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Durga Prasad Khosla Vs. R.A. Rahmani - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. Nos. 1249 and 1250 of 1964
Judge
Reported inAIR1965All208; 1965CriLJ532
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 197
AppellantDurga Prasad Khosla
RespondentR.A. Rahmani
Respondent AdvocateA.G.A.
DispositionRevision applications dismissed
Excerpt:
.....had gone to the house of the complainant to witness search could by no stretch of imagination be said to have acted or purported to act in the discharge of official duty......that the act constituting the offence was done or purported to be done in the discharge of official duty; but facts subsequently coming to light on a police or judicial inquiry or even in the course of the prosecution evidence at the trial, may establish the necessity for sanction.'the relevant portion of section 197, cri. p.c. reads as below:'when any person who is a judge within the meaning of section 19, i. p. c. or when any magistrate, or when any public servant who is not removable from his office save by or with the sanction of a state government........ is accused of any offence alleged to have been committed by him while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty, no court shall take cognizance of such offence except with the previous sanction:.....
Judgment:
ORDER

C.B. Capoor, J.

1. This application in revision and Crl-Minal tevislon No. 11250 of 1154 have been made by the same petitioner, namely, Durga Prasad Khosla and as inter alia a common question oft law arises in both of them, I propose to dispose of both these applications in revision by this Judgment. Criminal Kevlsion No. 1249 of 1964 Is directed against an order of the learned Sessions Judge, Meerut, dismissing an application in revision filed by the petitioner against an order of the learned Judicial Magistrate, Baharanpur dismissing the complaint filed by him against respondent Sri. A, Kahmani, District and Sessions Judge of Saharanpur. The other application in revision is directed against an order of the Temporary Civil and Sessions Judge, saharanpur dismissing an application in revision filed by the petitioner against an order of the learned Additional District Magistrate (Judicial), Sanaranpur dismissing the complaint filed by the petitioner against Sri Siddha Nand, former Munsif Hawaii, Saharanpur. Both tile complaints were dismissed on the ground that the sanction of the State Government as required by Section 197, Cri, P. C. for the filing of the complaints had not been obtained.

2. Two contentions have been raised by the petitioner (i) that it was not open to the learned Magistrate to have dismissed the complaints after having taken cognizance of the case and (ii) that Section 197 of Cri. P. C. was not attracted to the complaints on the allegations made therein and as such the orders of dismissal were not sustainable in law,

3. It appears that the learned Magistrate had fixed a date for recording the statement of the complainant and it was thereafter that the complaints were dismissed. The contention advanced toy the petitioner is that the learned Magistrates were not competent to dismiss the complaints once they had taken cognizance of the cases. A reference to the orders made by the learned Magistrates indicates that even when they had fixed a date for recording the statement of the complainant, they entertained a doubt as to whether the com-plaints could be maintainable without the sanction of the State Government as required by Section 197 of Cri. P. C. The bar created by Section 197 of Cri. P. C. is couched in mandatory language and it is within the competence of a Court to dismiss a complaint for want of sanction as required by Section 197, Cri. P. C. even after taking cognizance of the case. If the contention advanced by the petitioner were to be accepted, the result will be that if once a Magistrate takes cognizance of a complaint against a public servant, he would be incompetent at a later stage to dismiss the complaint for want of sanction required by Section 197, Cri. P. C. even though legally It was incumbent on the complainant to Have obtained the sanction prior to the filing of the complaint, in this connection reference may usefully be made to the following observations made in the case of Matajog Dobey v. H. C. Bhari, (S) AIR 1950 SC 44:

'It is not always necessary that the need for sanction under Section 197 is to be considered as soon as the complaint is lodged and on the allegations therein contained. The question may arise at any stage of the proceedings. The complaint may not disclose that the act constituting the offence was done or purported to be done in the discharge of official duty; but facts subsequently coming to light on a police or judicial Inquiry or even in the course of the prosecution evidence at the trial, may establish the necessity for sanction.'

The relevant portion of Section 197, Cri. P.C. reads as below:

'When any person who is a Judge within the meaning of Section 19, I. P. C. or when any Magistrate, or when any public servant who is not removable from his office save by or with the sanction of a State Government........ is accused of any offence alleged to have been committed by him while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty, no Court shall take cognizance of such offence except with the previous sanction:

(a)................

