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Bhagwanti and ors. Vs. Attar Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revision Appeal No. 214D of 1966
Judge
Reported in3(1967)DLT553
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 195
AppellantBhagwanti and ors.
RespondentAttar Singh
Excerpt:
.....filed against him through somebody outside delhi. may like to see his orders on the application of attar singh placed below. a non-bailable warrant was brought from madhya pradesh through a constable for the arrest of the applicant which was duly served on him after the same was endorsed by the a. jain, additional district magistrate :iam satisfied that there is a prima fade case u/s 211 i. a/' d' seem to be clearly discernible on the left hand side of the court-fee stamp. s b sathe at poona merely states that attar singh son of amar singh was under his treatment from 17th january, 1966 for fever, cough, cold and loose mtoions and that he needed treatment for some days as he had grown weak. antoher interesting feature of this appli- cation is that it bears a court-fee stamp issued from..........the additional district magistrate against four persons described as under:- 1.smt bhagwanti wd/o shri attar singh, k-57, andha mughal. subzi mandi, delhi. 2. shri prabh singh s/o shri attar singh, k .-7, andha mughal, subzi mandi, delhi. 3. shri surjit singh s/o shri attar singh, 116./10 civil lines, jhansi. 4. unknown person who has actually lodged the false report. at the margin of this application, i find the following order made by shri r. jain, additional district magistrate on 3rd january 1986 :- 'thereport of the s. d. m. is attached. issue summons to the first three accused for 21st january, 1966.' at p. 23 of the record, there is a list of four witnesses submitted by attar singh, but this list bears no date. at page 25 of the record, there is an application purporting to be.....
Judgment:

I.D. Dua, C.J.

(1) This case discloses a lamentable stage of affairs in regard to the manner in which some of the Magistrates in Delhi deal with a criminal complaint. On 4th December 1965. Atlar Singh applied to the District Magistrate, Delhi. stating that Smt. Bhagwanti and her sons Shri Prabh Singh and Sujit Singh had been pressing him to vacate the premises occued by him as their tenant in Sabzi Mandi, Delhi. On has failure to do so, they had threatened to get a false criminal case filed against him through somebody outside Delhi. A case had since been intstituted against him under section 506, Indian Penal Code, and nonjbailable warrants for his arrest had been received at Delhi and Attar Singh was released on bail by the Additional District Magistrate, Dalhi, on 29 the November 1965 with the direction to appear on 15th December 1965 in the Court of Shri 0. P. Sharma, Magistrate 1st Class, Karala Camp, Pishore District Shiv Puri (M.P). This ca?e was alleged to be absolutely false and it was requested that an enquiry or investigation be held in the matter in order to save Attar Singh from the clutches of the people. No provision of law under which this application purported to be presented was mentioned either in the heading or elsewhere in the body of the application. On 6th December, 1965, Shri R. Jain, Additional District Magistrate, passed an order in the margin of the application marking it to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Subzi M indi, to enquire into the case with particular reference to the following passage in the application :-

'THATShri Quereshi Constable, who came here to arrest me with a non-bailable warrant u/s 506 1. P. C. from Madhya Pradesh was accompanied by Shri Sur)'it Singh s/o Smt. Bhagwanti, my landlady and they stayed at Star Htoel, Qutab Road, Delhi on 28th November 1965 in Room No. 38. On inquiry, ample evidence will be available; to prove that the case against me is false and has been instituted at the instance of Smt. Bhagwanti and her sons Shri Prabh Singh and Surjit Singh with the sole object to get the premises vacated from me.'

The petitioner was apparently directed to appear befofre the Sub Divisional Magistrate on 8th December 1965. On the record, there is a statement made by Attar Singh on 9th December 1965 recorded in Urdu. It is nto clear from the record what kind of proceeding it was in which this statement was recorded, whether judicial or administrative, and under what provision of law was it recorded. The statement does nto purport even to be made on oath. On the same day a hand-written report appears to have been submitted by someone whose name and official designation is nto quite clear to me. The report is apparently based only on the unsworn statement of Attar Singh. As a result of the foregoing statement and report, Shri J. 0. G. Russell, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Subzi Mandi, recorded the folloiwing report dated 10th December 1965 :-

'A.D. M. may like to see his orders on the application of Attar Singh placed below. Enquireics made show that the applicant is a tenant in H. No. K/59, Andha Mughal and Smt. Bhagwanti is the landlady. The two sons of the landlady Prabh Singh and Surjit Singh live with their mtoher in K/57, Andha Mughal.' There has been a dispute between the landlady and the tenant regarding the vacation of the house and the landlady is keen to get the same done by any means. A non-bailable warrant was brought from Madhya Pradesh through a constable for the arrest of the applicant which was duly served on him after the same was endorsed by the A. D. M. Enquiries further show that Surjit Singh son of the landlady had accompanied the constable of M. P. who had come to execute this warrant and that buth of them stayed in Room No. 38 of the Star Htoel . Qutab Road, Delhi, from 28th November 1935-6.30 P. M. to 30th November 1965 6.30 P. M. The name of the constable from M. P. was Quereshi and the address given by Surjit Singh in the Htoel Register is 1167/10, Civil Lines, Jhansi.

