Jindra Lal, J.
1. This case has been reported by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Ambala, with a recommendation that the order dated 22nd of November, 1967, passed by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Jagadhri in case No. 183/2 of 1967 be quashed and a complaint filed by the present respondent, Shri Ved Parkash Chopra, Advocate, Jagadhri, be dismissed.
2. The facts on which this recommendation has been made have been set out very clearly by the learned Additional Sessions Judge and need not be set out fully. In brief the petitioner, Shri Data Ram, Inspector, Co-operative Societies, Surgacane, Model Town. Yamunanagar, was appointed a Returning Officer by the Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Haryana, to scrutinize the nomination papers in connection with the election of the Managing Committee of the Naharpur Cane Growers' Co-operative Society Limited, Naharpur, to be held under the Punjab Co-operative Societies Act, 1961. The scrutiny was being held on the 23rd of August, 1967, and Madan Lal, one of the candidates, being keen to get the nomination paper of the other candidate Dosti rejected, engaged the respondent, Shri Ved Parkash Chopra, as his counsel. Dosti had produced a witness and the respondent-counsel had started cross-examining him when the petitioner was called out by somebody and on returning to the room where the scrutiny was being held he declined permission to the respondent to participate claiming that there was no provision for a lawyer to represent a candidate. The petitioner is alleged to have told the respondent that he did not know his job and was misleading the petitioner. He also tore away the statement of Doom Singh which had been reduced into writing. The respondent made a complaint before the learned Magistrate under Sections 166 and 500, Indian Penal Code, against the present petitioner who raised an objection that in view of want of sanction under Section 197, Criminal Procedure Code, and also in view of Section 84 of the Punjab Co-operative Societies Act, the complaint must be dismissed.
The learned Magistrate did not agree with this contention of the petitioner and held that there was no ground for dismissing the complaint on the objections raised. The petitioner went up in revision and the only ground on which recommendation is made for the acceptance of this revision is that when the incident took place the petitioner was acting as a Judge within the meaning of Section 19, Indian Penal Code, and a Court could not take cognizance of the complaint in view of Section 197, Criminal Procedure Code. The learned Additional Sessions Judge relied upon S. C. Abboy Naidu v. Kanniappa Chettiar, AIR 1929 Mad 175, in support of his view.
3. Section 197, Cr. P. C., inter alia provides for protection to any person who is a 'Judge' within the meaning of Section 19 of the Indian Penal Code when he is accused of any offence alleged to have been committed by him while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty and it is provided that no Court shall take cognizance of such an offence.
4. Section 19, Indian Penal Code, provides that the word 'Judge' denotes not only every person who is officially designated as a Judge, but also every person, who is empowered by law to give, in any legal proceeding, civil or criminal, a definitive judgment, or a judgment which, if not appealed against, would be definitive, or a judgment which, if confirmed by some other authority, would be definitive,
5. It is difficult, in view of the definition of the word 'Judge' in Section 19, Indian Penal Code, to hold that the petitioner when he was scrutinizing the nomination papers, was acting as a Judge.
6. It is possible to hold that in the wider sense of the word, the petitioner might have been acting in legal proceeding, if by legal proceeding is meant performing functions under the authority of some law. It is not, however, possible to hold that the functions which the petitioner was performing at the relevant time were in either civil or criminal proceeding. Nor is it possible to hold that he was to give a definitive judgment in the matter.
6-A. Learned counsel for the respondent-complainant has taken me through the provisions of the Punjab Co-operative Societies Act, 1961, and the Rules made thereunder.
7, Section 26 of the Act lays down that the members of the committee of a cooperative society shall be elected in the manner prescribed and no person shall be elected so unless he is a shareholder of the society. Rule 23 of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Rules, 1963, provides that the members of the committee of a co-operative Society shall be elected in accordance with the rules set out in Appendix 'C'. Rule 25 lays down certain disqualifications for membership of the committee. Rule 2 of Appendix 'C' provides that no person shall be eligible for election as a member of the committee if he is subject to any disqualification mentioned in Rule 25. Rule 3 (5) of Appendix 'C' provides that 'the nomination papers shall be scrutinized bythe Returning Officer on the date specified for the purpose. The list ofthe validly nominated candidates for election shall be announced, where necessary zone-wise, four days before the general meeting is held. The Registrar may by general or special order grant exemption from this sub-rule to any cooperative society or any class of co-operative societies.'
8. In view of these provisions, it has been urged by the learned counsel forthe respondent that there is no procedureprescribed for holding an inquiry, hearing arguments, taking evidence on oath or giving a definitive judgment. All that is required is that the Returning Officer should look at the nomination papers and see that a candidate is not subject to any disqualification mentioned in Rule 25. The words 'proceeding' and 'judgment' are not defined either in the Indian Penal Code or in the Criminal Procedure Code but Section 2 (9) of the Civil P. C. defines 'judgment' as the statement given by the Judge of the grounds of a decree or order.
9. In Stroud's Judicial Dictionary, Third Edition, Vol. 2, 'judgment' is said to be the sentence of the law pronounced by the Court upon the matter contained in the record and the decision must be one obtained in an action. Volume 1 of the same dictionary defines 'action' as meaning a litigation in a Civil Court for the recovery of individual right or redress of individual wrong, inclusive, in its proper legal sense, of suits by the Crown. it would mean, therefore, that any order passed by an officer in proceeding under any law is not a judgment as contemplated by Section 19 of the Indian Penal Code. To give it a different meaning would mean that any officer who is deciding any matter which he is enjoined by law to decide would be a judge as defined in Section 19. Indian Penal Code, and would enjoy all the protection contemplated by Section 197. Cr. P. C. It must, therefore, be held that the petitioner could not be considered to be a judge as denned by Section 19, Indian Penal Code, and Section 197, Cr. P. C., would not protect him.
10. It was further urged by the learned counsel for the respondent that a judge is protected under Section 197, Cr. P. C. only as long as he is a judge because after he ceases to be a judge the protection is not available to him. For this proposition he relied upon Keshavlal Mohanlal Shah v. State of Bombay, AIR 1961 SC 1395, where it was held that no previous sanction under Section 197 Criminal Procedure Code, is necessary for a Court to take cognizance of an offence committed by a magistrate while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty if he had ceased to be a Magistrate at the time the complaint is made or police report is submitted to the Court, i.e., at the time of the taking of cognizance of the offence committed. It is urged, therefore, that when the complaint was made by the respondent before the Magistrate, the petitioner had already given his decision and was no longer acting as a judge. There appears to be merit also in this last point urged on behalf of the respondent.
11. It remains now to deal with the ruling relied upon by the learned counsel for the petitioner on the basis of which recommendation has been made by the learned Additional Sessions Judge. The learned Judge who decided the case reported in AIR 1929 Mad 175 confining himself to Section 19 of the Indian Penal Code held that legal proceedings are proceedings in which a judgment may or must be given, a judgment being not an arbitrary decision but a decision arrived at judicially. The learned Judge further held that in his opinion 'legal proceeding' means a proceeding regulated or prescribed by law in which a judicial decision may or must be given. It is difficult to see how this decision by a Returning Officer whose duty was to scrutinize nomination papers under the Punjab Co-operative Societies Act, 1961, can be called judgment in a civil proceeding or a judicial decision as commonly understood. Consequently, I decline to accept the recommendation of the learned Additional Sessions Judge and dismiss this revision.