1. On 31st May, 1960 Station Officer Nasirabad, district Rae Bareli submitted a report to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate Saion reporting that as usual the Urs fair was to be held from 1-6-1960 to 6-6-1960 at the Dargah Sharif situate at Jais, police station Nasirabad and that there was an apprehension of a breach of the peace in regard to the offerings made at the Dargah in connection with this Urs. This report for action under Section 145 of the Code at Criminal Procedure was submitted to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, who, on perusing the report, was satisfied of the existence of an apprehension of a breach of the peace and passed an order under Section 145 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure on 2-6-1960. in view of the emergency, the learned Sub-Divisional Magistral' further directed that the said Dargah Sharif along with cash, sweets and other offerings be attached and placed in the custody of five reliable persons who were directed to keep accounts of tna property and the donations received at the Urs.
2. This order was complied with on 3rd June, 1960 and the attachment was made in the presence of the parties concerned and persons named in the attachment report. Five persons named in the report were appointed Supurdars. This attachment order does not indicate from whose possession the property was attached. Proceedings were then taken in the Court of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate concerned and two persons were added as parties on their applications dated 13-6-1960 and 29-7-1960 respectively. On 30-6-1960 the Sub-Divisional Magistrate tinany withdrew the attachment. The order reads:
'In view of this consideration, I withdraw the attachment order passed on 2-5-1960 in respect of the subject of dispute and the S. 0. Nasirabad is, accordingly, directed hereby to give back the attached property in the possession from whose custody it was attached.'
He also discharged the Supurdars and directed them to submit accounts. The order releasing the property was accordingly sent to the Station Officer, Nasirabad and was endorsed to the Head Constable of the outpost. The Station Officer Nasirabad endorsed the order to the Head Constable in charge of the police outpost stating therein that the police had not taken the Dargah Sharif in possession from any party but had attached it in the presence of the parties who were claiming possession. He directed that the Supurdars be discharged and if there was any likelihood or any breach of the peace, action under sections 107 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure be considered.
3. Against the order of the Magistrate dated 30-6-1961 a revision application was filed in the court of the Sessions Judge, Rae Bareli by Srimati Kaniz Fatima urging that there was no written statement by either party on the record, no documentary or oral evidence to warrant any conclusion as regards ownership of the attached property, that on receipt of the file from the High Court a further report as regards the existence of an apprehension of a breach of the peace was called for which was not justified inasmuch as the property being in the possession of the receivers neither party could dare commit any breach of the peace and that on 30th June, 1961 the petitioner requested that the proceedings under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure be continued but the learned Magistrate on receipt of the police report dropped the proceedings. The grounds taken in the revision application Were that the Sub-Divisional Magistrate was wrong in dropping the proceedings under Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure, that the Magistrate was wrong in releasing the property in favour of the person from whose possession it was attached as this amounted to a delegation of his powers which was not contemplated by Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and that after dropping the proceedings under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Magistrate was empowered only to pass incidental orders and could not direct in whose favour the property was to be released. This revision application was disposed of by the learned sessions Judge by his order dated 24-11-1961. It was contended that the order of the Magistrate amounted to a delegation of powers to the Station Officer and this was illegal. The learned Sessions Judge held that all that Magistrate had done was that instead of making it clear in his order as to who was the person to whom the property was to be returned he left it to the Station Officer to return the property to him and that this did not amount to any illegality. The learned Sessions Judge appears to have been under the impression that the memorandum of attachment (Fard Qurqi) dated 3-6-1960 would indicate the persons from whose possession the property was attached. He accordingly rejected the revision application.
4. Now Srimatk Kaniz Fatima has filed the present revision application. The application came up before one of us and has been referred to a Division Bench. That is how the matter is before us.
5. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties. The contentions before us are (1) that after dropping the proceedings under Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure the Magistrate became functus officio and he had no right even to pass any incidental order. We may indicate that this was not the stand taken before the courts below and that even in the revision application stress was laid on the delegation of the authority and the right of the Magistrate to pass an incidental order was not really questioned and (2) that the Magistrate could not have delegated his judicial powers of ascertaining the names of the persons from whose possession the property was attached by the Station Officer, Nasirabad.
