Amrit Dange v. Har-siddhbhai V. Divatia, AIR 1948 Bom 20 (A), it was contended that the provisions of Article 166 of the Constitution are not merely procedural. It is not a mere matter of form but one of substance. It emphasises the position of the Governor, as the executive head of the State. It lays down that the action of the Governor which is the executive action of the Government of the Province has got to be expressed to be taken in the name of the Governor, Hence according to the applicant the provisions are mandatory or imperative and disobedience of the same would nullify or invalidate any order or procedure which contravenes the same. That case was when Section 59 of the Government of India Act 1935 was in force, that is, before the Constitution, but the learned Counsel for the applicant urged that since the language of Section 50 is the same as now in Article 166, the observation of the Bombay case equally apply even today.

19. It was further argued relying on the same decision that in cases of imperative statutes, the disobedience of the provisions invalidates or nullifies the whole proceeding but non-compliance with the directory provisions does not entail such a consequence and therefore here the whole consent not having been in accordance with Article 166 it invalidates the extension of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act to the State of Uttar Pradesh.

On behalf of the State it had been argued that so far as the factum of the consent having been given by the Governor or by the Government is concerned, it had never been challenged by the applicant. It was not challenged in the trial Court as is apparent from the grounds on which the application had been made. It is further apparent from the judgments of both the courts below that no arguments were urged on the basis that actually no consent had been given.

In this Court also that fact was not challenged as a fact. The only objection raised by the applicant was that it had not been expressed in a proper form or in accordance with the provisions of Article 166. The learned Advocate-General contended that if it had been challenged as a question of fact, an affidavit from a responsible authority would have been given to show that actually consent had been obtained.

20. As regards tho question whether it has been properly expressed or not and whether the signature of the Deputy Secretary on that letter was enough or not, the State contended that there had been a substantial compliance of the rule. In Dattatrayn Moreshwar v. State of Bombay : 1952CriLJ955 , where the question involved was about the taking of an executive decision in connection with the Preventive Detention Act, it was observed ;

''But the Act is silent as to the form in which the executive decision, whether it is described as an order or an executive action, is to be taken. No particular form is prescribed by the Act at all and the requirements of the Act will be fully satisfied if it can be shown that the executive decision has in fact been taken.'

On the basis of this observation the argument was that since the factum of consent has not been challenged and even under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act no particular form is prescribed, the requirement of the Act had been complied with.

21. Learned Counsel for the applicant placed reliance on another observation in the same report where their Lordships have said :

'I agree that every executive decision need not be formally expressed and this, is particularly so when one superior officer directs his sub-ordinate to act or forbear from acting in a particular way, but when the executive decision affects an outsider or is required to be officially notified or to be communicated it should normally be expressed in the formmentioned in Article 166(1), i.e. in the name of the Governor'

The argument is that here, there can be no doubt, that the consent affects everybody whose case might he investigated by the Special Police Establishment appointed under that Act and, therefore it was to affect outsider and the notification should have been in strict terms as provided under Article 166(1).

22. In that decision itself their Lordships have said :

'It is well settled that generally speaking the provisions of a statute creating public duties are directory and those conferring private rights are imperative. When the provisions of a statute relate to the performance of a public duty and the case is such that to hold null and void acts done in neglect of this duty would work serious general inconvenience or injustice to persons who have no control over those entrusted with the duty and at the same time would not promote the main object of the legislature, it has been the practice of the Courts to hold such provisions to be directory only, the neglect of them not affecting the validity of the acts done.'

Later it was observed :

'Article 166 directs all executive action to be expressed and authenticated in the manner therein laid down but an omission to comply with those provisions does not render the executive action a nullity. Therefore, all that the procedure established by law requires is that the appropriate Government must take a decision as to whether the detention order should be confirmed or not under Section 11(1). That such a decision has been in fact taken by the appropriate Government is amply proved on the record. Therefore, there has been, in the circumstances of this case, no breach of the procedure established by law and the present detention of the petitioner cannot be called in question.'

Here, also it cannot be doubted that a decision has been arrived at in fact by the Government of Uttar Pradesh and, therefore, in my opinion there has been no breach of the procedure established by law.