'THEapplicant says that he has never been in Pishore in M. P. from where this warrant was issued for his arrest u/s 506 I. P. C. In case it is desired .that Surjit Singh be prosecuted for substantive offence of abusing the processes of the Court etc., an Inter-State enquiry may have to be made at Jhansi and in M. P.' At the buttom of this typed report is the following handwritten order dated 13th December 1965 by Shri R. Jain, Additional District Magistrate :-

'Iam satisfied that there is a prima fade case u/s 211 I. P. C. against Smt. Bhagwanti and her sons Prabh Singh and Surjit Singh. Issue summons against the accused. Call the applicant Attar Singh for 20th December 1965.'

Thereafter, I find that Attar Singh presented a formal complaint under section 211, Indian Penal Code, dated 22nd December 1965 in the Court of the Additional District Magistrate against four persons described as under:-

1.Smt Bhagwanti wd/o Shri Attar Singh, K-57, Andha Mughal. Subzi Mandi, Delhi. 2. Shri Prabh Singh s/o Shri Attar Singh, K .-7, Andha Mughal, Subzi Mandi, Delhi. 3. Shri Surjit Singh s/o Shri Attar Singh, 116./10 Civil Lines, Jhansi. 4. Unknown person who has actually lodged the false report. At the margin of this application, I find the following order made by Shri R. Jain, Additional District Magistrate on 3rd January 1986 :-

'THEreport of the S. D. M. is attached. Issue summons to the first three accused for 21st January, 1966.' At p. 23 of the record, there is a list of four witnesses submitted by Attar Singh, but this list bears no date. At page 25 of the record, there is an application purporting to be by Attar Singh dated 17th January, 1967 apparently sent by post from Poona because the words 'Regd. A/' D' seem to be clearly discernible on the left hand side of the court-fee stamp. In this application, it is stated that Attar Singh was lying sick- turn the last few days at Poona and that his absence from the Court may be excused on 21st January, 1986. It was further prayed that the hearing be postponed to some toher date to enable the applicant to appear conveniently. At the margin of this application there is a ntoe 'keep with file Comp is. exempted from personal appearance for today'. The words 'keep with file' is in different ink which isthe sama as that of the date '21st Januiry, 166 '. Fhe remaining part of the order is presumbly in 1113 handwriting of the Additional District .Magistrate himself. The certificate attached with this application purporting to have been given by Dr. S B Sathe at Poona merely states that Attar Singh son of Amar Singh was under his treatment from 17th January, 1966 for fever, cough, cold and loose mtoions and that he needed treatment for some days as he had grown weak. Antoher interesting feature of this appli- cation is that it bears a court-fee stamp issued from Delhi dated 20th January, 1966 and has been countersigned by some officer of the Court on 20th January, 1966. In the order-sheet, on 21st January, 1966, there is an order made by the Additional District Magistrate regarding absence of the complainant and the existence of a medical certificate produced by some person whose identity and status is nto clear from the record. The accused are stayed to be absent because summons had been received back unserved. Fresh summons were directed to bs issued for 4th February, 1966 and the gentleman who had produced the medical certificate was direcred to produce Shii Attar Singh. This order is presumably in the hand writting of the Reader and also recorded in the absence of th3 Presiding Officer because the .last line of the order suggests that the Presiding Officer was busy with executive duty. It appears that some time thereafter, the Presiding Officer ntoed that accused Prabh Singh had appeared a little later. Being an old man, he was desired to execute a bond fur Rs 2,0 )0'- along with a surety in the like amount or to stay in judicial lock up. On 4th Fabraary, 19 i6, the conplainant was present, so was accused Prabh Singh on bail. Smt. Bhagwanti and Surjit Singh were recorded to be absent. Fresh summons were directed to be issued. Against Surjit Singh, bailable warrants in the sum of Rs. 2,000.00 were directed to go. The next date was fixed for 2nd March. 1983. This order is signed by Shri R. Jain, Additional District Magistrate. Here it is worth ntoing that Prabh Singh in the mean time filed an application dated 9th February, 1966 under section 195(1)(b). Criminal Procedure Code, in the Court of Shri R. Jain, A. D. M. (1), Delhi, specifically pointing out that in view of section 195(1)(b) criminal Procedure Code, the present proceedings were incompetent and nto cognizable by that Court. At the margin of this application, the learned Additional Dist- rict Magistrate on 11th February, 1966 ordered it to be put up on 2nd March, 1966. This application is at page '75 of the record. On 2nd March, 1966, the complainant was present, so was accused Prabh Singh on bail with counsel. Accused Nos. 1 and 3 were recorded absent. Accused No. 1 had nto been served and fresh sum-none ware ordered to issue for 18th March, 1966. It appears that on this date also, the Presiding Officer was busy with executive duties and was, thereforee, absent from Court. Perhaps this accounts for the application under section 195(1)(b). Criminal Procedure Code, being completely ignoced on this date of hearing. The order dated 2nd March, 1966 appears to have been signed by some toher officer, presumably by the officer acting for the Additional District Magistrate Bit it is difficult to understand why the officer acting turn Shri R. Jain did nto taks ntoe of th3 application under section 195(1)(b), Criminal Procedure Code, which had specifically been orderd on 11th February, 1960 to be put up on 2nd March, 1966. On 18th March, 1986, the complainant and Prabh Singh on bail were present. Smt. Bhagwanti was also admitted to bail in the sum of Rs. 2.000.00. Accused Surjit Singh was absent and bailable warrants were directed to be issued against him in the sum of Rs. 2,000.00. This order is signed by Shri R.Jain, Additional District Magistrate. Alter signing this order, the learned Magistrate seems to have recorded :- 'THElearned counsel for the accused undertakes to produce the accused Surjit Singh on the next date of hearing. Warrants be nto issued.'