6. A number of rulings have been cited before us and we would like to consider them straightway.
7. The earliest decision of this court on which reliance is placed is the decision of Agarwala, J. in the case of Rajdeo Singh v. Emperor : AIR1948All425 . In this case the application under Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure was dismissed in default and the property was directed to be released. Thereupon both the parties appliea for release of the attached property in their favour and the learned Magistrate, without taking any further evidence, directed release of the property in favour of the respondent. The learned Judge discussing the position held:
'It is obvious that the Magistrate is functus officio and has no jurisdiction thereafter to decide the claim of the parties as to the fact of possession of one or the other of the parties over the subject-matter of the dispute: Mahomed Ali v. Shamsul Haq, AIR 1940 Sind 33 and Jam Bhambho Khan v. Makhdum Muhammad Hassan, ILR (1942) Kar 120 : (AIR 1942 Sind 117). Still, since the attached property is in his possession he must make some order with regard to its disposal. On' this point there appears to be a difference of opinion. One view is that the Magistrate has no power to make any order as to the disposal of the property in favour of any party. According to this view, the proper order to pass in such a case is that the attachment shall continue until the question of title has been decided by the Civil Courts: Daljit Singh v. Tej Singh, ILR 15 Luck 19 : (AIR 1939 Oudh 284); Dashrath v. Tarachand, AIR 1925 Nag 297; Karimuddi Fakir v. Naimuddi Kaviraj, 3 Cal LJ 573 and Narasayya v. Venkiah, ILR 49 Mad 232 : (AIR 1925 Mad 1252). Another view is that the Magistrate has no jurisdiction to pass an order that the land in dispute should continue under attachment and that he should direct that the property should be handed over to the party from whose possession it was attached : Sattaya v. Sankara : AIR1928Mad859 and ILR (1942) Kar 120 : (AIR 1942 Sind 117) .......'
Then recording his own conclusion the learned judge statea in paragraph 8:
'To my mind when proceedings are dropped under Sub-section (5), on the ground that there never existed a dispute likely to cause a breach of the peace the Magistrate's jurisdiction to act under the provisions of Section 145, altogether ends, and as such he can only pass an incidental order relating to the attached property. It he enters into a minute examination as to the claims of the respective parties regarding the fact of actual possession on the date of the initial order he will be doing precisely what he is not empowered to do. Therefore, proceedings having been dropped there is no question of his taking any evidence as to who was in possession on the date of the preliminary order. If the record shows that the property was attached from the possession of a certain party, the Magistrate must be deemed to have inherent jurisdiction to restore possession of the property to that party. By doing so, he will be restoring the status quo ante. If, however, the record does not show this, then the only alternative for him is to pass an order that the attachment of the property should be lifted without saying in whose favour the release was to be effected, if the lifting of the attachment creates a danger to the breach of the peace, the Magistrate can start fresh proceedings under Section 145 (1). It is only in the case of sale proceeds of crops, in deposit in court, that the Magistrate will direct that they will so remain in deposit till tne claim of any party is declared by a competent civil Court.'
The attention of the learned Judge does not appear to have been drawn to the provisions of Section 517 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
8. The next case of this Court is Sheo Mangal Singh v. Maharaj Kuar : AIR1949All285 . It was therein held that the Magistrate had no power strictly speaking to order release of the property under Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure. However, he had power under Section 517 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to pass orders regarding disposal of property which had come into the custody of the court. Then the learned Judge held that the Magistrate should have held an inquiry allowing the parties an opportunity to produce evidence as to the person who was in possession of the property.
9. The only Division Bench, case, to which our attention has been drawn, is the case of Ganga Dhar v. Slate : AIR1952All580 . In that case, however, the question before the Bench was slightly different. The Bench, however, referred to the decision of Agarwala, J. in Raj Deo Singh's case : AIR1948All425 (supra), and appears on the whole to have approved of that decision. As indicated earlier, the question before the Bench, however, was different and the Bench held that the jurisdiction of the Magistrate under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure depends upon the continued likelihood of a breach of the peace. As regards the order of the Magistrate directing one of the parties to remain in possession until evicted therefrom, it was held that the Magistrate having entered into a minute examination of the evidence and having ordered one party to remain in possession, the order was not a mere order of release and the Magistrate had exercised jurisdiction not vested in him.