23. In State of Bombay v. Purushottam Jog : 1952CriLJ1269 the meaning of the word 'Expressed'' had been given as follows :

'One of the meanings of 'expressed' is to make known the opinions or the feelings of a particular person and when a Secretary to Government apprehends a man and tells him in the order that it is being done under the order of the Governor, he is in substance saying that he is acting in the name of Governor and, on his behalf, is making known to the detenu the opinion and reelings and orders of the Governor, The Constitution does not require a magic incantation which can only be expressed in a set formula of words. What the Court has to see is whether the substance of the requirements of Article 166(1) is there.'

Here also the Deputy Secretary who is authorised under the rules framed under Article 166(2) has informed the Union Government that the State Government had no objection to the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment in the Uttar Pradesh and in my opinion when the Deputy Secretary says so on behalf of the State Government he says so in the name of the Governor.

24. In Joseph John v. State of Travaneore-Cochin : (1956)ILLJ235SC the order had been issued in the name of the Government as in the present case and had been signed by the Chief Secretary and it was held to be a substantial compliance of Article 166. It was observed :

'Clauses (1) and (2) of Article 166 are directory only and non-compliance with them does not resultin the order being invalid, and in order to determine whether there is compliance with these provisions all that is necessary to be seen is whether there has been substantial compliance with those requirements.'

it was further held that :

'The notice signed by the Chief Secretary of the State and expressed to be on behalf of the Government and giving opportunity to the petitioner to show cause against the action proposed to be taken against him was in substantial compliance with the provisions of the article.'

25. The State Government has also made rules under Article 166(2) of the Constitution according to which all orders or instruments are to be signed by either the Secretary, the Addilional Secretary, the Joint Secretary, the Deputy Secretary, the Additional Deputy Secretary, the Under Secretary, the Additional Under-Secretary, the Assistant Secretary or the Additional Assistant Secretary of the Government of Uttar Pradesh and such signature shall be deemed to be the proper authentication of such an order or instrument.

26. Then by Article 367 of the Constitution General Clauses Act of 1897 can be applied for the interpretation of the Constitution and Section 3(6) of the said Act has defined 'State Government' as meaning the Governor in Part A State. In my opinion the expression 'State Government' and 'the Governor' by virtue of the definition of 'State Government' given in the General Clauses Act can be used as synonymous and therefore if we substitute the word 'State Government' in the above two letters of the Deputy Secretary they would read as if the Deputy Secretary had been directed to say that the Governor had no objection to the functioning of the Delhi Special Police Establishment in this State. The order then would be in full compliance with the provisions of article 166.

27. Non-compliance with the requirements of Article 166 does not make the order invalid or would not make the consent disappear if it had already been given. If the article had been strictly complied with then it would give an immunity to the order and it could not be challenged in a court of law as provided under Clause (2) of Article 166; but if strict compliance has not been made then all that can be said is that the State cannot claim the resulting immunity but it cannot nullify the order itself. The manner of expression is usually a matter of form only.

If it was the intention of the Constitution makers that a rigid compliance with the form was essential to the validity of an Act they would have expressed it so. They have not provided in the Article that if it is not strictly complied with the order would be invalid. It has been held in : 1952CriLJ955 :

'In my opinion, Article 166 of the Constitution which purports to lay down the procedure for re-gulating business transacted by the Government of a State should be read as a whole. Under Clause (3), the Governor is to make rules for the more convenient transaction of such business and for allocation of the same among the Ministers in so far as it does not relate to matters in regard to which the Governor is required to act in his discretion.

It is in accordance with these rules that business has to be transacted. But whatever executive action is to be taken by way of an order or instrument, it shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the Governor in whom the executive power of the State is vested and it shall further be authenticated in the manner specified in the rules framed by the Governor. Clauses (1) and (2) of Article 166 in my opinion are to be read together.

Clause (1) cannot be taken separately as an independent mandatory provision detached from the provisions of Clause (2). While Clause (1) relates to the mode of expression of an 'executive order or instrument, Clause (2) lays down the way in which such order is to be authenticated and when both these forms are complied with, an order or instrument would be immuned from challenge in a Court of law on the ground that it has not been made or executed by the Governor of the State.'

28. Even, if for the sake of argument it be accepted that the extension of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act to the State of Uttar Pradesh was improper all that can he said is that the investigation by Sri Gurdas Mal was defective or illegal: but that in my opinion would not affect the investigation itself. Cognizance could still be taken by the Magistrate under Section 190 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

I need not give detailed reasons because so far as this matter is concerned it has been concluded by the decision of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in H. N. Rishbud v. State of Delhi : 1955CriLJ526 where in paragraph 9 their Lord-ships have considered the question whether and to what extent the trial which follows an illegal or defective investigation is vitiated. It was held therein :

'A defect or illegality in investigation, how--ever serious has no direct bearing on the competence or the procedure relating to cognisance or trial. No doubt a police report which results from an investigation is provided in Section 190, Cr. P. C. as the material on which cognizance is taken. But it cannot he maintained that a valid and legal police report is the foundation of the jurisdiction of the Court to take cognizance.

