1. Commitments should only be quashed when on the face of it there is something of the nature of a fatal flaw in the prosecution. In this particular case there is a fatal flaw. There is no case in law at all. The two persons whom the committing Magistrate has ordered to be prosecuted for forgery under Section 466 of the Indian Penal Code are two railway clerks and the case against them is briefly this:
They are responsible for the upkeep of certain registers. Two waggons containing coal arrived at Agra railway station and the consignee was given time till a certain hour to unload. He completed his unloading by a certain hour and the time of completion was recorded accordingly in the register; but he was not only, according to the view of the station master, obliged to complete unloading by a particular time in order to save payment of demurrage, but he was also responsible for putting the waggons in such a position as to enable them to be despatched; and if he did not have the waggons cleared by that time, so as to be capable of despatch, the station master considered that he was liable to pay demurrage even though the waggons had been unloaded. The consignee had actually unloaded the waggons by a certain time and that time was entered in the registers, but the station master subsequently discovered that while unloading, he had blocked the passage of the waggons by leaving accumulations of coal on the permanent way so that the waggons despatch (to Tundla) had been delayed. The station master told the consignee to clear the line so that the waggons might be despatched. The consignee cleared the line. The station master then went to the clerks in charge of the registers and told them to alter the hour of unloading from the hour originally recorded when the waggons had been actually unloaded to the hour which he now gave them when the line had been cleared so that the waggons could be despatched. The two clerks carried out his orders, and it is for this, and this alone, that they have been committed to the sessions on a criminal charge.
2. It is admitted that they were acting under the orders of their superior officer, that they could not have had any possible animus in the matter, and that the consignee had no complaint against them. The station master's interpretation of the liability of the consignee has been found to be wrong by a Small Cause Court Judge. I have nothing to say upon that point.
3. The civil Court has found that the consignee was not liable to pay demurrage. But there was absolutely nothing dishonest, improper or irregular in the station master holding the view which he did hold, even though id was an incorrect view, and for him to tell the clerks to alter the time of unloading to the time when Le honestly thought that the waggons bad been technically unloaded was in no way a criminal offence, and the clerks who acted under his orders were in no way responsible.
4. I consider that the action of the civil Court which ordered the prosecution was most unfortunate and that it would be most improper to permit this prosecution to continue as, on the face of it, there is no ease of any sort or kind.
5. I accordingly quash the proceedings, set aside the order of committal of the two applicants and direct that their bail bonds be cancelled. This order will have the effect of an order of absolute acquittal with no reflection of any kind upon the conduct of the applicants.