10. In the case of Dulia v. State : AIR1953All341 , Beg, J. was of opinion that as there was no likelihood of a breach of the peace, the Magistrate had no jurisdiction to go through the entire gamut of procedure prescribed under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for the purpose of determining in whose favour the release order should be passed. It is not necessary to consider this decision in any greater detail as in a subsequent decision Beg, J. has expressed the view that there was no Teal conflict between the view expressed by him and the view taken by Agarwala, J. in the case cited earlier.
11. Our attention was next drawn to the decision of dam Lal Singh v. State, 1954 AM U 425. The view expressed by Agarwala, J. in Raj Deo Singh's case : AIR1948All425 (supra), was on the whole accepted as correct and it was held that if there were no materials on the record to indicate the person from Whose possession the property was attached, the Magistrate could not proceed further and take evidence in order to decide the question of possession. The provisions of Section 517 of the Code of Criminal Procedure were again not referred to.
12. In the same volume are reported two other cases, Shiva Nand Misra v. State, 1954 All LJ 608, and Data Ram v. Hari Singh, 1954 All LJ 610. The first of these is again a decision of Asthana, J. and does not, as far as we can see, take the matter any further. The decision in the case of Raj Deo Singh : AIR1948All425 (supra), has been substantially followed. In the latter case of Data Ram, Roy, J., however, indicated that if the order under Section 145 Sub-clause (5) is passed after evidence has been taken and if the evidence of the applicants under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure shows that the property was attached from the possession of the opposite party, the Magistrate must be deemed to have inherent jurisdiction to restore possession of the property to that party. By doing so, he will be restoring status quo ante. The view expressed by Agarwala, J. appears to have been substantially followed. It was held that while the Magistrate had no-jurisdiction to enter into a minute examination as to the claims of the respective parties regarding the fact of actual possession, he could pass an incidental order considering all the evidence already on the record, thereby elucidating the phrase 'material on the record' used in the decision of Raj Deo Singh : AIR1948All425 (supra). Still another decision reported in the same volume is Murru v. State : AIR1955All95 . This reiterates the decision of Roy, J. cited above and lays down :
'All that he (the Magistrate) can do thereafter is to order delivery of possession of the attached property it there is already something on the record to indicate as to who was in possession of the property when it was attached by the police ...... The Magistrate is not entitled to decide as to who was in possession and then direct delivery of possession to him. He should simply withdraw the attachment, or if there is some moveable property in the custody of the court or of the police, he should allow it to remain under attachment till tne parties established their claim to it.'
Another decision by Roy, J. is Bal Krishna v. Baij Natn, 1955 All WR (HC) 8 (1). After terminating the proceedings under Section 145 and withdrawing the attachment, the learned Magistrate in this case sent a direction that the land be restored to the possession of the party from which it was taken. This resulted in the opposite party being put in possession. The learned Judge thereupon expressed himself thus:
'The learned Magistrate should have taken evidence and should have come to a finding as to which party was in possession ..... He was not justified in terminating the proceedings without taking any evidence and in putting one of the parties in possession over the property without determining the respective claims of the parties.'
The order was set aside as it was held that the Magistrate was wrong in not proceeding with the application under Section 145 under the provisions of Sub-section (4). This case is, therefore, not really helpful. Reference is also made to the case of Mahadeo Singh v. Sukhdeo, 1956 All WR (HC) 383, but we do not think that this decision is or any help in deciding the matter before us.
13. No detailed reference need be made to the decision of Beg, J. in the case of Delhi Cloth and General Mills Ltd. v. Yograj Singh : AIR1957All797 , as he in fact held that there was no real conflict between his decision and that in the case of Raj Deo Singh : AIR1948All425 . The learned Judge stated :
'The conflict, if at all, is only apparent and not real. In both the cases it is laid down that once the Magistrate comes to the conclusion that the danger of breach of peace has ceased, the basis of action under Section 145 is gone, and the Magistrate must immediately stay his hands. He has no jurisdiction to proceed further with the case or to embark upon any inquiry for the purpose of determining the question as to which party should be awarded possession.'