It is somewhat surprising that in spite of the attention of the learned Additional District Magistrate having been pointedly drawn to the provisions of section 195(1)(b) Criminal Procedure Code, by means of a specific application, of which the hearing had been fixed by Shri Jain himself for 2nd March, 196S, the learned Additional District Magistrate should have completely forgtoten all ab-ut, it. This was obviously a matter which went to the roto of the learned Magistrate's juried ction and for him to be so indifferent to this aspect, . cannto but be deplored. That his Reader also did nto care to bring it to his ntoice, reflects utter incompetence and inefficiency on the part of the Reader. I h ive taken a charitable view of the matter by nto doubting the Readers's integrity Incidentally even the stamp on this application nis nto been punched till today as required by the High Court Rules & Orders ; nor has the stamp been toherwise cancelled This casual way of discharging their duties by the ministerial staff of the learned Additional District Magistrate has nto been appreciated by this Court.

(2) On 4th March, 1966, it appears that Attar Singh filed an application seeking warrants for the production of Surjit Singh. He prayed that one copy of the warrants be given to him dusty and one to be executed in the normal course. At the margin of this application again I find an order signed by Shri R. Jain, Additional District Magistrate, to the following effect : - 'Give dusty on the address given.' This order almost conclusively shows that the learned Additional District Magistrate had put the application under section 195(1)(b). Criminal Procedure Code, in a cold storage and his staff was nto at all dealing with the matter with the expected care. attention and conscisntious sense of responsibility. On 8th February, i966, the counsel for Prabh Singh had inspected the records of the case and on 23rd March, 1966, a revision was presented on behalf of the three accused persons in the Court of the learned Session. Judge, Delhi, On 3rd June, .1966, the learned Additional Sessions Judga, disposing of the revision, referred the proceedings of the case to this Court with a recommendation that the same may be quashed, being without jurisdiction. It is in these circumstances that this case ha- been posted for hearing before me today.

(3) The patent illegality of the case would be obvious from the fact that the learned counsel for the complainant (respondent in this Court) has, at the outset, very fairly and frankly expressed his inability to support the order of the learned Additional District Magistrate registering the case under section 211, Indian Penal Code, against Smt. Bhagwanti and her sons. Section 195, Code of Criminal Procedure, so for as relevant for our purpose, lays down in the clearest possible terms that no Court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under any of the sections mentioned therein, including section 211, Indian Penal Code, when such offence is alleged to have been committed in or in relation to any proceeding in any Court except on the complaint in waiting of such Court or of some toher Court to which such Court is subordinate. It is a matter for regret that the learned Additional District Magistrate should have been so completely ignorant of this elementary and fundamental provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure ; and what is more regrettable is the fact that even when a specific application was presented to him pointedly bringing to his ntoice this provision of law, the learned Magistrate did nto case to satisfy himself if what he was doing was lawful and if he had jurisdiction to take cognizance of this case and to proceed with it. This betrays an attitude of mind which is clearly incompatible with the judicious sense of responsibility and devtoed attention required of judicial officer disposing of criminal cases entailing punishments by way of imprisonment.

