M.P. Saxena, J.
1. On 26-10-1971 Mohammad Shah Khan and Sufi Shah Khan moved an application before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Terai, Haldwani, District Nainital, for proceedings under Section 145, Cr.P.C. (old) against Mehboob Raza Khan. It was alleged that there was dispute between them and Mehboob Raza over certain agricultural plots, which had given rise to reasonable apprehension of breach of the peace. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate called for a report from the police officer concerned and feeling satisfied that a dispute likely to cause a breach of the peace existed, passed a preliminary order on 22-12-1971. The subject-matter of dispute was attached and the parties were directed to file written statements and affidavits in support of their respective contentions. After considering the material on the record the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate found it difficult to decide as to which party was in possession of the disputed property on the date of the preliminary order and within two months before it. He therefore, made a reference to the Civil Court under Section 146(1), Cr.P.C. (old). This reference was pending in the Court of the Munsif, Nainital on 1-4-1974 when the Cr.P.C. 1973 (hereinafter called the new Code) came into force. The learned Munsif decided the reference on 19-3-1976 by holding that different parties were in possession of different plots. On receipt of this finding the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate passed a final order on 30-4-1976 in conformity with the finding given by the Munsif and directed release of the attached property in the light of that finding. Criminal Revn. No. 1032 of 1976 has been filed against it. It came up for hearing before a learned single Judge of this Court. One of the points which arose for consideration was whether the finding given by the learned Munsif and the order passed by the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate in conformity with that finding can be challenged in this revision under Section 397(1) of the new Code. The learned single Judge was of the opinion that though the revision was under the new Code yet it would be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the old Code, which prohibited a revision against the finding given by the Munsif on a reference made under Section 146(1) of that Code. Since a contrary view was taken by two learned single Judges of this Court in Dildar Khan v. State of U. P. 1976 All Cri C 193 : 1977 Cri LJ 118 and Shaukat Ali v. Sadaqat Ali 1977 All Cri C 59 : 1977 Cri LJ 460 and the question involved was of considerable importance which was likely to affect a large number of revisions pending in this Court, he referred the following question for decision to a larger Bench. 'Can the finding of the Civil Court, given on a reference made under Section 146(1) of the old Cr.P.Code in a case under Section 145, Cr.P.C. pending since before coming into force of the new Cr.P.Code and the final order passed by the Magistrate in conformity with that finding, be questioned in a revision filed under the new Cr.P.Code irrespective of the fact that the said finding and order was unassailable on account of bar imposed by Section 146(1-D) of the old Criminal Procedure Code.
2. In Criminal Revn. No. 1174 of 1977 also proceedings under Section 145, Cr.P.C. were initiated on 15-10-1973, the preliminary order was passed on 16-10-1973 and the question as to which party was in possession of the disputed property at the relevant time was referred to the Civil Court for a finding as the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate was unable to decide it himself. The reference was made in 1973 before the new Code came into force. The Civil Court recorded its finding on 2-8-1976 and returned the record. On receipt of the same, the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate passed an order in the light of the finding and Criminal Revn. No. 1174 of 1977 has been filed against it. Since the same question was involved in this revision also, it was connected with Criminal Revn. No. 1032 of 1976. It is under these circumstances that the matter has come up before us for deciding the said question.
3. Section 146 of the old Code read as follows :
146. (1) If the Magistrate is of opinion that none of the parties was then in such possession, or is unable to decide as to which of them was then in such possession, of the subject of dispute, he may attach it, and draw up a statement of the facts of the case and forward the record of the proceeding to a Civil Court of competent jurisdiction to decide the question whether any and which of the parties was in possession of the subject of dispute at the date of the order as explained in Sub-section (4) of Section 145; and he shall direct the parties to appear before the Civil Court on a date to be fixed by him o
Provided that the District Magistrate or the Magistrate who attached the subject of dispute may withdraw the attachment at any time, if he is satisfied that there is no longer any likelihood of a breach of the peace in regard to the subject of dispute.(IA) On receipt of any such reference, the Civil Court shall peruse the evidence on record and take such further evidence as may be produced by the parties, respectively consider the effect of all such evidence, and after hearing the parties, decide the question of possession so referred to it.