(b) In the case of a person employed in connection with the affairs of a State of the State Government.

4. it has been contended by the petitioner that the use of the word 'alleged' in the section indicated that the question as to whether the public servant acted or purported to act in the discharge of his duty would be decided on the allegations made in the complaint. This contention has to be heard only to be rejected. The word 'alleged' qualifies the word 'offence' and not the expression 'acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duties.' The section does not provide that the question as to whether the public servant acted or purported to act in the discharge of his official duties would depend solely on the allegations made in the complaint, indeed if such was the law then to circumvent the provisions of the section nothing would be easier than to allege in the complaint that the public servant did not act or purport to act in the discharge of his official duties. The question as to whether in making a particular order a public servant acted or purported to act in the discharge of his official duties depends on the contents of the order and the circumstances in which it has been made.

5. In order to appreciate the applicability or otherwise of Section 197, Cri. P. C. to the cases in hand the following facts had better be narrated:

6. Criminal Revision No. 1249 of 1964:

Stated in brief the facts were these. Three complaints had been filed by the petitioner against one Mohan Lal who was then attached to the Court of the Civil Judge, Saharanpur as execution clerk in the Court of a Magistrate of Saharanpur. During the course of hearing of these cases an application had been made by the aforesaid Mohan Lal to the effect that the complaints should be dismissed in view of Section 195 of Cri. P. C. inasmuch as the allegations made in the complaints disclosed an offence under Section 210, I. P. C. also. This application was rejected by the learned Magistrate and as against that order three applications in revision were tiled by the said Mohan Lal. Those revision petitions were admitted to a regular hearing by-Sri R.A. Kahmani then acting as Sessions Judge. Subsequently, those petitions were transferred to Sri Kahmani for disposal. An application was made by the petitioner in the Court of the Sessions Judge for a transfer of those revision applications from the Court of Sri Rahmani and a report was called for by the Sessions Judge from Sri Rahmani on the allegations made in the application for transfer. In compliance with that order Sri Rahmani submitted his report. The allegations made in that report, according to the petitioner, amounted to an offence under Section 500, I. P. C. and accordingly a complaint was filed by him against Sri Kahmani and the dismissal of that complaint has given rise to the present revision application.

7. Criminal Revision No. 1250 of 1964:

The petitioner as a Mukhtar-a-am of his younger brother Sheo Prasad had filed Civil Suit No. 9 of 1958 Shiv Pd. v. Jamuna Prasad in the Court of Munslf Havail. An ex parte decree was passed in that case and in pursuance of it an execution application was filed. subsequently the ex parte decree was set aside by the Court of appeal and the suit was restored to its original number. The petitioner made an application for the refund of the value of the court-fee labels which had been affixed to the execution application. That application was ordered to be filed. The petitioner thereat made a complaint to the District Judge. Subsequently, the application for the refund of the value of the court-fee labels affixed to the execution application was allowed. The execution clerk in that connection submitted a report on the 6th of March 1962 which runs as below:

'Sir,

Today 1 came across a file which is fixed on 16-3-1962 for the result of the appeal.

submitted.

Sd. S. P. Jain.

6-3-1962.'

and the opposite party Sri Bidhanand made the following order ' on that report:

'Execution clerk to have the result of the appeal known from the appellate Court and get the execution case and this application disposed of accordingly. He should be careful in future.'

The aforesaid order purports to have been made on 6th March 1962. The gravamen of the petitioner is that the report of the execution clerk was submitted and the order of the Munsif was actually made on the 16th March 1962 and that subsequently both of them were ante-dated and were made to bear the date 6th March 1962. During the course of the inquiry conducted by Sri Rahmam on a complaint by the petitioner the aforesaid sidhanand appeared before Sri Kahmani and stated that the aforesaid order was made by him on 6th. March 1962 and not on 16th March 1962. That, according to the petitioner was a false statement. It was on the aforesaid allegations, in the main, that the complaint was filed by the petitioner against Sri Sidhanand which, as has already been noticed, was dismissed by the learned Additional District Magistrate (Judicial) on the ground that it was not maintainable without the sanction of the state Government.

8. The question as to whether Sri Hahmani and Sri Sldhanand had acted or purported to act in the discharge of their official duties has to be considered in the light of the aforesaid facts.

