1. This criminal revision has been filed by Laxmi Narain and arises in the following circumstances:
2. An application under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was moved before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Hardoi, by Sewak Ram deceased father of Laxmi Narain applicant against his son Rajendra Narain opposite party No. 2. On this application the Magistrate passed a preliminary order and attached the disputed agricultural land and crops standing thereon by an order dated 1-2-1965. After attachment this property was placed in the supurdgi of Jhabboo, opposite party No. 1. Subsequently Sewak Ram died and the proceedings were dropped by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate on 3-3-1965. On 4-3-1965 the Magistrate ordered the Supurdar to keep the property under attachment until the question as to who was the legal heir of Sewak Ram deceased was decided and he was further directed to maintain proper accounts regarding the attached property. It may be mentioned here that the attached property consisted of standing crops of wheat, Arhar, sugarcane and sarson. Meanwhile Lakshmi Narain and Rajendra Narain, applicant and opposite party No. 2 respectively were declared by the consolidation authorities to be the sole legal representatives of Sewak Ram deceased.
3. By an order dated 14-1-1966 the Magistrate directed that the land and the crops under attachment should be released in favour of these two persons. This order was challenged by the supurdar in revision before the Sessions Judge, Hardoi, who allowed the revision and set aside the order. A criminal revision was filed in this Court against the order of the Sessions Judge on 21-10-1967. This Court quashed the order of the Sessions Judge upheld the order of the Magistrate dated 14-1-1966 (see Jhabboo v. Laxmi Narain AIR 1970 All 595 : 1970 Cri LJ 1459 and directed the Magistrate to serve his order of 14-1-1966 on the supurdar and to proceed in accordance with law.
4. The Magistrate appears to have served his order of 14-1-1966 on the supurdar whereupon the latter pointed out that delivery of the agricultural land had already been given to the two heirs and that he had also distributed the price of sugarcane crop between these two persons and the rest of the crops had been delivered to Rajendra Kumar. On this objection the Magistrate modified his earlier order and passed another order on 21-8-1971 directing the supurdar to deliver crops other than sugarcane crop to the two claimants or in the alternative to make payment of its price. The supurdar again challenged this order before the Sessions Judge in revision but the revision was dismissed. The Magistrate then passed an order on 26-9-1972 which is impugned before me saying that no further action was called for from his court against the supurdar and observing that if any further recovery is to be made the applicant should move the competent civil court for redress. Lakshmi Narain again moved the Sessions Judge in revision against this order but the same was dismissed by the Sessions Judge by an order dated 2-4-1973. The order of the Magistrate is also being challenged.
5. I have heard Sri D.C. Mukerji' appearing for the revisionist. No doubt, as held by this Court in the case of Jhabboo v. Lakshmi Narain 1970 Cri LJ 1459 (All) (supra) a Magistrate is incompetent to realise the price or value of crops which were entrusted to supurdar and which he failed to deliver in compliance with the release order of the Magistrate because the value or price of such crops can be realised only through Civil Court but the Magistrate and the Sessions Judge were both in error in thinking that in a situation of this kind where the supurdar fails to deliver the crops which were placed in his custody to the persons to whom he was directed by the Magistrate to deliver the same or fails to satisfactorily account for the sale proceeds of such crops they were helpless. In a situation of this kind the Magistrate can either make a criminal complaint for commitment of criminal breach of trust against the supurdar or hand over the case to the police for investigation. The supurdar is a representative of the court and he is accountable and answerable to the court for the property entrusted to him by the court. He is, therefore, bound to render accounts of the property, to the criminal court concerned and also of its sale proceeds in case the property has been converted into money. If the criminal court, which appointed the supurdar finds at any stage that there is reason to think that the supurdar has not satisfactorily accounted for the agricultural crop which was placed In his custody or its sale proceeds then he can be proceeded against for criminal breach of trust quite apart from the remedy of a suit for recovery of money in the Civil Court (See Bhagwan Singh v. Ganga Singh, 1963 All WR (HC) 707). The Magistrate was, therefore, in error in saying in his order of 26-9-1972 that no action was called for against the supurdar and the Sessions Judge was also in error in upholding the view of the Magistrate. Both the orders to that limited extent are, therefore, liable to be quashed.
6. The revision is allowed and the order of the Magistrate dated 26-9-1972 to the extent it observes that no further action is called for against the supurdar is set aside as also the order of the Sessions Judge dated 2-4-1973 to the extent it upholds that part of the Magistrate's order. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Hardoi is directed to pass an order requiring the supurdar either to deliver possession of the crops which were entrusted to him except the sugarcane crop to Lakshmi Narain and Rajendra Narain, respectively within specified time or to render accounts of the said crops or its sale proceeds. If at any stage the Sub-Divisional Magistrate is of the opinion that the supurdar has failed to deliver the whole or any part of the crops which were entrusted to him to the persons directed or has failed to render proper accounts regarding; the crops or its sale proceeds then it will be open to him either to make a criminal complaint for criminal breach of trust against the supurdar or to direct the police for an investigation of commission of such offence against the supurdar.