(IB) The Civil Court shall, as far as may be practicable, within a period of three months from the date of the appearance of the parties before it conclude the inquiry and transmit its finding together with the record of the proceeding to the Magistrate by whom the reference was made, and the Magistrate shall, on receipt thereof, proceed to dispose of the proceeding under Section 145 in conformity with the decision of the Civil Court.
(IC) The costs, if any, consequent on a reference for the decision of the Civil Court, shall be costs in the proceedings under this section.
(ID) No appeal shall lie from any find-Ing of the Civil Court given on a reference under this section nor shall any review or revision of any such finding be allowed.
(IE) An order under this section shall be subject to any subsequent decision of a Court of competent jurisdiction.
(2) When the Magistrate attaches the subject of dispute, he may, if he thinks fit (and if no receiver of the property, the subject of dispute, has been appointed by any Civil Court) appoint a receiver thereof, who subject to the control of the Magistrate shall have all the powers of a receiver appointed under the Code of Civil Procedure:Provided that, in the event of a receiver of the property the subject of dispute, being subsequently appointed by any Civil Court, possession shall be made over to him by the receiver appointed by the Magistrate, who shall thereupon be discharged.
4. Before proceeding further, the position under the old Code may be examine ed. In a number of cases the question arose whether in view of the provisions of Sub-section (1-D) of Section 146 it was open to the High Court in revision to interfere with the finding of the Civil Court after the Magistrate had disposed of the proceeding before him in conformity therewith. It was held that in view of the clear provisions of this sub-section the findings of the Civil Court cannot be interfered with by an appeal or application for review or revision. Reference may be made to certain cases in this connection, in Guru Prasad Pandey v. State 1967 All Cri R 321 : 1967 All LJ 649, this Court held that an order passed by a Magistrate under Sub-section (I-B) of Section 146, Cr.P.C. disposing of proceedings under Section 145 Cr.P.C. in conformity with the decision of the Civil Court is not amenable to revisional powers of the Sessions Judge or the High Court in so far as decision of the Civil Court is concerned. The same view was taken in Hazari v. Gauri Shankar 1971 All Cri C 113, S. K. Gaur v. Radhey Shyam 1972 All Cri R 434, Ram Kewal v. State 1972 All Cri R 17, Chandi Kumar v. Prabhat Kumar Biswas : AIR1968Cal216 . The controversy was set at rest by a Full Bench of this Court in Farzand AH v. Shaukat Ali 1970 All LJ 789 : 1971 Cri LJ 29, in which it was held that a revision is no doubt maintainable against the ultimate order of the Magistrate passed in conformity with the decision of the Civil Court under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, it being the order of a Criminal Court, but Sub-section (I-D) of Section 146, Cr.P.C. has been so drafted that it prohibits the revising of the finding of the Civil Court even though it might have 'merged in the decision of the Magistrate.' While analysing Section 146 of the old Code the Full Bench observed (at p. 32 of Cri LJ):
Obviously, the intention of the Legislature in enacting the said sub-section was to attach finality to the finding recorded by the Civil Court on question of possession referred to it under Sub-section (1) of Section 146 by a Magistrate seized of a case under S, 145 so far as those proceedings are concerned and the Magistrate was enjoined under Sub-section (I-B) of Section 146 to dispose of those proceedings in conformity with the finding of the Civil Court, that order, of course, being subject to any subsequent decision of a court of competent jurisdiction as provided in Sub-section (I-E). This object was achieved by providing inter alia in Sub-section (I-D) that no revision of the finding will be allowed which in our opinion clearly means that the finding shall not be interfered with by a superior court exercising revisional jurisdiction under Section 435 or 439 of the Code even when it chooses to call for the record to look to the correctness, legality or propriety of the final order passed by the Magistrate disposing of the proceedings under Section 145.
