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Municipal Corporation of Delhi Vs. Shiv Prasad - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 199(N) of 1966
Judge
Reported in(1969)3SCC783
ActsPrevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 - Section 16(1)(a)(i); Code Of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C), 1973 - Section 417(3), 417, 419
AppellantMunicipal Corporation of Delhi
RespondentShiv Prasad
DispositionAppeal Allowed
Excerpt:
.....commissioner. the special leave was granted and the appeal was filed and was registered as criminal appeal no. 44-d of 1964. the petition of appeal was signed by sri tarachand brijmohanlal on behalf of the municipal corporation. the high court upheld the objection and dismissed the appeal. the municipal corporation has filed the present appeal after obtaining a certificate from the high court. section 491 empowers the commissioner to delegate his functions to any municipal officer or other municipal employee. the question is whether the commissioner or his delegate authorised the institution of the appeal. having regard to the fact that sri manoharlal was competent to engage counsel and to sign the petition of appeal and the application for special leave to appeal, he could..........commissioner. the special leave was granted and the appeal was filed and was registered as criminal appeal no. 44-d of 1964. the petition of appeal was signed by sri tarachand brijmohanlal on behalf of the municipal corporation. on april 28, 1965 when the appeal came up for hearing the respondent raised the preliminary objection that the appeal had not been properly filed. the high court upheld the objection and dismissed the appeal. the municipal corporation has filed the present appeal after obtaining a certificate from the high court.2. section 476(1), clauses (h) and (i) of the delhi municipal corporation act, 1957 authorises the commissioner to institute and prosecute any suit or other legal proceeding and to obtain such legal advice and assistance as he from time to time.....
Judgment:

R.S. BACHAWAT, J.

1. On May 30, 1962 the Municipal Corporation of Delhi through their Assistant Municipal Prosecutor, Shri Nirmal Kumar Jain, filed a complaint against the respondent charging him with an offence under Section 16(1)(a)(i), read with Section 7 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. Sri Jain has been authorised by a resolution of the Municipal Corporation to institute and conduct prosecutions arising under the Act. On January 23, 1964 the Magistrate acquitted the respondent. On May 5, 1964 an application under Section 417(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure for special leave to appeal from the order of acquittal was filed on behalf of the Municipal Corporation. The application was signed on their behalf by Sri Tarachand Brijmohanlal, Advocate. The Advocate held a power of Attorney from Sri Manohar Lal, Assistant Commissioner. The special leave was granted and the appeal was filed and was registered as Criminal Appeal No. 44-D of 1964. The petition of appeal was signed by Sri Tarachand Brijmohanlal on behalf of the Municipal Corporation. On April 28, 1965 when the appeal came up for hearing the respondent raised the preliminary objection that the appeal had not been properly filed. The High Court upheld the objection and dismissed the appeal. The Municipal Corporation has filed the present appeal after obtaining a certificate from the High Court.

2. Section 476(1), clauses (h) and (i) of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 authorises the Commissioner to institute and prosecute any suit or other legal proceeding and to obtain such legal advice and assistance as he from time to time thinks necessary or expedient. Section 491 empowers the Commissioner to delegate his functions to any municipal officer or other municipal employee. The question is whether the Commissioner or his delegate authorised the institution of the appeal. The implication of this point was not fully grasped by the parties, and consequently the necessary materials were not produced in the High Court. The relevant papers were produced in this Court by counsel for the appellant and were inspected by Mr Frank Anthony, counsel for the respondent. We find that by an order, dated January 8, 1964 Sri R.R. Bahl, Commissioner, delegated all the powers conferred on him under the various provisions of the Act to Sri N.N. Tandon, Deputy Commissioner. The records show that on March 7, 1964 Sri Tandon agreed with the office note that the appeal should be filed. We hold that Sri Tandon authorised the filing of the appeal and that he was competent to do so. It also appears that by an order, dated June 11, 1963 Sri R.R. Bahl, Commissioner, authorised the Assistant Commissioners (HQ) to exercise the powers in respect of clauses (c), (h) and (i) of sub-section (1) of Section 476 to the following extent:

“(i) to engage under his signature a counsel on the prescribed scale of fees or on such as may be determined by the CM,

(ii) to make an affidavit required by law,

(iii) to sign plaints and written statements or other applications in any civil or criminal proceedings under advice of the L.A. or the M.P. provided that no application for a withdrawal or compromise will be made without the orders of the CM.”

LA means Legal Adviser and MP means Municipal Prosecutor. It is common case that Sri Manohar Lal was an Assistant Commissioner, (HQ) (head quarters) and that he acted under the advice of the Municipal Prosecutor. Sri Manohar Lal had thus clearly authority to engage counsel and to sign plaints, written statements and other applications in civil or criminal proceedings. The question is whether he could authorise counsel to sign and present applications and petitions of appeal in a criminal proceeding under Section 417 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, special leave to appeal from an order of acquittal can be obtained on an application made to the High Court by the complaint in this behalf. Under Section 419 an appeal is made in the form of a petition in writing presented by the appellant or his pleader. We think that the expression “other applications in any criminal proceedings” in the order of the Commissioner, dated June 11, 1963 is broad enough to cover an application for special leave to appeal under Section 417(3) and an appeal in the form of a petition under Section 419. Having regard to the fact that Sri Manoharlal was competent to engage counsel and to sign the petition of appeal and the application for special leave to appeal, he could lawfully give a power of attorney to counsel authorising counsel to sign and file those documents on behalf of the municipal corporation. The High Court was in error in upholding the preliminary objection.

3. In the result, the appeal is allowed, the order of the High Court is set aside and Criminal Appeal No. 44-D of 1964 is remanded to the High Court for disposal in accordance with law.


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