In the case of Ram Dayal v. Bahadur, 1958 All WR (HC) 401, Asthana, J. again followed the view expressed by Agarwala, J. in Raj Deo Singh's 6 case : AIR1948All425 (supra), and held that in the present case he could not enter into that question as he had come to the conclusion that there was no apprehension of a breach of the peace.
14. The decision of Chowdhry, J. in Jagdish Narajn v. Basudeva Narain Singh, 1958 All WR (HC) 651, considers the provisions of Section 517 of the Code of Criminal Procedure also. He' did not accept the argument that the Magistrate had no jurisdiction to pass any order with regard to the disposal of the property after concluding the proceedings by cancellation of the preliminary order under clause (5) of the section. Relying on the provisions of clause (8) of Section 145 and Section 517, Code of Criminal Procedure he held that the Magistrate had such jurisdiction but added:
'At the same time, although that Jurisdiction is there and may wsll normally be exercised, the Magistrate will be debarred from doing so if in order that he may be able to pass suitable orders in exercise of that jurisdiction he has to enter into an enquiry which he had no power to make ..... On the other hand, if it be possible to dispose of an application for withdrawal of sale proceeds without having, to adjudicate on an issue as to possession between the parties, the Magistrate will not be precluded from disposing of the application.'
He then relied upon the decision of Agarwala, J. in Raj Deo Singh's case : AIR1948All425 (supra), but added that the indication as regards the person who was in the possession at the time the attachment was made should be very clear on the record and tiie record should show it indisputably. He was further of opinion that no recourse to the inherent powers of the 'court was necessary in view of the provisions of Section 517 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
15. Only three decisions of the other High Courts have been placed before us. In All Bahadur v. Emperor, AIR 1926 Oudh 146, the learned Additional Judicial Commissioner was of opinion that it was open to the Magistrate under the proviso to Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to make over possession of the property to any person that he thought fit. The discretion must be exercised judicially and while there may be cases in which it is sufficient for the Magistrate to make an order withdrawing the attachment and leave some party to take possession, it was also open to the Magistrate to make possession to any one according to his discretion. In Khudiram Mandal v. Jitendra Nath : AIR1952Cal713 , a Bench of the Calcutta High Court was of opinion that the Magistrate was not functus officio as soon as the final order was passed. He could deal with an application of an auxiliary order. In Nagi Reddy v. Venkatappa : AIR1953Mad436 , a learned single Judge of the Madras High Court held that the Magistrate did not become functus officio but may pass further order for winding up proceedings.
16. We accept that after passing an order Cropping proceedings under Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure, the Magistrate has no further jurisdiction to take any proceedings under the provisions of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. His jurisdiction to pass Orders depends on the existence of an apprehension of a breach of the peace. Once he finds that there is no such apprehension, he has no jurisdiction to take any proceedings under Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure. It, therefore, clearly follows that he would become functus officio so far as the enquiry as regards the possession on the date of the preliminary order or in case of dispossession, within sixty days of the preliminary order is concerned. The Magistrate will certainly have no jurisdiction to hold any such enquiry which could be held by him only under the provisions of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
16-A. But it is not the same thing to say that he would have no right to pass an incidental order. Certain action was taken by him under the belief that he had jurisdiction to proceed .under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and it is only right that he should have inherent powers to restore the conditions that existed before he took action or in other words to wind up the proceedings by restoring the status quo ante. Again the proceedings under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure having been dropped, the attachment could not be continued. There may be some movable property or the proceeds of some crop etc. that may be in possession of the court or, as in the present case, persons appointen by the Court. The Magistrate cannot simply wash his lianas of the matter. He must pass some orders as regards possession of these articles and moneys even if he decides to keep them in his possession till a decision by the civil court. It is obvious that certain orders have to be passed. We are of opinion that if there were no such powers conferred under Section 517 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Magistrate would have inherent jurisdiction to pass orders in the nature of winding up proceedings, restoration of status quo ante and pass such orders as may be necessary for preservation of the property till the rights of the parties could be determined. Section 517 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, however, confers specific powers on the Magistrate. It reads:
'When an inquiry or a trial in any Criminal Court is concluded, the Court may make such order as it in thinks fit for the disposal by destruction, confiscation, or delivery to any person claiming to be entitled to possession thereof or otherwise of any property or document produced before it or in its custody or regarding which any offence appears to have been committed or which has been used for the commission of any offence'.