5. At another place the Full Bench observed (at p. 32 of 1971 Cri LJ):
It is not inconceivable that such a final order passed by the Magistrate even though in conformity with the finding of the Civil Court may be open to challenge on other grounds. After a finding on the question of possession has been returned by the Civil Court in favour of one of the parties, it is possible that the parties may come to an amicable settlement in variance with that finding and inform the Magistrate that there was no longer any likelihood of breach of peace in regard to the subject of the dispute in those proceedings, but the Magistrate instead of withdrawing the attachment under the proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 146 chooses to pass final order under Sub-section (I-B) of the said section disposing of the proceedings in conformity with the finding of the Civil Court. In such a case the aggrieved party may like to challenge that order of the Magistrate by making an application for revision without assailing the finding of the Civil Court. Such a revision application under Section 435 of the Code shall lie against that order, If, however, the only ground of challenge to the Magistrate's order which has been passed in conformity with the finding of the Civil Court is that the finding Itself suffers from some illegality, impropriety or incorrectness, the revision will be liable to be rejected in view of the provisions contained in the said Sub-section (I-D)
6. The Pull Bench, therefore, made It clear that the revision was no doubt maintainable against the order of the Magistrate passed in conformity with the decision of the Civil Court but Section (I-D) of Section 146 Cr.P.C. (old) was so drafted that it prohibited the revising of the finding of the Civil Court, even if it might have merged In the decision of the Magistrate.
7. In Ram Chandra v. State of U. P. : 1966CriLJ1514 it was urged that a proceeding stemming from a criminal matter must always bear the stamp of criminal proceeding. When a Magistrate refers a question as to which party was in possession at the relevant date, what he does is to delegate that duty, initially resting upon him, to the Civil Court. In performing that duty the Civil Court would, therefore, be acting as a Criminal Court just as the Magistrate would be doing where he has to decide the question himself. These contentions were negatived in that case and the proceedings of reference were held to be Civil proceedings. Section (I-D) of the old Code, therefore, imposed a complete bar on the powers of the revisional court so far as the Interference with the finding of the Munsif was concerned.
8. In the case of Chandi Prasad v. Chandra Pratap : AIR1970All119 the question arose whether it was open to a party to assail the validity of the order of reference after the Civil Court had recorded a finding on the question of possession and that finding was adopted by the Magistrate by passing an order under Sub-section (I-B) of Section 146, Criminal Procedure Code. It was held that prima facie it seems that such a course would result in defeating the purpose which the law seeks to achieve namely, to expeditiously dispose of the proceedings under Section 145 Criminal Procedure Code. Apart from the fact that the aggrieved party has a right and opportunity to file a revision against the order of the Magistrate making the reference to the Civil Court at the time when it was made, there is the further fact that the applicant having submitted to the jurisdiction of the Civil Court and contested the case before it, it would be contrary to the provisions of Sub-section (I-D) of Section 146 to permit a party to challenge the finding of the Civil Court by an indirect method. H once it is held that the finding of the Civil Court is not subject to an appeal or to a review or revision, then it must follow that a party cannot be allowed to do that indirectly which he is prohibited from doing directly.
9. The position, is, therefore, absolutely clear that under the old Code though a revision against an order passed by a Magistrate under Sub-section (I-B) of Section 146 Criminal Procedure Code was maintainable yet the finding of the Civil Court could not be challenged in it.
10. The change effected by the new Code may now be considered, Section 146 of the new Code reads as follows:
146. (1) If the Magistrate at any time after making the order under Sub-section (1) of Section 145 considers the case to be one of emergency, or if he decides that none of the parties was then in such possession as is referred to in Section 145 or if he is unable to satisfy himself as to which of them was then In such possession of the subject of dispute, he may attach the subject of dispute until a competent court has determined the rights of the parties thereto with regard to the person entitled to the possession thereof:
Provided that such Magistrate may withdraw the attachment at any time if he is satisfied that there is no longer any likelihood of breach of the peace with regard to the subject of dispute.(2) When the Magistrate attaches the subject of dispute, he may, if no receiver in relation to such subject of dispute has been appointed by any Civil Court, make such arrangements as he considers proper for looking after the property of if he thinks fit, appoint a receiver thereof, who shall have, subject to the control of the Magistrate, all the powers of a receiver appointed under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908:
Provided that in the event of a receiver being subsequently appointed in relation to the subject of dispute by any Civil Court, the Magistrate
(a) shall order the receiver appointed by him to hand over the possession of the subject of dispute to the receiver appointed by the Civil Court and shall thereafter discharge the receiver appointed by him;
(b) may make such other incidental or consequential orders as may be just.
