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J. Subba Rao Vs. Brundaban Chandra Sahoo and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtOrissa High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revision No. 570 of 1983
Judge
Reported in1985(II)OLR141
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1973 - Sections 250
AppellantJ. Subba Rao
RespondentBrundaban Chandra Sahoo and anr.
Appellant AdvocateJayant Das, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateNone
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases Referred(Ramasagar Singh v. Chandrika Singh) A. I. R.
Excerpt:
.....in this case inasmuch as the learned magistrate's satisfaction to the effect that there was no reasonable ground for making the accusation must be an objective one and in the present case, the magistrate has mechanically reproduced the language of section 250(2) rather than recording his satisfaction on any objective basis and in that view of the matter, the impugned order is liable to be set aside. this opinion of the magistrate must be an opinion on the basis of some objective data and not a fanciful or whimsical opinion and if these two requirements are satisfied, then the magistrate would give a show cause to the person upon whose complaint or information the accusation was made sub- section (2) of section 250 provides that the magistrate shall consider the cause shown by the..........filed charge sheet against the two accused persons under secs. 341/323/34, indian penal code. the accused persons stood their trial of the said offences but ultimately by judgment dated 7. 9. 1983, they were acquitted under section 255(1) of the code while passing the order of acquittal, the learned magistrate was of the opinion that there was no reasonable ground for the management of the indian rare earths limited to ledge such an information against the two accused persons implicating them in the alleged offences for which they have been suffering for the last six years for no fault of them and, therefore, directed that the informant who was the project officer of the indian pare earths limited, should explain as to why he should not pay compensation to the accused under.....
Judgment:

G.B. Pattnaik, J.

1. The petitioner who is the Manager of the Indian Fare Earths Limited, Chatrapur, being aggrieved by the order of the Magistrate dated 24. 10. 1933 ordering him to pay Rs. 100/- towards compensation under Section 250(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter referred to as the 'Code' ) has preferred this revision.

2. On 4th of March, 1977, the petitioner had written a letter to the Officer-in-charge, Chatrapur P. S. in the district of Ganjam intimating that their Company Bus which was carrying officers of the Company on that day when stopped at Chatrapur near Railway Station Cross, another bus came from behind and three passengers of the latter bus dragged the driver of the Company Bus, abused him and beat him in presence of the officers and staff of the Indian Rare Earths Limited who were in the bus. Of the persons who assaulted the driver was one Mr. Sahu, Cashier of the Andhra Bank at Rambha are another person was working in the Aska Multipurpose Co-operative Society. On the said information by the petitioner, a case was registered at Chatrapur Police Station and ultimately G. R. Case No. 88 of 1977 was instituted in the Court of the Judicial Magistrate Chatrapur. The Police after completion of investigation filed charge sheet against the two accused persons under Secs. 341/323/34, Indian Penal Code. The accused persons stood their trial of the said offences but ultimately by judgment dated 7. 9. 1983, they were acquitted under Section 255(1) of the Code While passing the order of acquittal, the learned Magistrate was of the opinion that there was no reasonable ground for the management of the Indian Rare Earths Limited to ledge such an information against the two accused persons implicating them in the alleged offences for which they have been suffering for the last six years for no fault of them and, therefore, directed that the informant who was the Project Officer of the Indian Pare Earths Limited, should explain as to why he should not pay compensation to the accused under Section 250 of the Code. The petitioner pursuant to the said notice submitted his show cause indicating therein that he had received the said information from the Security Officer of the Company and as the administrative head of the Company had in good faith reported the matter to the Police to prevent further recurrence of similar incident. The learned Magistrate, however, by the impugned order came to the conclusion that the informant did not act in good faith while lodging the information and, therefore, incurred the liability to pay compensation under Section 250 of the Code. The petitioner challenges the said order in this revision.

3. Mr. Das appearing for the petitioner contends that the pre-condition for passing an order under Section 250 of the Code has not been satisfied in this case inasmuch as the learned Magistrate's satisfaction to the effect that there was no reasonable ground for making the accusation must be an objective one and in the present case, the Magistrate has mechanically reproduced the language of Section 250(2) rather than recording his satisfaction on any objective basis and in that view of the matter, the impugned order is liable to be set aside. He further submits that from the evidence on record, it is established that though the petitioner wrote the letter to the police informing about the incident, but he did so only as the administrative head of the Company on the basis of the information received by him from the Security Officer and, therefore, he is not the real informant to be penalised under Section 250 of the Code. Though the accused persons had entered appearance through counsel, but when the case was beard, there was none to represent them. Both the submissions urged on behalf of the petitioner require careful examination.

4. Section 250 of the Coda is the provision empowering the Magistrate to award compensation for accusation without reasonable cause. This provision has a two-i old object, firstly, to award by a summary order some compensation to the person against whom there was no reasonable ground for making the accusation and secondly, the aim is at preventing persons from making accusation without any reasonable ground. But the test for applicability of the section is 'total absence of any reasonable ground for the accusation, which in most cases tantamounts to 'actual knowledge of the falsity of the accusation'. Under Sub- Section (I) of Section 250, when the Magistrate either discharges or acquits an accused and is of the opinion that there was no reasonable ground for making the accusation against the said accused, then he may by the order of discharge or acquittal call upon the person upon whose complaint or information the accusation was made to show cause why he should not pay compensation, to such accused. Thus, the requirement of this subsection is that there must be an order of discharge or acquittal and the Magistrate must be of the opinion that there was no reasonable ground for making the accusation. This opinion of the Magistrate must be an opinion on the basis of some objective data and not a fanciful or whimsical opinion and if these two requirements are satisfied, then the Magistrate would give a show cause to the person upon whose complaint or information the accusation was made Sub- Section (2) of Section 250 provides that the Magistrate shall consider the cause shown by the person concerned and must be satisfied that there was no reasonable ground for making the accusation and then he will record reasons and * make an order regarding the amount of compensation to be paid by such complainant or informant to the accused. Thus, under Sub- Section (2) of Section 250, the Magistrate must consider any cause which the complainant may show and must also record such cause and then the Magistrate must be satisfied again after considering the cause shown that there was no reasonable ground for making the accusation. This satisfaction of the learned Magistrate also must be a satisfaction on objective basis about the total absence of any reasonable ground for the accusation or that the informant had actual knowledge of the falsity of the accusation. The further requirement of the Sub-section is that the Magistrate in his order awarding compensation must state his reasons why he deems that there was absence of any reasonable ground for making the accusation and for that purpose he must deal with the facts of the case with a criticism of the incident involved. Merely saying that prosecution evidence is unsatisfactory and on consideration of the show cause the Magistrate considers the accusation as groundless, 'is not sufficient to attract the provisions of Section 250 of the Code. It is incumbent on the Magistrate to record a finding that the accusation was groundless. The recording of such finding is essential and an omission to do so vitiates the proceeding. The obvious object of the Legislature in requiring the Magistrate to record his reasons in such cases is that the power given under the section should not be used indiscriminately and further to enable the Court of Appeal or revision to judge the sufficiency of the grounds on which the order is based. Keeping in view the aforesaid requirements of law, I would examine the impugned order together with the judgment of acquittal and the evidence in the case.

5. The prosecution examined 9 witnesses of whom P. W. 3 was the injured driver and P. Ws. 1, 2 and 7 were the employees of the Company who were travelling in the bus. P. W. 4 is the present petitioner who had given information to the police in this case. P. W. 5 is the Medical Officer who examined P. W. 3, the injured and P. Ws. 6 and 9 were the investigating 'officers. P. W. 8 is supposed to be an independent witness. The learned Magistrate after discussing their evidence at great length came to the conclusion that the prosecution failed to bring home the charges against the two accused persons and then recorded a finding that there was no reasonable ground for the management to lodge such an information against the two accused persons. This in my opinion is a mechanical reproduction of the language used in Sub- Section (1) of Section 250 without any objective basis. The Magistrate in the ordering portion has recorded that the accused persons are acquitted as mistake of fact. In my opinion, Section 250 is not intended to be attracted in every case of acquittal. A Magistrate should exercise his judicial discretion and power under Section 250 with great restraint and has to give his reasons as to how from the materials produced before him he derives satisfaction that there was 'total absence of any reasonable ground' for the accusation in question. In my opinion, in the present case, the learned Magistrate has not given any reasons from which he was satisfied about the existence of absence of any reasonable ground for the accusation,

6. Coming to the impugned order which the learned Magistrate has passed, after considering the show cause of the petitioner, I find that the Magistrate has also committed an error inexercising his power under Sub- Section (2) of Section 250 in the facts and circumstances of the ease. The evidence of P.W.4 (the present petitioner) discloses that he received the information about the alleged incident from P.W.3,the injured driver, and also the Security Officer of the Company. The only ground on the basis of which the Magistrate appears to have derived his satisfaction about the absence of reasonableness for the accusation in question is that since the informant was not present at the time of the incident, it was not possible for him to indicate the names of the accused persons. This, in my opinion, is wholly untanable and cannot be a reasonable basis for the satisfaction of the learned Magistrate as to the absence of reasonableness of the accusation in question. The satisfaction of the Magistrate as required under Sub- Section (2) of Section 250 of the Code, must be on art objective basis and such basis also must be disclosed in the order of the Magistrate. After examining the impugned order, I find that to be absent and in my view, therefore, the order passed under Sub- Section (2) of Section 250 cannot be sustained in law.

7. That apart from the evidence of P. W. 4, it appears that he was the administrative head of the Company and on getting information about the incident from the Security Officer who in turn had come to know of the same from P. W. 3, the injured, had merely intimated the fact to the police The real informant, therefore, is not P. W. 4 who is the petitioner here, but should be either the Security Officer or the injured driver. As has been held in the case of (Ramasagar Singh v. Chandrika Singh) A. I. R. 1961 Patna, 364 :

'...It, however, is a question of fact in each case to be determined, who was responsible for making the accusation. In most cases, the person who actually sends information of the commission of offence to the police officer or to any other competent authority is not necessarily of a pet-son responsible for the initiation of the proceeding against the accused. Whenever, any information of the commission of any offence is conveyed to any person,. it is his bounden duty as an honest citizen of the State to communicate that information to the proper authority.

For doing this duty he should not be saddled with compensation, if eventually the information is found by a Court of -competent jurisdiction to be false and vexatious. In such cases the persons who actually alleged the commission of the offence and professed to have seen it, should be regarded as the real complainant for the purpose of Section 250, and not the person who communicated their version to the proper authority...'

Applying the aforesaid dictum to the facts of the present case, there cannot but be any other opinion that the petitioner had merely communicated the fact as the administrative had to the police officer on receiving the, said information from the injured driver and the Security Officer of the Company. At that point of time on receiving information, it was his duty to immediately inform the police about the incident. He was not required then to make any independent enquiry and thereafter to lodge information or complaint. In this view of the matter, for the accusation made, the petitioner cannot be held responsible though technically he is the informant and, therefore, in my opinion, he cannot be saddled with compensation under Section 250 of the Code.

8. In the result, therefore, I set aside the order of the Magistrate dated 24 10. 1933 and allow the criminal revision.


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