1. This is an application by Remal Das under Sections 561-A and 526 of the Code of Criminal Procedure praying for (1) the quashing of certain proceedings initiated against him by the respondent Daya Shanker and (2) in the alternative for transferring the case from Farrukhabad to Meerut. The applicant states in his affidavit that he is running a tea stall on the station road, Moradabad as well as a cycle-rickshaw stand on the same road Both the shop and the cycle-rickshaw stand are situate outside a cinema known as 'Dilshad Cinema' This cinema also maintains a cycle-rickshaw stand for the use of its patrons According to the applicant the management makes a charge of two annas per cycle whereas he charges one anna only, and thereby he attracts more customers than the management The applicant alleges that the management had made several attempts to persuade him to remove his cycle stand and even threatened him in various ways, but he refused, and this created ill-feeling between the management and the applicant He states that the dispute has led to litigation, civil and criminal. (It is not necessary for me to give the details of this litigation)
2. According to the applicant, the management of the cinema finding themselves unsuccessful in their efforts to drive him out from the cycle stand, contrived to get a criminal complaint filed against him in the Courtof Farrukhabad through the respondent Daya Shanker. He alleges that this Daya Shanker is connected with the management in this way the proprietors of Dilshad Cinema, Moradabad are Sri Rajesh Khanna and Smt. Maya Devi who are partners. The husband of Maya Devi is Chiranji Lal Chopra who runs several cinemas in different places, one of which is the Kamal Cinema in Farrukhabad. They got the respondent Daya Shanker, who lives in Fatehgarh at a distance of three miles from Kamal Cinema, to file a complaint against the applicant under Sections 406 and 417 of the Indian Penal Code. According to the applicant, the complaint is false and frivolous.
3. A copy of this complaint has been attached to the applicant's affidavit. In it Daya Shanker alleged that the applicant, on 23-5-1965, obtained Rs. 50 from him under a false pretext and also borrowed from him a lot a worth Rs. 4 and a plastic bag worth Rs 1.50 which he never returned. Daya Shanker alleged that he made the acquaintance of the applicant for the first time during a visit to Moradabad when they discussed a proposal for doing business together. Afterwards, on 23-5-1965, the applicant went to Moradabad and represented that he had made a deal with a bidi agency firm but had fallen short of cash and required a loan of Rs. 50.
Believing his story, Daya Shanker advanced him this amount and the applicant went away but never came back. On the next day Daya Shanker made inquiries of the bidi people who told him that no person of the name of the applicant had approached them or made any deal with them on the previous day In this way according to Daya Shanker the appellant had cheated him and committed an offence under Sections 406 and 417. I. P. C The applicant's case is that these allegations are false as he had never been in the district of Farrukhabad and never visited Fatehgarh. According to him the complaint had been filed only to harass him and to compel him to submit to the illegal demand of the management of the Dilshad Cinema at Moradabad.
4. The application is opposed by the complainant who has filed a counter affidavit. He denied that his complaint had been filed at the instigation of any one else or that he was under the influence of Smt Maya Devi. He also asserted that the accused visits Fatehgarh often and was known to the complainant. He alleged that the motive of the accused in getting the case transferred out of Farrukhabad is to cripple the complainant's case He also alleged that in case the case is transferred his witnesses will be put to great harassment, as Moradabad is at a distance of 440 kilometers from Fatehgarh and does not lie on the direct route from Fatehgarh.
5. I have heard Smt Rama Devi Gupta for the applicant accused and Mr. Virendra Saran for the respondent at considerable length. I think no case is made out for the quashing of the proceedings. The applicant alleges that the complaint against him is false and frivolous and has been filed at the instigation of some one else. But this is a matter which will be considered by the trial Court. Quashing the proceedings at this stage really means accepting the applicant's defence. This prayer must be rejected. But learned counsel for the applicant accused argued vehemently that this is a fit case for the transfer of the case from Farrukhabad to Moradabad. She pointed out that the applicant's defence is an alibi in other words, that he has never been to Fatehgarh and was not there on the date when he is alleged to have met the complainant and cheated. She argued that this defence will require the production of fairly a large number of witnesses who would be required to testify that the accused was in Moradabad on the material date. She also pointed out that case of the accused is that the complainant connected with the management of Dilshad Cinema at Moradabad and is under his influence.
This again, she argued, will require a fairly large number of witnesses who may be required to testify that the complainant has visited Moradabad in the past. It will be very difficult, counsel argued, for all these witnesses to go to Fatehgarh to give evidence for the accused. On the other hand (Smt. Gupta pointed out) the complainant has cited only two witnesses in his complaint. During her argument counsel made an offer on behalf of the accused that even if the complainant wants to produce more witnesses, their reason able expenses will be borne by the accused if the case is transferred to Moradabad. Counsel stated that on a list being furnished to this Court by the complainant the accused will deposit the estimated expenses in advance and as a condition precedent to the transfer Counsel laid great stress on the likelihood--as she called it--of the defence being very seriously prejudiced if the accused had to take all his witnesses from Moradabad to Farrukhabad.
6. On the other hand counsel for the respondent argued that there was no reason why the case should be taken out of the jurisdiction of the Farrukhabad Courts. He contended that the interests of the accused are not paramount and the Court should hold the balance even between the complainant and the accused.