11. This section corresponds to Section 146 of the Code of 1898 as it stood prior to its amendment by the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1955. The provision regarding reference to the Civil Court has been deleted and Sub-section (I-D) has also been dropped. The contention of the learned Counsel for the revisionist is that Sub-section (I-D) was in the nature of a proviso to Sections 435 and 439 of the old Code and as such no bar exists. Under the new Code a person has an unfettered right to file a revision against an order passed by a Magistrate under Section 145 on or after 1-4-1974 and it will be governed by Sections 397, 398, 399 and 401 of the new Code. The only restrictions imposed by Section 397 are that powers of revision shall not be exercised in relation to any interlocutory order passed in any appeal, inquiry, trial or other proceedings and the same person cannot prefer a second revision. He further contends that by virtue of Section 484(1) of the new Code, the old Code stands repealed with effect from 1-4-1974 except to the extent saved under Sub-section (2) thereof. The saving is only to the limited extent of protecting the applicability of old procedure in respect of any appeal, application, trial, enquiry or investigation pending in a particular court or forum at the time of repeal but does not extend to continuation of such proceedings higher up by way of appeal or revision in a superior court. For the purpose of such continuation what is to be applied, is the new .Procedure Code as the old Code must be held to have been completely obliterated from the statute book. Therefore, Section 146 of the old Code must cease to exist in the eye of law and the Superior Court while dealing with an appeal or revision, as the case may be, is debarred from looking into the old provisions. In support of this contention reliance is placed on the cases of Dildar Khan v. State of U. P. 1977 Cri LJ 118 (All) (supra) and Shaukat Ali v. Sadaqat Ali 1977 Cri LJ 460 (All) (supra) decided by this Court. In the former case Katju J., has held (at p. 119):
A revision under Section 397 Cr.P.C. could not be filed directly against the finding of the learned Munsif as it was not an inferior criminal court but when the learned Magistrate passed an order fn conformity with that finding, the find- ing merged in his order and it could be attacked indirectly and collaterally in revision under Section 397, Cr.P.C. 1973 as the bar imposed by Sub-section (I-D) of the old Code was removed.
12. In the latter case Bakshi, J. relying on Dhanraj Jain v. B. K. Biswas (1976) Cri LJ 1297 (Cal) has observed (at p. 461 of 1977 Cri LJ):
Section 484 of the new Code directs that an application pending under the old Code would be continued in accordance with the provisions of that Code From a perusal of Section 482(2) there can be no dispute that if any appeal. application, trial, enquiry or investigation is pending on the date when the Code of Criminal Procedure (new) comes into force, i.e. 1-4-1974 then such appeal, application, trial, enquiry or investigation has to be continued and disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the old Code. In the instant case a reference had been made by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate under Section 146(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 to the civil court. That reference was pending before him when the new Act came into force. As such, the reference had to be continued in accordance with the provisions of the old Code. It is clear from a narration of the facts given above that the reference was In fact continued and a finding was returned by the civil court on 11-5-1974. Thereafter under Section 146(1)(B) the Magistrate proceeded to pass an order in conformity with the decision of the Civil Court on 18-5-1974. Thus the proceedings which are pending under Section 145 Cr.P.C. were decided finally by the S. D. M. on 18-5-1974 in accordance with the provisions of the old Code.