(4) What has been stated above, quite clearly shows that the learned Magistrate hid no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case and to summon the accused persons. Indeed, after minutely going through the record, I am inclined to think that the proceedings initiated by Attar Singh were a gross abuse of the process of the Court and the learned Magistrate did nto seem to apply his own independent judicial mind to the facts and had, in all probability, been making orders in a casual manner, little Realizing the seriousness of their implications. His approach and his manner of dealing with this judicial case appears more to be that of an omni-competent executive or administrative officer recognizing no legal limits on his power, than of a judicial officer who has to apply his own independent mind to all the facts and the law applicable and then to come to his own impartial decision, wholly uninfluenced by considerations of administrative convenience, keeping the stales of justice even between the opposing interests. A judicial officer, it may b? remembered, owes exclusive loyalty to the cause of j justice according to law and does his own judicial thinking gripped by the law he is duty-bound to administer. It is well to remember that I judicial institutions do nto by themselves suffice to produce justice. A satisfactory administration of Justice requires nto merely the establishment of the organs of justice such as Courts of law, but what is more important is that the Presiding Officers should arrive at decisions by a judicial process which calls lor a psychological background in their tinking. They must conscientiously put their mind into the controversy and with due diligence and industry seek to do even-handed justice strictly in accordance with law.

(5) In the case in hand, the real trouble seems to me to have arisen from the fact that the learned Magistrate was perhaps far to ) busy with his executive or administrative duties to which he had to give preference over his judicial functions, with the result that due and proper attention could net be devtoed by him to his duties as the Presiding Officer of the Court administering criminal justice. Even appropriate control over his Court's staff does nto seem to have been exercised, and as is likely in such cases, cause of justice has seriously suffered because of his pre-occupation with his official duties toher than judicial. In this connection, I cannto help emphasising once again that the quality of criminal justice in a country serves as a yardstick for measuring its standard of civilisation and the stature of its democratic way of life. In Delhi, which is the capital of the Union of India judicial process must be of the highest order, second to none in the matter of efficiency and integrity, because our way of life here would largely provide the index from which we are likely to be judged by the word. It should truly conform to the Rule of Law which runs through the entire fabric of our Constitution. The present case seems to me to reflect an unworthy aspect of our judicial process which apparently represents the undem ocratic a pre-independence bureaucratic regime under which the executive officers were also vested with judicial powers to make them omniptoent. This is obvrously an incongruity in our set-up. This Court is constrained to recor its disappointment with the manner in which the proceedings in the Court below have been conducted. Without saying anything more, I unhesitatingly accept the recommendations of the learned Additional Sessions Judge and quash the proceedings under section 211, Indian Penal Code, against Smt. Bhagwanti,ShriPrabhSingh and Shri Surjit Singh

(6) I should also like to draw the attention of the subordinate Coarts to the importance of properly cancelling and punching the court-fee stamps affixed on pleadings and documents in the course of trials of cases. In this connection. Chapter 4-C, Vol. Iv, High Court Rules & Orders, deserves study and compliance by all the Courts concerned.

(7) Before finally closing, I may point out that I am expressing no opinion on the question whether or nto the proceedings initiated against Attar Singh in Madhya Pradash were false )r justified or whether they were initiated at the instance of Smt. Bhagwanti and her sons. Assuming they were initiated falsely at their instance with the object of putting pressure on Attar Singh, and assuming that the learned Magistrate in the Court below was honestly convinced of these facts, that could, in my opinion, afford no justification for his taking cognizance of the present proceedings in face of the prohibition contained in section 195(1)(b). Cr, P. Code. Two wrongs, it is well to remember, do nto make one right, and, for a Court of law and justice, to seek to punish some one, who may be considered to have committed an illegal act, by itself illegally assuming Jurisdiction, is something which is unthinkable and can by no means be countenanced by this Court. Such a course of action defeats the very cause of Justice according to law which it is intended to serve, and indeed it must tend to cause clumsy damage to the image of our Judicial process carved out by our constitutional set-up.


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