9. Section 197 of Cri. P.C. has come for consideration before the several High Courts and the Supreme Court in a number of cases and in this order, I propose to notice the recent decisions of the Supreme Court and a decision of the Madras High Court, in tne case of Amrik singh v. State of Pepsu, : 1955CriLJ865 Venkataraman Ayyar, J., speaking for the Court observed as below:

'It is not every offence committed by a public servant that requires sanction for prosecution under Section 197(1), Crl. P. C. nor even every act done by mm while he Is actually engaged in the performance of his official duties, but if the act complained of is directly concerned with his official duties so that, if questioned, it could be claimed to have been done by virtue of the office, then sanction would be necessary and that would be so, irrespective of whether it was in fact, a proper discharge of his duties, because that would really be a matter of defence on the merits, which would have to be investigated at the trial, and could not arise at the stage of the grant of sanction, which must precede the institution of the prosecution.'

in the case of : [1955]28ITR941(SC) the following observations were made:

'The offence alleged to have been committed must have something to do, or must be related in some manner, with the discharge of official duty. No question of sanction can arise under Section 197, unless the act complained of is an offence; the only point to determine is whether it was committed in the discharge of official duty. There must be a reasonable connection between the act and the official duty. It does not matter even If the act exceeds what is strictly necessary for the discharge of the duty, as this question will arise only at a later stage when the trial proceeds on the merits.

What we must find out is whether the act and the official duty are so inter-related that one can postulate reasonably that it was done by the accused in the performance of the official duty, thougth possibly in excess of the needs and requirements of the situation.'

Chandrasekhara Aiyar, J. speaking for the Court approved the following observations made by Sulaiman, J. in the case of Hori Ram Singh v. Emperor, :

'The section cannot be confined to only such acts as are done by a public servant directly in pursuance of this public office, though in excess of the duty or under a mistaken belief as to the existence of such duty. Nor is it necessary to go to the length of saying that the act constituting the offence should be so inseparably connected with the official duty as to form part and parcel of the same transaction,'

In the case of Satwant Bingh v. The State of Punjab, : [1960]2SCR89 the accusation against the public servant was that he had committed the offence of cheating and it was held that sanction of the appropriate government for the prosecution; of the accused was not necessary. It is clear that an act of cheating has no relation whatsoever with the discharge of his official duties by a public servant and the aforesaid decision is of no help to the petitioner. For a similar reason it has also, been held that the public servant does not act in the discharge of his official duties if he accepts illegal gratification as a motive of reward for doing an official act. Imam, J. speaking for the majority . of the Judges made the following observations:

'The act must bear such relation to the duty that the public servant could lay a reasonable but not a pretended or fanciful claim, that he did 10 in the course of the performance of his duty. Some offences cannot by their very nature be regarded as having been committed by public servants while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of their official duty'.

10. The case of Dhannjay Kam Sharmi v. M. S. Uppaaaya : 1960CriLJ1153 is clearly distinguishable inasmuch as therein the Railway servants who had gone to the house of the complainant to witness search could by no stretch of imagination be said to have acted or purported to act in the discharge of official duty.

11. In the case of H. L. Sivaramakrishna Ayyar v. Seshappa Naidu, 30 Cri LJ 336: (AIR 1929 Mad 172) it was held:

'Fabrication by a Judge of the records of a case is an act committed by him 'while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty' within the meaning of Section 197, Cri. P. C. even If the case is an entirely fictitious one, and cannot be taken cognizance of without the sanction of the Local Government.'

12. It will have been observed that Sri Rahmani had been required by the Sessions Judge to submit his report on the allegations made in the application for transfer filed by the petitioner and Sri Sidhanand had made an order on a report submitted by the execution clerk. It is obvious that there was a direct nexus between, the official duties of the officers and the report submitted and orders made by them. On testing on the anvil of the principles laid down in the aforesaid cases it would appear that both Sri Kahmani and Sri Bidhanand were acting and in any case were purporting to act in the discharge of their official duties when the former submitted the report and the latter made the order on which the complaints were founded.

13. The orders sought to be impugned by these revision applications were perfectly legal and I see no reason to interfere with them. These applications in revision are accordingly dismissed.


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