He has further observed:
A revision application which is filed thereafter would, therefore, be governed by the state of law as it exists on that date. In my view, therefore, Section 484 Cr, P. C. (1974) would not bar the filing of the revision before the Sessions Judge under Section 397(1) of the Cr.P.C. I find that it empowers the High Court or the Sessions Judge to examine the record of any proceeding before any inferior court for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the correctness, legality or propriety of any finding, sentence or order recorded or passed and as to the regularity of any proceedings of such inferior court.
13. He, therefore, directed the Sessions Judge to proceed to decide the revision application on merits but made it clear that he would interfere' only if he found the order of the Magistrate legally vitiated or perverse.
14. We have heard the learned Counsel for both sides at great length and have given our anxious consideration to the whole matter. There can be no manner of doubt that the effect of repealing a statute Is to obliterate it completely. It is borne out from the following observations made in the case of State of Punjab v. Mohar Singh AIR 1955 SC 84 : 1955 Cri LJ 254 at p. 257..A repeal, therefore, without any saving clause, would destroy any proceeding whether not yet begun or whether pending at the time of the enactment of the repealing Act and not already prosecuted to a final judgment so as to create a vested right.
The question for consideration is as to what is the effect of repeal of the old Code with a saving clause. Section 484 of the new Code has a provision regarding repeal and saving and the relevant portion of it reads as follows:
484. (1) The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, is hereby repealed.
(2) Notwithstanding such repeal
(a) if, immediately before the date on Which this Code comes into force, there is any appeal, application, trial, inquiry or investigation pending it shall be disposed of, continued, held or made, as the case may be, in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, as in force immediately before such commencement, (hereinafter referred to as the old Code), as if this Code had not come into force:Provided that every inquiry under Chapter XVIII of the old Code, which is pending at the commencement of this Code, shall be dealt with and disposed of in accordance with the provisions of this Code.
15. On a plain reading of the said provision it is clear that notwithstanding the repeal of old Code, all enquiries, applications, etc., made thereunder shall be disposed of, continued, held or made, as the case may be, in accordance with, the provisions of the old Code. It further goes to show that if an appeal or revision was pending on 1-4-1974 it shall also be disposed of according to the provisions of the old Code.
16. The question as to what is the effect of Tepeal of an enactment has been the subject-matter of discussion in a number of cases. In Ajit Kumar v. State : AIR1961Cal560 the Full Bench held that where a part of the old procedure had already been applied and concluded before the amendment came into force it cannot be reopened after amendment.
17. this Court also considered this question in certain cases. In Indraj Singh v. Savitri : AIR1966All234 it was held that the procedural law is generally retrospective but where by the enforcement of such an amendment the validity of a judicial order validly passed is affected, it cannot be given retrospective effect. Again in N. P. Agrawal v. S. K. Azad 1973 All LJ 954 a Division Bench of this Court observed that the rights of the parties are governed by the Act as it existed at the time when the suit was started unless a different intention is expressed in the new Act.
18. Reference may also be made to certain cases decided by the Supreme Court. In State of Orissa v. M. A. Tulloch and Co. : 4SCR461 their Lordships of the Supreme Court observed i (at p. 1294)
The principle on which the saving clause in Section 6 of the General Clauses Act is based is that every later enactment which supersedes an earlier one or puts an end to an earlier state of the law is presumed to intend the continuance of rights accrued and liabilities incurred under the superseded enactment unless there was sufficient indication expressed or implied in the latter enactment designed to obliterate the earlier state, of law.
19. In Dayawati v. Inderjit : 3SCR275 the Supreme Court ruled that if a new law speaks in language which expressly or by clear intendment takes in even pending matters the court of trial as well as the court of appeal must have regard to an intention so expressed and the court of appeal may give effect to such a law even after the judgment of the court of first instance.