7. It is conceded that the Court has the jurisdiction to order a transfer in suitable cases. In Sohan Lal v. Gopal Singh, AIR 1926 Lah 493 the Lahore High Court took the view that in considering whether a case should be transferred or not the convenience of the accused has to be considered rather than that of the complainant. It transferred the case from Montgomery to Pakpattan on the ground that Montgomery was away from the abode of the accused while Pakpattan was near. The principle laid down in this decision perhaps leans a little too heavily on the side of the accused. Section 526 (1) (d), Cri. P. C. empowers the Court to transfer a case if it appears that the transfer 'will tend to the general convenience of the parties or witnesses'. The parties obviously includes both the prosecution andthe accused. Clause (e) further provides that an order of transfer may be made if it 'is expedient for the ends of justice or is required by any provision of this Court'. Here again, the Court has to consider the ends of justice and not the interest of one party alone, though justice may demand in a particular case that the case should be transferred to avoid prejudice to the accused.
In Bansi v. Lakshmi Das, ILR 45 All 700: (AIR 1924 All 76) the High Court transferred a case from Moradabad to Shankergarh in the district of Allahabad. The reason for the transfer was that the accused were residents of Shankergarh and the alleged offence was said to have taken place there. It is not clear from the judgment why the complaint was filed at Moradabad at all. The decision to transfer the case was made because 'the balance of convenience was undoubtedly in favour of the transfer from Moradabad to Allahabad'. In P H Matcalfe v. J. Watson, AIR 1924 Pat 708 the case was transferred from Buxur to Gaya In this case both the Buxur and Gaya Courts had jurisdiction to try the offence but the Court made the transfer on the ground that 'it is right and proper that. . . . .the prosecutor who is putting the law into motion should go to Gaya where the accused persons reside', rather than that the accused should have to go to Buxur in order to stand his trial. The learned Judge observed 'I think that it is only fair that this accused person should stand his trial at the place where he resides and at the place where certainly the prosecution could have been initiated'.
8. A review of these authorities leads me to the conclusion that it is not possible, or even desirable, to enunciate any rigid principle which will govern the variety of application for transfer coming before this Court under Section 526 (d) or (e). Each case must be judged on its own merits. If the Court is satisfied after considering all the circumstances that it will be in the interests of justice or for the general convenience of parties or witnesses to transfer the case, it should make the transfer. But the onus of showing that the trial should not take place at the place where the law enjoins that it normally should is on the party which seeks the transfer
9. In the present case, the complainant has alleged that the accused met him at Fatehgarh on the 23rd of May 1965 and cheated him, and also look away his utensils by a trick. The defence of the accused is: (1) that he has never been to Fatehgarh; (2) and that the complainant has been instigaged by certain persons residing at Moradabad who bore him Ill-will. After giving my anxious consideration to the circumstances of the case. I feel that the accused is likely to be seriously prejudiced in his defence if the trial took place in the district of Farrukhabad. The nature of his defence is such that most of his witnesses will be residents of Moradabad. He is accused of an offence under Section 417 for which he is liable to be sent to prison for one year and also under Section 406, I. P. C. for which he may besent to prison for three years. The learned counsel for the complainant-respondent argued that the accused has, by his offer to pay the expenses of the complainant's witnesses, proved that he is not exactly a poor person and therefore the trial at Farrukhabad will cause him great hardship.
This argument overlooks the fact that the accused has no control over his witnesses who may be unwilling to take the trouble of going to Farrukhabad but may be prepared to give evidence at Moradabad. It is true that the accused can get the summonses issued from the trial Court, but if the number of his witnesses is large and he has to take them again and again to Farrukhabad, he may be seriously prejudiced. Moreover, the summoning of a witness is within the discretion of the Court and if it feels that the production of a witness is likely to cause delay, it may decline to issue summonses. Moreover, Clause (d) of Section 526 provides for a transfer for the general convenience of the parties or witnesses, which means that the Court has to consider the convenience not only of the parties but of the witnesses. In this case, the number of witnesses for the complainant does not appear to be very large and the accused has offered to pay their expenses.
10. Taking all these circumstances into consideration, I think that an order of transfer will serve the interests of justice. Accordingly I direct that the case shall be transferred from the district of Farrukhabad to Moradabad provided the applicant accused deposits in Court, in advance, the expenses of all the witnesses which the complainant wants to produce. Counsel for the complainant will submit to the Court at Fatehgarh the list of the witnesses which he wants to produce. Thereupon the applicant shall deposit with the trial Court at Farrukhabad expenses at the rate of Rs. 30 per witness. This is the rate agreed to by the learned counsel for the complainant. When the deposit has been made, but not before, the case shall stand transferred from Fatehgarh to the district of Moradabad and the amount deposited in Court at Farrukhabad shall be transferred to the Moradabad Court. The amount shall not be paid to the complainant but only to each witness who goes to Moradabad for the purpose of being examined.
In case the deposit is not made within one month of the list being submitted to the Farrukhabad Court (a copy of which will be supplied on the same day to counsel for the accused) the order for transfer shall stand cancelled. In case the list has already been submitted the accused shall deposit within one month of today the amount at the rate specified above. After the transfer, it will be open to the complainant to apply to the Moradabad Court in case the expenses of any particular witness are more than Rs. 30, or the total expenses of all the witnesses are more than the amount deposited and the Court at Moradabad shall pass the necessary orders. In case the deposit is made and the case transferred.the applicant accused shall be entitled (sic) refund of the balance of the deposit after the complainants witnesses have been paid their respective expenses.
11. There shall be no order for costs of this application.
12. Counsel for the applicant states that she has deposited a certain packet with the Registrar which Contains material for evidence before the Court below. This may be returned to the learned counsel.