Skip to content


Sabir Ali and anr. Vs. the State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Ref. No. 21 of 1961
Judge
Reported inAIR1962All405
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 29, 349 and 530; Uttar Pradesh Privat Forests Act, 1949 - Sections 15(1) and 15(2)
AppellantSabir Ali and anr.
RespondentThe State
Appellant AdvocateI.A. Abbasi, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS.B. Mathur, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....mentioned in special law trying an offence proceeding shall be void under section 530 and first class magistrate has no jurisdiction to try an offence under section 15 of u.p. private forests act. - - on merits, he was however, of the view that the conviction of sabir ali was incorrect but that of jhabboo was perfectly correct. this view was in accord with the well known principle of harmonious construction of a statute, according to which all the parts of a section should be interpreted together. the important words in section 29 of the code of criminal procedure are, subject to the other provisions of this code'.with this qualification the section clearly directs that an offence under any other law shall when any court is mentioned in this behalf in such law, be tried by such..........evidence was recorded by him and, then, on the 12th of december, 1959, powers of a first class magistrate were conferred on him. the accused persons were examined by him under section 342 of the code of criminal procedure on the 12th of december, 1959 and by his judgment dated the 6th of january, 1960, he, as a magistrate of the first class and sub-divisional magistrate, kaisarganj, bahraich, convicted both the accused persons and sentenced each of them to pay a fine of rupees fifty with one month's simple imprisonment in default of payment of fine.3. two criminal appeals were filed which were later registered as criminal revisions. these revisions were transferred to the file of the learned additional sessions judge of bahraich who, by his judgment dated the 16th of january,.....
Judgment:
ORDER

S.K. Verma, J.

1. One Sabir Ali sold an Imli tree in his grove No. 328, situate in village Ratnapur, Police Station Bahraich, to one Jhabboo. The latter got the tree cut and removed from the grove on the 6th of February, 1958. He did so without obtaining permission from the competent authority. According to the prosecution case, ho thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 15 (1) of the U.P. Private Forests Act which reads as follows:-

'15. Offences under this Chapter and trial of such offences and penalties thereof:-

(1) Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of this Chapter or deviates from the prescriptions of a sanctioned working plan without the previous sanction; of the Forest Officer shall be punishable with fine not exceeding one hundred rupees for the first offence and with fine not exceeding one thousand rupees or simple imprisonment not exceeding three months or both for the second or any subsequent offence -

* * * ** *'

Both Sabir Ali and Jhabboo were prosecuted for an offence punishable under this section on a complaint preferred by the District Magistrate of Bahraich.

2. The case was transferred to a Special Magistrate of the Second class for disposal. Itwas, subsequently, transferred to the file of T. B. Upadhaya who was at that time, a Magistrate of the Second Class. The entire prosecution evidence was recorded by him and, then, on the 12th of December, 1959, powers of a First Class Magistrate were conferred on him. The accused persons were examined by him under section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the 12th of December, 1959 and by his judgment dated the 6th of January, 1960, he, as a Magistrate of the First Class and Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Kaisarganj, Bahraich, convicted both the accused persons and sentenced each of them to pay a fine of rupees fifty with one month's simple imprisonment in default of payment of fine.

3. Two criminal appeals were filed which were later registered as criminal revisions. These revisions were transferred to the file of the learned Additional Sessions Judge of Bahraich who, by his judgment dated the 16th of January, 1961, held that a Magistrate of the First Class had no jurisdiction to try the case. Consequently, he, made reference to this Court, recommonding that the conviction and the, sentences of the two applicants be set aside. He relied upon a decision of Beg, J., Juddu v. State, AIR 1952 All 873. In this case Beg, J., held that, by virtue of the provisions of Section 15(2) of the U. P. Private Forests Act, a Magistrate of the First Class had no Jurisdiction to try offences punishable under Section 15 (1) of the said Act. There is another case decided by the same learned Judge Harbans Singh v. State, AIR 1953 All 179 in which he took the view held by him in the earlier case.

4. The reference came up for hearing before A. N. Mulla, J. who disagreed with the view expressed by Beg, J., in the cases of Jaddu, AIR 1952 All 873 and Harbans Singh, AIR 1953 All 179. He therefore, referred it to a Divisional Bench. The reference then came up for hearing before my brothers B. N. Nigam and S. D. Singh. There was a difference of opinion between them and the reference has now come up before me because of that difference of opinion.

5. B. N. Nigam, J., was of the view that a Magistrate of the first class was not debarred from trying offences under Section 15 (1) of the U. P. Private Forests Act. On merits, he was however, of the view that the conviction of Sabir Ali was incorrect but that of Jhabboo was perfectly correct. He was, accordingly for the acceptance of the reference in part, that is to say, for the seating aside of the conviction and sentence of Sabir Ali but for maintaining Jhabboo's conviction and sentence.

6. S. D. Singh, J., held that a Magistrate of the First Class had no jurisdiction to try offences under Section 15 (1) of the U. P. Private Forests Act. He, therefore, was of the view that the reference made by the learned Additional Sessions Judge should be accepted and the conviction and the sentences of both Sabir Ali and Jhabboo should be set aside.

7. Besides the relevant provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the U. P. Private Forests Act, a large number of decisions were cited before the Division Bench. Both the learned Judges constituting the Bench were of the view that most of the decisions were irrelevant to the issues which arose for decision before them. J find myself in respectful agreement with their view and I do not propose to refer to those decisions. In my opinion, the question of law that arises for decision can be decided on the plain reading and interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure; and the U. P. Private Forests Act and I shall advert to them immediately.

8. Section 29 of the Code of Criminal procedure reads as follows:-

'29. Offences under other laws.-

(1) Subject to the other provisions of this Code, any offence under any other law shall, when any Court is mentioned in this behalf in such law. he tried by such Court.