20. The aforesaid cases make it absolutely clear that unless the later enactment which supersedes an earlier one expressly or impliedly puts an end to an earlier state of law the rights of the party accruing under the superseded enactment cannot be taken away. There is no express provision in the new Code to the effect that the legality, correctness or propriety of the finding given by the Civil Court on a reference made under Section 146 can be looked into in a revi sion under Section 397, Cr.P.C. if it has merged in the order of the Magistrate passed under Section 145. Reference has already been made to cases under the old Code in which it was held that the finding of the civil court is not subject to an appeal, review or revision even if it might have merged in the decision of a Magistrate. Even under the new Code by virtue of saving clause, the legislature has clearly provided that proceedings pending on 1-4-1974 shall be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the old Code. There is no reason why at subsequent stages the rights of the parties should not be determined according to that law. If a different interpretation is given, an anomalous situation would arise inasmuch as if a revision was pending on 1-4-74 it would be disposed of under the old Code but if a revision was filed on the same day it would be disposed of under the provisions of the new Code. There is no reason why the rights of the two parties should not be decided on uniform basis. Even if there be any conflict between the provisions, it is the duty of the court to put harmonious- constructions, In Mahijibhai M. Barot v. Manibhai Gokul Bhai : 2SCR436 it has been laid down that in procedural matters, if there is a conflict in construction, then construction that maintains rather than disturbs equilibrium is to be adopted. Therefore, in the interest of harmonious construction the saving clause will be deemed to provide that if a pending matter is decided under the provisions of the old Code the same provisions will be applied at subsequent stages. We are fortified in this conclusion by the decision of the Supreme Court in Keshev Lai v. Mohan Lai : 3SCR623 . Section 29(2) of the Bombay Act 57 of 1947 was amended by Act XVIII of 1955 conferring upon the High Court a jurisdiction wider than the jurisdiction exercisable under Section 115, C.P. C. This amendment was made while a revision filed against the appellate order under Section 29(1) of the Bombay Act 57 of 1947 was pending. The question arose whether the High Court in exercise of its amplified jurisdiction under the Amendment Act could set aside, modify or alter the decision of the appellate court. It was held that the High Court could not exercise the amplified jurisdiction and the revision had to be decided in accordance with the limitations imposed under Section 115 C.P. C.
21. In the case of N. G. Mitra v. State of Bihar : 1970CriLJ1396 an appeal had been preferred from the conviction under Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. During the pendency of the appeal Sub-section (3) of Section 5 was repealed. It was contended in appeal that the presumption under Section 5(3) of the Prevention of Corruption Act would not be available to be drawn in appeal. This contention was negatived by the Supreme Court and it was held that whatever procedure was correctly adopted and concluded under the old Act cannot be opened again for the purposes of applying new Procedure and that presumption was rightly drawn.
22. After a re'sume' of all the cases their Lordships of the Orissa High Court observed in Damodar Panigrahi v. B. Panigrahi 1977 Cri LJ 142 (Orissa) (at p. 148 of Cri LJ):
Thus considering the various principles enunciated by the aforesaid decisions and keeping in mind the mandatory provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 484 of the new Criminal Procedure Code there can be no doubt that a proceeding under Section 145 of the old Criminal Procedure Code initiated before commencement of the new Criminal Procedure Code must be continued and completed, or in other words, disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the old law. Thus, if under the old law a finding of the Civil Court accepted by the Magistrate is made unassailable, it has to remain so even where that proceeding is impugned in revision or appeal under the provisions of the new Criminal Procedure Code. The Sessions Judge has to decide the revision before him in accordance with the limitations imposed under Section 146 Criminal Procedure Code (old).
We are respectfully in agreement with the aforesaid view. Our answer to the question referred to us, therefore, is that a revision lies under Section 397(1) against the order of a Magistrate passed under Section 145 in conformity with the finding of the civil court but legality propriety or correctness of the finding given by the civil court cannot be challenged in it even if it might have merged in the order of the Magistrate. The position remains the same as laid down by the Full Bench of this Court in Farzand Ali v. Shaukat Ali 1971 Cri LJ 2f (supra). This is so by virtue of the saving clause. The correctness of the order of the Magistrate alone can be challenged on grounds of jurisdiction or that it is not in conformity with the finding of the civil court.
23. Let the record of the case be returned to the Bench concerned with the aforesaid finding.