Section 190, Cr. P. C. is one out of a group of sections under the heading 'Conditions requisite for initiation of proceedings.' The languageof this section is in marked contrast with that of the other sections of the group under the same heading i.e. Sections 193 and 195 to 199.'

Thereafter considering the effect of Section 190 and also Section 537, Cr. P. C. the Supreme Court came to the conclusion :

'If, therefore, cognizance is in fact taken, on a police report vitiated by the breach of a mandatory provision relating to investigation, there can be no doubt that the result of the trial which follows it cannot be set aside unless the illegality in the investigation can be shown to have brought about a miscarriage of justice. That an illegality committed in the course of investigation does not affect the competence and the jurisdiction of the Court for trial is well settled as appears from the cases in Parbhu v. Emperor , and Lumbhardar Zutshi v. The King AIR 1950 PC 26 (G).'

In the present case no arguments have been urged as to how the petitioner had been prejudiced by the investigation having been made by Sri Gurdas Mal instead of having been made by a police officer of the circle in which the offence is said to have-been committed. After all the work of the investi-gating officer is only the collection of evidence and his report is in no way part of the evidence in the case. Whether that evidence has been collected by one officer or the other it cannot prejudice the accused.

29. It was further contended by the learned Counsel for the applicant that the Magistrate could take cognizance on a report of a police officer only who was entitled to make investigation under Section 156 Cr. P. C., and it is not the report of any other police officer on whose report he can takecogjnizance, According to the learned Counsel's argument it is only an officer in charge of a police station, who can, without the order of a Magistrate, investigate any cognizable offence within his station arid the other police officer could not do it and the police officer mentioned in Section 190 is the same police officer as contemplated in Section 156.

I am unable to agree with this contention. It was also argued that if it is not a report of a police officer then it could only be a report of a third person or a complainant and cognizance would be taken by the Magistrate under Sub-clause (a) or (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 190 and in that case the procedure would be entirely different. I am unable to agree with the contention of the learned Counsel for the applicant also.

The words used in Clause (b) of Sub-section (1) of Section 190 are 'any police officer'. It does not confine to the police officer, who might have investigated under Section 156 and the word 'any' is comprehensive enough to include a report lodged by a police officer other than the police officer, who could make investigation under Section 156.

Many a time there are special officers who are deputed to make investigation in complicated cases which are likely to take considerable time and who are not officers in charge of a police station and they investigate the case and if they file a report before a competent Magistrate, he would be entitled to take cognizance.

There cannot be any doubt that Sri Gurdas Mal was a police officer and even if he was not entitled to make the investigation his report would be a competent report on the basis of which the Magistrate could take cognizance under Section 190 (1) (b).

30. Considering the facts and the law as discussed above I am of opinion that the provisions of Article 166 are only directory and not mandatory or imperative, that if the order is not expressed in strict compliance of Article 166, it is not invalid or void; it may need proof, and it may be vulnerable and could be challenged, and in that event, it can-not claim immunity granted to it by Article 166(2), but what the Constitution requires is substantial compliance of the provisions and not a literal one, that the consent given in the letter of the Deputy Secretary Sri Altaf Husain was substantial compliance of the provisions of the Constitution and, therefore, the extension of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act cannot be questioned, that the appointment and thereafter the investigation and me lodging of the report by Sri Gurdas Mal was valid in law, that even if the extension of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act be considered as invalid Sri Gurdas Mal could still be a police officer and he could lodge a report under Section 190 (2) and that the defect or illegality in the investigiation even if it be considered serious, does not in any way affect the jurisdiction of the Magistrate to take cognizance. Therefore, there is no force in the first argument.

31. The second argument on behalf of the applicant was to the effect that the trial should have taken place at Kanpur as provided by Section 177 Cr. P. C. It was argued that Section 177 fixes the place of trial and except as provided in the following sections or by virtue of Section 526, Cr. P. C. if there be a transfer only that Court has jurisdiction in which the offence has been committed.