(2) When no Court is mentioned, it may be tried by the High Court or subject as aforesaid by any Court constituted under this Code by which, such offence is shown in the eighth column of the Second Schedule to be triable.'

9. Section 15 (2) of the U. P. Private Forests Act reads as follows:-

'(2) Offences under this section shall be triable by a Magistrate of the second or third class, and proceedings under this section may be instituted on a complaint made by the landlord of the notified area or forest in respect of which the offence is alleged to have been committed or by any right holder of such a notified area or forest or by the Forest Officer or by any officer specially empowered by the Provincial Government in this behalf.'

10. B. N. Nigam, J., was of the view that, as a Magistrate of the Second or the Third Class could not inflict the maximum sentence prescribed for a second or subsequent offence under Section 15 (1) of the U.P. Private Forests Act a Magistrate of the First Class would also necessarily have jurisdiction to deal with offences punishable under the Act. This view was in accord with the well known principle of harmonious construction of a statute, according to which all the parts of a section should be interpreted together.

11. S. D. Singh, J., was of the opinion that if there was' any anomaly in Section 15 of the U. P. Private Forests Act it was not for the Courts to cure it but for the Legislature to step in to remove it.

12. I am of the view that there is no anomaly in Section 15 of the Act at all. The important words in section 29 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are, 'subject to the other provisions of this Code'. With this qualification the section clearly directs that an offence under any other law shall when any Court is mentioned in this behalf in such law, be tried by such Court. That means that all that is required is that a particular Court should merely be mentioned in the Special Law in question. Once a particular Court is mentioned in such law that Court alone shall be competent to tryoffences under that law, but, subject to the other provisions of the Code of Criminal procedure.

13. Section 349 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which was, apparently, not brought to the notice of the Division Bench reads as follows ;-

'349 -- Procedure when Magistrate cannot pass sentence sufficiently severe. -

(1) Whenever a Magistrate of the second or third class, having jurisdiction, is of opinion, after hearing the evidence for the prosecution and the accused, that the accused is guilty, and that he ought to receive a punishment different in kind from or more severe than, that which such Magistrate is empowered to inflict, or that he ought to be required to execute a bond under Section 106, he may record the Opinion and submit his proceedings, and forward the accused, to the District Magistrate or Sub-Divisional Magistrate to whom he is subordinate.

(1-A) When more accused than one are being tried together and the Magistrate considers it necessary to proceed under Sub-section (1) in regard to any of such accused, he shall forward all the accused who are in his opinion guilty to ^he District Magistrate or Sub-Divisional Magistrate.

(2) The Magistrate to whom the proceedings are submitted may, if he thinks fit, examine the parties and recall and examine any witness who has already given evidence in the case and may call for and take any further evidence, and shall pass such judgment, sentence or order in the case as he thinks fit, and as is according to law:

Provided that he shall not inflict a punishment more severe than he is empowered to inflict under Sections 32 and 33.'

There is, thus, no difficulty at all. Offences under the U. P. Private Forests Act can only be tried by the Court mentioned in Section 15 (2) of the Act that is to say, by a Magistrate of the second or third class. If such a Magitrate is trying a second or subsequent offence under Section 15 (1) of the Act and he is of the view that the accused person should receive a more severe sentence than he is empowered to inflict, he can forward the accused to the District Magistrate or the Sub-Divisional Magistrate to whom he is subordinate. The question, thus, whether, Section 15 (2) is merely clarificatory or enabling does not arise for consideration, at all, nor is it necessary to add either the word 'only'' or 'also' after the words, 'offences under this section shall be triable by a Magistrate of the second or third class ......' in Section 15 (2) ofthe Act. The words of Section 29 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are perfectly clear and to my mind, they are mandatory. It follows, therefore, that, if a Court other than the one mentioned in any Special Law tries an offence punishable under that law, the proceedings shall be void under Section 530 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the relevant portion of which reads as follows:-

'530 -- Irregularities which vitiate proceedings.

If any Magistrate, not being empowered by law in this behalf, does any of the following things, namely, -- * * * (p) tries an offender; ***his proceedings shall be void.'

14. To my mind these are the only provisions of law which are relevant for deciding the question arising in this case.

15. Before the Division Bench reference was also made to section 5 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure which reads thus.-

'5(2). Trial of offences against other laws-

All offences under any other law shall be investigated, inquired into, tried and otherwise dealt with according to the same provisions but subject to any enactment for the time being in force regulating the manner or place of investigating inquiring into, trying or otherwise dealing with such offences.'

This provision of law is not in point, as it deals with the manner or place of investigation, inquiry or trial.

16. The third Schedule of the Code of Criminal Procedure was also referred to before the Division Bench. According to that Schedule, the ordinary powers of a Magistrate of the First Class include the ordinary powers of a Magistrate of the Second Class. The ordinary powers of a Magistrate of the Second Class are also mentioned in the Schedule and they do not include the power to try an offence, as under Section 36 of the Code of Criminal Procedure all the District Magistrates, Sub-Divisional Magistrates, and the Magistrates of the first, second, and third classes, have only the powers respectively conferred upon them by the Schedule. These are the 'ordinary powers' of Magistrates and, if I may coin a phrase, they are the Scheduled powers of Magistrates and they have nothing to do with the power to try an offence.

17. For the reasons given above, I am of the view that a Magistrate of the First Class has no jurisdiction to try an offence under Section 15 (1) of the U. P. Private Forests Act, unless it is submitted to him under the provisions of Section 349 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. I therefore, agree with my brother S. D. Singh, that this reference should be accepted and the conviction and the sentences of Sabir Ail and Jhabboo should be set aside and that a retrial should not be ordered.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //