Gurdev Singh, J.
1. This order will dispose of two petitions under Section 561-A of the Criminal Procedure Code for quashing proceedings under Sections 107/151 of the Criminal Procedure Code pending against the petitioners in the Court of Shri Jogindar Pal Puri, Magistrate First Class (Executive), Ludhiana against the petitioners. It is contended that even on the allegations contained in the report on which the security proceedings were started against the petitioners no case for taking action under Section 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code was made out, that if there was any danger of breach of peace that was momentary and it ceased to exist on the day the report was lodged, and that the proceedings against the petitioners had been instituted merely to harass them and with the ulterior purpose of punishing them for their alleged support of the strike to which the students of the Agricultural University, Ludhiana, had resorted as far back as January, 1965.
2. On reference to the record I find that on 14th January, 1965, the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Ludhiana, addressed a letter to the Station House Officer, Sadar Police Station, Ludhiana, complaining that a group of students, who had been on strike and who had not been attending the classes, with the help of outsiders, had been making attempts to prevent students from entering the compus, and this constituted a threat to peaceful atmosphere in the College. Names of 13 persons, who were alleged to have been preventing the students from attending the classes, were mentioned in this letter. They are all petitioners in Criminal Revision No. 29-M of 1965. Krishan Murari and four others who are the petitioners in the connected petition (Criminal Revision No. 19-M of 1965) are, however, not among them. The concluding portion of this complaint addressed to the police runs thus:
Some of the students particularly under the guidance of one Kuldip Singh, Roll No. 270, Second Year, even entered the hostels to prevent the students from attending classes. Now that normalcy has been attained, the small sore spot in front of the campus where some of the unruly elements of the class are collecting with outsiders, is a threat to peaceful atmosphere in the college.
3. On receiving this complaint, A. S.I. Ravinder Nath at once initiated proceedings under Sections 107/151 of the Criminal Procedure Code not only against the 13 persons named by the Dean but also against five others, namely, Kishan Murari, Darshan Singh Bagi, Tej Singh, Manjit Singh and Jagrup Singh (petitioners in Criminal Revision No. 19-M of 1965).
4. On the very next day, i.e., 15th Tanuary, 1965, the Ilaqa Magistrate passed a preliminary order calling upon these 18 persons to furnish security in the sum of Rs. 5,000 each for then good behaviour as well as for their appearance in Court. On 27th January, 1965, when the 18 students, against whom the proceedings were being taken under Sections 107/151 of the Criminal Procedure Code, appeared in Court, no evidence was recorded and the case was adjourned, to 11th February, 1965. On that adjourned hearing not only none of the prosecution witnesses appeared but even the Prosecuting Sub-Inspector absented himself and the Magistrate adjourned further proceedings to 24th February, 1965. Again, the prosecution did not produce any of the witnesses is the case, and the Magistrate as a matter of par indulgence adjourned the case to 11th March, 1965. On that adjourned hearing the Prosecuting Sub-Inspector was again found absent and the State was not represented. No witness for the prosecution was in attendance even then, and the Magistrate directed that the further proceedings in the case would take place on 24th March, 1965. It was thereafter that the petitioners approached this Court for redress under Section 561-A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
5. S. Ajit Singh Bains has urged that from the manner in which proceedings had been conducted in the Court of the Ilaqa Magistrate, it is abundantly clear that the object of the authorities was merely to harass the petitioners because the College Authorities had somehow or other formed an impression that they were responsible for the strike. This contention is not without force. The manner in which the proceedings have been conducted by the learned Magistrate and the conduct of the prosecution in not producing its evidence on the various dates fixed for the hearing of the case, not to speak of the absence of the Prosecuting Sub-Inspector who was to represent the State at some of the hearings, clearly indicate that the prosecution has been deliberately prolonging the case with a view to harass the petitioners.
6. Proceedings under Sections 107/151 of the Criminal Procedure Code are intended to deal with threatened apprehension of breach of peace, and to avoid such a breach, if is incumbent upon the authorities concerned to take prompt action not only by making a report to the Magistrate concerned but also by producing material before the Magistrate to enable him to take proper steps to bind down the persons who threaten to commit breach of peace. After a preliminary order is passed against the persons complained against, the police cannot be permitted to prolong, the proceedings by delaying the production of its evidence so as to keep them bound down for an indefinite period, and it is the duty of the Magistrate to ensure that by this circuitous method and questionable means the police do not succeed in harassing the persons against whom ultimately it may be found that there was no case for proceedings under Section 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The Magistrate must be vigilant in such cases. Of course, it is expedient that the prosecution must be afforded adequate opportunity to produce its evidence, but if it fails to produce the necessary evidence without sufficient cause despite adequate opportunity, the Magistrate is neither expected to keep the proceedings pending for an indefinite period nor will he be justified is granting unnecessary adjournments to the prosecution. In cases where the Magistrate finds that the prosecution is deliberately avoiding production of its evidence and seeks adjournment of the proceedings for no adequate reason, he must act with some firmness and guard against giving an impression that he is a party to the harassment of the person proceeded against. In the instant case, the Magistrate does not appear to have been alive to this aspect of the matter and he had adopted the easy course of adjourning the case from time to time without sufficient cause simply because the prosecution would not produce its evidence and the Prosecuting Sub-Inspector avoided attending the Court at some of the hearings.
7. The manner in which the proceedings have been conducted itself justifies the quashing of the proceedings, but apart from this the proceedings against the petitioners cannot be permitted to go on as there is no longer any apprehension of breach of peace from the petitioners. The overt act attributed to them was committed on 14th January, 1965, and they were charged with preventing students from attending their classes. The strike in the Agricultural College, Ludhiana, with which the respondents are alleged to have been concerned, ad ended during those days, and there has been no apprehension of the breach of peace from any or the petitioners thereafter. Whatever the apprehension there was when the proceedings were instituted has long ceases to exist. Thus, there is no occasion for an order under Section 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code against any of the petitioners especially when they have been under the interim security bonds for the past seven months as a result of the preliminary order.
8. Both the petitions are, accordingly, accepted. The proceedings pending against them in the Court of the Ilaqa Magistrate at Ludhiana are hereby quashed and the petitioners shall stand discharged from the bonds executed by them in obedience to the preliminary order of the Magistrate, dated 15th January, 1965.