Reliance was placed on the heading of the section which says 'Ordinary place of inquiry and trial.' It is true that in the heading it has been mentioned that Section 177 deals with the ordinary place of trial but the section itself does not say so. It actually gives jurisdiction to a Court as the sec-tion says, 'Every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction it was committed.'

Thus it is the Court within whose jurisdiction an offence is committed that can try but where that Court will sit has not been mentioned therein and, therefore if a Magistrate has been invested with the power to try cases in the local area where the offence has been committed he could try the case irrespective of the place of his sitting'. Section 177 has reference to the Court and not to the place of sittings.

Subject to the consideration of the argument on the next point if Sri Maharaj Singh has properly been invested with the power of trying cases fin the whole of the State of Uttar Pradesh he would be a Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the offence was committed because the offence was committed at Kanpur which would be within the Province of Uttar Pradesh over which Sri Maharaj Singh would be exercising his jurisdiction. If the appointment of Sri Maharaj Singh is improper the question would not be that he cannot try under Section 177 but he would otherwise be not competent to try.

32. It may further be noticed that the word used in Section 177 is 'Ordinarily' which according to the Oxford Dictionary means 'regular; normal; customary; usual; not exceptional,' Thus it does not take away the jurisdiction of any other Magjistrate to try a case if he could otherwise, do under any other competent order. From the very wording of Section 177 it is clear that it does not give exclusive jurisdiction to any Magistrate, nor does it say that the exclusion is only as contemplated in the sections following Section 177.

33. No objection can be taken by the accused if Sri Maharaj Singh has jurisdiction over Kanpur, where this offence has been committed, if he sits at Lucknow. It was not necessary for him even to sit within his own jurisdiction.

As a matter of course, every Sub-Divisional Magistrate sits at the head-quarters and does not sit within his own local limits and no objection has ever been raised or could be raised that the trial by the Magistrate at the head-quarters which is outside the jurisdiction of every Magistrate in charge of a Sub-Division except the one who is in charge of the Sub-Division of the headquarters, is vitiated on the ground of the place of sitting.

Therefore, in my opinion Sri Maharaj Singh would be (entitled to hold his Court anywhere within his jurisdiction and it is not necessary for him to hold Court within the local limits where the offence has been committed. In a particular case for the sake of convenience if the State Government has by its notification prescribed that he will sit at Lucknow that order cannot be challenged.

After all if a Special Magistrate has been appointed he would have to be provided with office and place of holding his Court and that order of the Government would be in the nature of an administrative order and cannot legally be challenged,

34. The third point argued by the learned Counsel for the applicant was that Section 14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is hit by Article 14 of the Constitution. It was argued that it is clothed in very wide language and has vested an arbitrary and absolute discretion in the State Government to confer the powers of a Magistrate in respect of particular casts or a particular class of cases or in regard to cases generally.

It has not given any reasonable classification on the basis of which the Magistrate could be given power to try cases. By this section the State Government can easily discriminate between one personwhose case it might send to a Special Magistrate singling him out from others, whose cases would be tried by other Magistrates and reliance was placed on the decision of the Supreme Court in State of West Bengal v. Anwar Ali : 1952CriLJ510 , wherein the West Bengal Special Courts Act was declared ultra vires the Constitution on the ground that it was in conflict with Article 14 of the Constitution.

The provisions of Section 5 (1) of the said Act allowed the State Government to direct any case to be tried by the Special Court and it was argued that this case is very much similar. Here also a single case has been directed to be tried by a Special Magistrate.

His contention was that if there had been a reasonable classification of the persons for legislative purpose and if it dealt with equally with all persons belonging to a well defined class, it would not have been open to a charge of the denial of equal protection on the ground that the law does not apply to other persons, but in the present case there is singling out of an individual on no classification. Learned Counsel further urged that it was not necessary for him to show that the law had been hostile to him and he placed reliance on the following observations of Mukherjea, J., in the above case :

'If a legislation is discriminatory and discriminates one person or class of persons against others similarly situated and denies to the former the privileges that are enjoyed by the latter, it cannot but be regarded as 'hostile' in the sense that it affects injuriously the interests of that person or class. Of course, if one's interests are not at all affected by a particular piece of legislation, he may have no right to complain.

But if it is established that the person complaining has been discriminated against as a result of legislation and denied equal privileges with others occupying the same position, I do not think that it is incumbent upon him, before he can claim relief on the basis of his fundamental rights, to assert and prove that in making the law, the legislature was actuated by a hostile or inimical intention against a particular person or class.'

35. I think so far as the question whether Section 14 has been hit by article 14 of the Constitution is concerned it has, for my purposes, been finally decided by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in M. K. Gopalan v. State of M. P. : 1954CriLJ1012 , and if will be futile for me to discuss that point any further after the enunciation of the law by their Lordships of the Supreme Court.

In that case the validity of the prosecution was challenged only on the ground that Section 14 Cr. P. C., in so far as it authorised the Provincial. Government to confer upon any person all or any of the powers conferred or conferrable by or under the Code on a Magistrate of the first, second or third class in respect of particular cases and thereby it constituted a Special Magistrate for the trial of an individual case, violated the guarantee under Article 14 of the Constitution.

In that case also learned Counsel for the petitioner had relied on the observations made in the case of : 1952CriLJ510 , but their Lordships distinguished that case and held :

'That decision, however, applied only to a case where on the allotment of an individual case to a special court authorised to conduct the trial by a procedure substantially different from the normal procedure, discrimination arises as between persons who have committed similar offences, by one or more out of them being subjected to a procedure, which is materially different from the normal procedure and prejudicing them thereby.''

After distinguishing the above case they came to the conclusion :

'In the present case, the Special Magistrate under Section 14 of the Criminal Procedure Code has to try the case entirely under the normal procedure and no discrimination of the kind contemplated by the decision in : 1952CriLJ510 , and the other cases following it arises here. A law vesting discretion in an authority under such circumstances cannot be said to be discriminatory as such, and is therefore not hit by Article 14 or the Constitution. There is, therefore no substance in this contention.'

36. In the case before me also trial would be under normal procedure except that the Magistrate instead of being some ordinary Magistrate of Kanpur it is Sri Maharaj Singh who would be trying the case at Lucknow. Except in the person of the Magistrate there is absolutely no deviation from the procedure under which the applicant will be tried here.

The same kind of inquiry will be held and thereafter if the Magistrate finds that there is a prima facie case made out he would commit the case to the court of Session under the ordinary law, which will again try the case under the normal procedure. Learned Counsel for the applicant has further argued that there has been a deviation in the procedure inasmuch as the case instead of being tried at Kanpur will be tried at Lucknow. In my opinion that is not a deviation in the procedure at all. It is only where the Court will sit. There is no inherent light in an accused to ask that the Court should sit at a particular place or in a particular building. In case the place does not suit him it would be open to him on the grounds of convenience to ask for the transfer of the place of sitting but he cannot on that ground say that any right of his has been affected.

Even in : 1952CriLJ510 , their Lordships had said that if he had been denied equal 'privilege then he would have a right to complain.' It could not be said in my opinion that the accused had a 'privilege'' of being tried at Kanpur and Kanpur alone. In considering whether in any way the privileges had been affected and thereby Article 14 has been hit it is to be considered whether the chances of a fair and! impartial trial have been imperilled.

37. Learned Counsel for the applicant cited Bidi Supply Co. v. Union of India : [1956]29ITR717(SC) , and placed great reliance on the following observations made in that case :

'The income-tax authorities have by an executive order, unsupported by law, picked out thispetitioner and transferred all his cases by an omni-us order unlimited in point of time. This order is calculated to inflict considerable inconvenience and harassment on the petitioner.

Its books of account will have to be produced before the Income-Tax Officer, Special Circle, Ranchi, a place hundreds of miles from Calcutta, which is its place of business. Its partners or principal officers will have to be away from the head office for a considerable period neglecting the main business of the firm.

There may be no suitable place where they can put up during that period. There will certainly be extra expenditure to be incurred by it by way of railway fare, freight and hotel expenses. Therefore the reality of the discrimination cannot be gainsaid.'

Here too it was urged that the ordinary place of business of the Corporation is at Kanpur and the case having been transferred to Lucknow the above observations equally apply and, therefore, it wascontended that the reality of the discrimination cannot be gain-said.

38. In Parma Lal Binjraj v. Union of India : [1957]1SCR233 , to which case I would refer presently, their Lordships had clearly made out that they did not consider it necessary, for the purpose of Bidi case (J), to pause to consider whether the constitutionality of Sub-section (7-A) of Section 5 could he supported on the principle of any reasonable classification laid down by the Supreme Court or whether Act laid down any principle for guiding or regulating the exercise of discretion by the Commissioner or Board of Revenue-or whether the sub-section confers an unguided and arbitrary power on those authorities to pick and choose individual assessee and place that assessee at a disadvantage in comparison with other asses-sees.

