1. In this revision a question of jurisdiction has been raised, and it is unfortunate that at this late stage I have no alternative but to allow the contention.
2. A woman, Mt. Sheorania, an agriculturist, brought a charge against the applicants on the allegation that they with a large number of cattle got her field damaged and that crops to the value of Rs. 250 were destroyed. The offence alleged was one of mischief; but the law makes a distinction between mischief of a minor kind and a mischief of a graver sort. Section 426 of the Indian Penal Code makes an ordinary case of mischief punishable with imprisonment to the extent of three months and with fine; but where the amount of damage or loss caused is Rs. 50 or upwards, the maximum punishment awardable is under Section 427 of the Indian Penal Code two years imprisonment and fine. A case of the graver kind of mischief is not triable by a Magistrate of the third class. In this particular case a learned Magistrate of the third class took cognizance of the offence, and having estimated the damage or loss to the complainant at Rs. 140 ordered that, out of the fine to be realized, a sum of Rs. 40 should be awarded to the complainant.
3. An appeal was taken to the learned District Magistrate and the question of jurisdiction was raised. He however got over the difficulty by coming to the finding that the amount of damage was less than Rs. 50. An application in revision was made to the learned Sessions Judge but without success.
4. In my opinion the jurisdiction of the Court to hear a case depends on the allegations with which its help is sought. it may be that after a trial it is found that the case has been materially exaggerated; !but unless it has been found at the very outset that the allegations are exaggerated with the intention of seeking a particular Court for redress, the statement of the complainant, in a criminal case and the statement of the plaintiff in a civil case, has to be accepted for the purpose of jurisdiction. This is however a much strong case. Not only did the complainant allege that the amount of damage was much more than the sum of Rs. 50, but the learned Magistrate also found that the damage amounted to Rs. 140. The Court of lirst instance therefore had no jurisdiction to hear the case.
5. I set aside all the proceedings in the case and order that the case be heard by a Magistrate having jurisdiction to hear it.