M.M. Punchhi, J.
1. To one offence, there are two versions. One is put forth as a police challan and the other by the complainant. The accused persons vary. Besides that, the accused persons have a cross version. Their version is embodied in another police challan. All these three matters were ordered by K.P.S. Sandhu J. to be heard by the trial Judge together vide order dt. 14.2.1984 passed in Cr. M. No. 5945-M of 1983.
2. An application was filed by the accused persons before the Court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Barnala that the two afore-referred to cases i.e. the police challan and the complaint against them be consolidated and clubbed together. The learned Judge after hearing the parties passed the impugned order whereby he clubbed and consolidated the police challan and the complaint and ordered evidence to be recorded in State v. Karnail Singh which he read in the complaint case Rajinder Singh v. Karnail Singh. The learned Counsel for the petitioner assailing the aforesaid order contends that these two cases be tried together, but not consolidatedly, that is, the evidence be recorded separately in both the cases and may be disposed of simultaneously. A bench of this Court in which I was a member in State of Punjab v. Wassan Singh Cr. R. No. 3-R of 1982 decided on 10.2.1984 (reported in 1984 Cri LJ 889), had occasion to observe as follows:
one is to be alive to the provisions of Article 20(2) of the Constitution providing that no person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once. On the same principles, the provisions of Section 300, Cr.P.C. are equally pertinent. It provides that when a person who has once been tried by a Court of competent jurisdiction for an offence and convicted or acquitted of such offence shall, while such conviction or acquittal remains in force, not be liable to be tried again for the same offence, nor on the same facts for any other offence for which a different charge from the one made against him might have been made under Sub-section (1) of Section 221, or for which he might have been convicted under Sub-section (2) thereof. Now if there were to be two separate trials, the first trial would in the normal circumstances tend to end up in either the conviction or acquittal of Wassan Singh. In that eventuality, the second trial of Wassan Singh along with others cannot proceed in view of the aforesaid provisions. At this stage, it is to be remembered that the Court takes cognizance of the offence and not the offender. The Court of Session under Section 193 of the Cr.P.C. takes cognizance of the offence upon the committal of the case relating to that offence to it by a Magistrate.
3. The learned Judge is taking cognizance of the offence and not the offenders which are arraigned either in the challan or in the complaint case, or partially in both. Thus, his order in clubbing and consolidating the trials cannot in any event be called improper or illegal. But at the same time a word of caution need be added for him that the complainant should in no event be prejudiced by such a course. The list of witnesses submitted along with the complaint, which witnesses were presumably examined by the committing Court, would have to be exhausted by the Public Prosecutor and it should be vouchsafed that the complainant in that regard does not suffer. The fear of the learned Counsel for the petitioners that the evidence meant to be led in the challan case and the one meant to be led in the complaint case would be mutually exclusive and would necessarily lead to acquittal of the accused on account of conflicting versions has to be allayed by observing that it need not be so as the Court would have to sift the grain from the chaff being its bounden duty. With these observations, this petition is dismissed in limine.