39. The facts of this case are different from the facts of the above case. In : [1956]29ITR717(SC) , the assessee's case was transferred from Calcutta to Ranchi from one State to another, hundreds of miles away, and the office of the petitioner there was at Calcutta. In the present case the distance between Lucknow and Kanpur is not such that there can be any disadvantage of that nature. There is regular railway and motor transport service and people from one city to another can easily come and go back in the day.

The office of the petitioner is not also alleged to be at Kanpur. It is true that the petitioner is. the Chairman of the Corporation but it is the prosecuting agency in the present case which would have to bring the necessary account-books and documents in order to prove the case against the applicant, if there is any, from Kanpur to Lucknow. Nothing has been shown as to how the petitioner in the present case would suffer. Therefore, I do not think that the learned Counsel for the applicant can place much reliance considering the facts of the case on : [1956]29ITR717(SC) .

40. The case of : [1957]1SCR233 , was also a case challenging the validity of Section 5 Sub-section (7-A) of the Income Tax Act and it was held in that case that it did not violate Article 14 of the Constitution and did not impose any unreasonable restrictions on the fundamental right to carry on trade or business enshrined in Article 19(1)(g) or the Constitution. Under Section 5 (7-A) it was open to Income-Tax authorities to single out a case for the purpose of administrative convenience.

In this case also Section 5 (7-A) was attacked because it had given unguided and arbitrary powers to transfer any case from one Income-Tax Officer to another without any limitation in point of time, a power which was unguided, uncontrolled and discriminatory in its nature and it was open to the Commissioner of Income-tax or the Central Board of Revenue to pick out the case of one asses-see from those of others in a like situation and transfer the case from one State to another or from one end of India to the other without specifying any object and without giving any reason, thus subjecting a particular assessee to discriminatory treatment.

Reliance was also placed on the decision of : [1956]29ITR717(SC) , which was distinguished by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the latter case because the question as to the constitutionality of Section 5 (7-A) of that Act was left open and the decision in the earlier case turned merely on the construction of the impugned order;

41. On behalf of the petitioner in that case reliance had been placed on the case of : 1952CriLJ510 , and the argument on behalf of theState was that the provision contained in that section was a measure of administrative convenience enacted with a view to more conveniently and effectively deal with the cases of the assessees where the Commissioner of Income-tax considered necessary or desirable to transfer any case from one Income-tax Officer subordinate to him to another.

It was further contended that the assessee whose case was thus transferred was not subjected to any discriminatory procedure in the matter of Ills assessment. The assessment would be made under the same procedure with the same right of appeal to the appellate authority and approach to the High Court and ultimately to the Supreme Court as provided in the Act, that Section 64 (1) and (2) of the Income tax Act did not give absolute right to an assessee to be assessed, at a particular place but it was circumscribed by the exigencies of tax collection and could be negatived as it had been in cases before the Commissioner of Income-tax, and that the power which was thus vested was not discretionary power and was not necessarily discriminatory in its nature and further that the abuse of the power was not to be easily assumed where discretion is vested in such high officials of the State.

It was further contended that even if the abuse of the power may sometimes occur, the validity of the provision could not be contested because of such an apprehension.

42. After considering the arguments and the cases cited by both the parties his Lordship Bhag-wati, J. came to the conclusion :

'It is further to be noted that the infringement of such a right by the order of transfer under Section 5 (7-A) of the Act is not a material infringement. It is only a deviation of a minor character from the general standard and does not necessarily involve a denial of equal rights for the simple reason that even after such transfer the case is dealt with under the normal procedure which is prescribed in the Act.

The production and investigation of the books of account the enquiries to be made by the Income-tax Officer and the whole of the procedure as to assessment including the further appeals after the assessment is made by the Income-tax Officer are the same in a transferred case as in others which Remain with the Income-tax Officer of the area in which the other assessees reside or carry on business. There is thus no differential treatment and no scope for the argument that the particular assessee is discriminated against with reference to others similarly situated.'

Their Lordships of the Supreme Court also accented the contention urged on behalf of the State that a provision of this kind permitting transfer of a case was a provision for administrative convenience. In the present case also there does not appear to me to be any variation in procedure, if the trial had been ordered to take place at Lucknow instead of at Kanpur.

Here also it appears to have been partly on the administrative ground. The cases which have been investigated by the Delhi Special Police Establishment are eases of some importance and possibly they have been entrusted to a senior Magistrate instead of being given to a junior Magistrate who would be in charge of a sub-division.

An experieneed Magistrate would be in a better position to deal with these cases. It is not only the case of the present applicant which has been sent for trial to Sri Maharaj Singh but there are 12 other cases which also have been referred to him. They are also the cases which have been investigated by the Delhi Special Police Establishment.

43. On behalf of the State reliance was also placed on the decision in Babu Ram v. State : AIR1958All838 . That was a case in which the constitutionality of Section 193 (2) was challenged on the ground that the power given to the Sessions Judge to send cases to an Additional Sessions Judge or to an Assistant Sessions Judge was absolutely vested without any classification and it was contended that there could be discrimination because there would be different right of appeal.

The case had originally come before me sitting as a single Judge. Since a question of law had arisen about the constitutionality of that section on the ground of Article 14, I had referred it to a Bench of two Judges. The Bench had come to the conclusion that Section 193 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure was not hit by Article 14 of the Constitution and was not ultra vires.

If Section 193 is not ultra vires, much less can be Section 14 because in sending the case to an Additional Sessions Judge or to an Assistant Sessions Judge the right to appeal of the applicant is affected and if that right of appeal is not considered an important deviation in procedure much less can it be said that mere transfer of place of sitting could amount to a deviation in procedure.

44. Under the circumstances I am of opinion that the provisions of Section 14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are not discriminatory and are not affected by Article 14 of the Constitution.

45. The last point argued by the learned Counsel for the applicant was that under Section 14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure it was not open to the State Government to appoint a Special Magistrate for the whole, of Uttar Pradesh. They could appoint a Magistrate only for a sub-division or a district and it was contended that the words 'any local area' could never mean the whole of Uttar Pradesh and consequently it was contended that in any event even if the Magistrate had been appointed for the whole of Uttar Pradesh the Local Government had no right to direct the Special Magistrate to sit at a particular place. The Magistrate should have tried the case within the local jurisdiction of the area where the offence had been committed as provided under Section 177.

46. It was argued that the meaning of the words 'any local area' could not be the whole of the State of Uttar Pradesh because then the difficulty would come in as to under whom he would work. It was argued that Section 17(1), Cr. P. C., provides :

'All Magistrates appointed under Sections 12, 13 and 14 and all benches constituted under Section 15 shall be subordinate to the District Magistrate and he may, from time to time, make rules or give special orders consistent with this Code as to the distribution of business among such Magistrates and Benches.'

47.If a Magistrate appointed under Section 14 was to be subordinate to a District Magistrate then his powers could not exceed beyond a district. As in the present case, if the Magistrate had been appointed for all the 52 districts of the State under whom will ho be deemed to be subordinate under Section 17? No doubt, there is likely to be some anomaly at times, but it is always open to the State Government to make notifications about the Officer under whom the Special Magistrate would work. This question came up before a learned Single Judge of this Court in Lalta Prasad v. State : AIR1952All70 . It was held:

'The expression 'local area' is wide enough to include the entire State. However, the Code contemplates the appointment of a Special Magistratehaving jurisdiction within the entire district or a certain area within it.'

As regards the position about his being subordinate the learned Single Judge has observed :

'It is possible that the same person may have conferred on him magisterial powers with respect to cases arising within an area of several districts as well, but in that case he will combine in himself the offices of a Special Magistrate in each district', though as a Special Magistrate for each district he will have a distinct personality. Therefore, the Government can confer magisterial powers on a person in the entire area of the State but the Magistrate would be considered to be a distinct Special Magistrate for each district.' I respectfully agree with the observations of my brother Dayal, J. that the expression 'local area' is wide enough and would include even the entire State; but I am doubtful about the observation that that Special Magistrate would have a distinct personality in different districts. But it is not necessary for me in this case to answer that question.

That is a matter only of an administrative nature. It is important to note that Section 14 before coming into force of the Constitution started with the words 'Local Government' instead of 'State Government'. Thus the meaning of 'Local Government' was the Government of Uttar Pradesh and if Local Government meant Uttar Pradesh, 'local area' could also mean the entire state.