17. We are further of opinion that if in taking action as regards disposal of the property in terms of Section 517 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, it is necessary for the Magistrate to hold an inquiry, he would have the right to hold it and even to take evidence giving an opportunity to the various claimants to examine such evidence as they desire. That inquiry will, in our opinion, be directed to finding out no-t the person who was in possession on the date of the preliminary order but from whose possession the property was in fact taken over at the time the attachment was made. The Magistrate of course will have no right to find out if any one had been dispossessed within two months, prior to his preliminary order. Technically speaking thus the two inquiries, i.e., the enquiry under the provisions of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal procedure and the enquiry to be made by the Magistrate after dropping the proceedings are not the same. There is, however, likely to be considerate difficulty in distingutsmng, between the two in actual practice. Under the provisions of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure the Magistrate could not, after dropping the proceedings, enquire into the fact as to who was in possession on the date of the preliminary order. Ordinarily, whenever an attachment order is passed the attachment is made very soon after the preliminary order. An enquiry as to the person from whose possession' the property was attached on the date of the attachment may, therefore, in most cases be tantamount to making an enquiry as to who was actually in possession on the date of the preliminary order, something which the Magistrate is not entitled to do. The provisions of Section 517, Code of Criminal procedure ana Section 145, Code of Criminal Procedure must be interpreted harmoniously and Section 517, Code of Criminal procedure must not be taken to confer on the Magistrate a power which he is debarred from exercising under the provisions of Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. We are, therefore, of opinion that while under the terms of Section 517 the Magistrate can be held to have authority to hold an inquiry in order to find out the person to whom possession of the property may he delivered ano even to examine evidence for the purpose that enquiry could not be held if it is akin to the inquiry as to who was in possession on the date of the preliminary order. Accordingly, we are of opinion that where the attachment is made at a time very close to the date of the preliminary order, the Magistrate would be debarred from matting an inquiry as to the person who was actually in possession at the time of the attachment. That, however, docs not mean that the Magistrate must not pass incidental orders 0s regards the delivery of possession of the property in his possession. He has still the advantage of the material already on the record. Use of these materials does not flout any of the provisions as regards the restraint of further action. He may, therefore, utilise the evidence already on the record, evidence which may be contained either in the memorandum of attachment (Farrt qurqi) or in the evidence already recorded and exercise his judicial discretion as to the person to whom the property is to be delivered. He may, if he is satisfied by the evidence already on the record that any particular person was in possession at the time the attachment was made, hand over the property to him. If he is not so satisfied, the obvious thing for him is to pass no orders. We do not think that any such action would be fraught with any considerable risk for the proceedings under Section 14-5, Code of Criminal Procedure are dropped only when there is no immediate apprehension of a breach of the peace. And if the order of the Magistrate withdrawing the attachment leads to any dispute between the parties, that will give the Magistrate fresh jurisdiction to take proceedings under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and to reattach the property as also to making inquiry in terms of Section 145 (4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. As regards property such as sale proceeds of crops in custody of the court, the magistrate may if he is unable to decide to whom it should be handed over, continue his custody till the decision of a competent court.
18. We further hold that the order under Section 517 is a magisterial order. The Magistrate must clearly specify the person 10 whom the possession is to be delivered by the police. There can be no delegation of the judicial functions. Of course, we do not mean to say that in every case the Magistrate must specify the name, if the name is specified in the memorandum of attachment (Faro qurqi),. he may simply direct the police to hand over possession to the person from whose possession the property was attached for in that case he would be ordering delivery of possession to the person named in the Fard Qurqi and there would be really no delegation of judicial functions.
19. To turn to the facts of the present case, the Magistrate did actually direct the police to hand over possession to the person from whose possession the property was attached. That was a delegation of powers inasmuch as no person was named in the Fard Qurqi but actually the police did not hand over possession to any person. As indicated earlier, the police has simply withdrawn the attachment and while the order of the learned Magistrate cannot be sustained, no injustice appears to have been occasioned.
20. No other point has been pressed before us.
21. We are, therefore, of opinion that this revision application has no force and must be rejected. We reject it accordingly.