The word 'local' in my opinion means any specified area which may be specified in the order. If the meaning of 'local area' was only to confine it to areas within a district then there was no necessity of Section 14. The Magistrates could have been appointed under Section 12; they could also be called as Magistrates of that area. It was contended on behalf of the applicant that Section 12 referred to stipendiary Magistrates while Section 14 was meant for Honorary Magistrates who are appointed.

I do not see any difference why Honorary Magistrates could not have been appointed under Section 12. Thus, in my opinion, the Local Government has full power to appoint a Magistrate for the whole of Uttar Pradesh.

48. The question whether the Government had the power to direct the Special Magistrate to sit at Lucknow or not, is a question which also came up for consideration before a Bench of this Court in Ibadat Husain v. State of U. P. : AIR1956All448 , where the Bench held :

'The executive power of the Governor which is vested in him by Article 154 includes the superintendence, direction and control of the Civil Government of the State, and it is within the ambit of this power that the Governor may direct at what place or places the officers of Government shall perform their duties, including the place or places at which a Special Magistrate shall exercise powers conferred upon him by a notification under Section 14, Criminal Procedure Code.'

It was further held :

'The provisions of Section 16 of the Code are in no way inconsistent with this view as that section is concerned only with the power to frame rules.'

48a. The observations contrary to the above decision made by the learned Single Judge in : AIR1952All70 , were held to be obiter.

49. Thus I think that the State Government had full power to appoint Sri Maharaj Singh and the notification No. 794/VI-597-58, dated March 9, 1958, appointing, Sri Maharaj Singh a Magistrate of the first class and the Additional District Magistrate (J), Lucknow, as a Special Magistrate for the whole of Uttar Pradesh for a period of two years from the date of this notification and conferring onhim the powers to inquire into, try or commit for trial the case of the Special Police Establishment, Government of India, against Sri Hari Das Mun-dhra, Chairman of the British India Corporation Ltd., Kanpur and Chairman of Messrs. Richardson and Cruddas Ltd., 12 Old Court House Street, Calcutta, under Section 420, I. P. C., Section 471, I. P. C., read with Section 467, I. P. C., and further directing him to hold his Court as a Special Magistrate at Lucknow was a legal and valid order.

50. The appointment of the Special Magistrate and permitting investigation by police officers other than the police officer in charge of a sub-division was also challenged on the ground of propriety. It was argued that if more than one person are permitted to investigate or more than one Magistrate is entitled to try cases there could be duplicate trials.

So far as the investigation is concerned the applicant cannot complain 'but if there are duplicate trials certainly he can ask the Court to stay one of the proceedings. There cannot possibly be two prosecutions as provided under article 20, Clause (2) of the Constitution nor can there be two convictions as Section 403, Cr. P. C., would be a bar.

51. On the ground of propriety or the difficulty it was argued as to who would be the Sessions Judge to whom the Special Magistrate would commit the case in case he finds that there is a prima facie case against the applicant. If he was a Magistrate for the whole of Uttar Pradesh he could send the case to any Sessions Judge and that, according to the learned Counsel for the applicant, would be ridiculous.

In any event, the case having arisen out of the incident at Kanpur the Special Magistrate could easily send this case to the Sessions Judge of Kanpur or since he is sitting at Lucknow he could commit the case to the Court of Session at Lucknow. On account of that difficutly it was urged that the legislature could never have thought of having a Magistrate for an area bigger than the jurisdiction of any Sessions Judge. Under Section 178 of the Code of Criminal Procedure the State Government has been given power to order cases to be tried in different Sessions divisions and it provides :

'Notwithstanding anything contained in section 177 the State Government may direct that any cases or class of cases committed for trial in any district may be tried in any sessions division.'

Acting under that power the State Government has issued a notification No. 2533/VI-1694-50, dated October 5, 1951, which reads as follows :

'In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 178 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 (Act V of 1898), the Governor is pleased to order that all Special Police Establishment cases committed to the Court of Session in any district in Uttar Pradesh shall be tried in the Lucknow Sessions Division.'

Undcr Sub-section (2) of Section 193 of the same Code, the Governor was further pleased to order that the Sessions Judge of Lucknow was to be Additional Sessions judge for all other Sessions Divisions in Uttar Pradesh. Thus after the above notification there seems to be no difficulty. The Sessions Judge of Lucknow would be the Sessions Court where the case would be committed by the Special Magistrate.

52. My conclusion, therefore, is that there isno force in this petition and the petition is dismissed. The stay order is discharged.


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