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Shish Chand and ors. Vs. Bhagwan Pershad - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revision Appeal No. 30 of 1973
Judge
Reported inILR1973Delhi698; 1973RLR688
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1973 - Sections 195(1); Slum Area (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 - Sections 19 and 19(3)
AppellantShish Chand and ors.
RespondentBhagwan Pershad
Advocates: K.L. Sethi, Adv
Cases ReferredDr. Mahajot Sahai v. Competent Authority
Excerpt:
a) the case dealt with the meaning of court under section 195 of the criminal procedure code, 1898 - it was held that the competent authority under the slum area (improvement and clearance) act, 1956 was though a quasi judicial tribunal but was not the court within the meaning of the provision.b) the case dealt with the object of the provision of section 195 of the criminal procedure code, 1898 - it was held that the provision was disabling and restrictive - the exclusion of registrar or sub-registrar under registration act, 1877 indicated the legislative intention that mere exercise of certain judicial and quasi judicial power of the administrative officers would not make them a court - further, in interpreting the definition of the court, the court had to further vest legislative.....v.s. deshpande, j. (1) the question referred to this division bench is whether the competent authority holding an inquiry under sub-section (3) of section 19 of the slum areas (improvement and clearance act, 1956 is a 'court' within the meaning of section 195(1) (b) of the code of criminal procedure, 1898. the question has an importance wider than the present case. for, the competent authority acting under section 19(3) of the slum area (improvement and clearance) act is a quasi-judicial authority. with the march of the statute law and the welfare state in india a large number of administrative authorities have been functioning in a quasi-judicial manner. they are, thereforee, subject to the supervisory jurisdiction of the high court under articles 226 and 227 of the constitution and of.....
Judgment:

V.S. Deshpande, J.

(1) The question referred to this Division Bench is whether the Competent authority holding an inquiry under sub-section (3) of section 19 of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance Act, 1956 is a 'court' within the meaning of section 195(1) (b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. The question has an importance wider than the present case. For, the Competent authority acting under section 19(3) of the Slum Area (Improvement and Clearance) Act is a quasi-judicial authority. With the march of the statute law and the welfare state in India a large number of administrative authorities have been functioning in a quasi-judicial manner. They are, thereforee, subject to the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution and of the Supreme Court under Article 32 as also to the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 136. The word 'court' is itself used either in a narrow sense of a civil, criminal or a revenue court as it has been used, for instance, in section 476 of the of Criminal Procedure or in a wider sense to include a judicial tribunal which, though not called a court, is still a court in the wider sense because it is analogous to a civil, ciriminal or a revenue court. Sub-section (2) of section 195 Criminal Procedure Code adopts the wider concept of 'court' for the purposes of clauses (b) and (c) of sub-section (1) of section 195 by staling that 'in clauses (b) and (c) of sub-section (1), the term 'Court' includes a Civil, Revenue or Criminal Court, but does not include a Registrar or Sub-Registrar under the Indian Registration Act, 1877'. A judicial authority or tribunal which is not a civil, criminal or a revenue court strictly speaking may nevertheless be a 'court' for the purposes of clauses (b) and (c) of section 195(1) Criminal Procedure Code if it is analogous to a civil, criminal or revenue court inasmuch as it satisfies the essential characteristics of these courts properly so called The wider implication of the question before us, thereforee, is where to draw the line between a court in the wider sense indicated above on the one hand and other quasi-judicial tribunals which are not 'courts' even in this wider sense. The category of a quasi-judicial tribunal comprises a large number of tribunals with varying characteristics. Only some of these quasi-judicial tribunals which are analogous to a court proper would be a 'court' under section 195(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure while the rest of the quasi-judicial tribunals would remain tribunals even though they are quasi-judicial. It is by drawing such a line that we would find out whether the Competent authority acting under section 19(3) of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 falls in the class of a 'court' or falls in the other class of quasi-judicial tribunals which are not courts.

(2) The facts raising this question are brief. Petitioner No. 1 Shish Chand is the landlord and the respondent Bhagwan Pershad is a tenant of the premises situated in a slum area- Petitioner No. 1 Sled an application before the Competent authority for permission to file an application for eviction against the respondent tenant before the Controller under the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958. Petitioners 2 and 3 supported petitioner No. 1 by filling affidavits etc. The tenant has filed a complaint against the three petitioners under sections 193, 199 and 200 read with section 34 Indian Penal Code' and the complaint was entertained by a Magistrate. The three petitioners who were accused before the trial Magistrate contended that the Competent authority was a 'court' for the purposes of clause (b) of section 195(1) Criminal Procedure Code and inasmuch as sections 193, 199 and 200 Indian Penal Code are included therein, the cognizance of the complaint by the Magistrate was barred by section 195 (1) (b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This contention was disallowed both by the Magistrate and in a revision petition by the Additional Sessions Judge. Hence this revision petition to the High Court.

(3) To understand the object with which and the context in which the word 'court' is used iq clause (b) of section 195(1), it is necessary to read the relevant part of section 195 which is as below:-

'195.(1) No Court shall take cognizance- (a) of any offence punishable under sections 172 to 188 of the Indian Penal Code, except on the complaint in writing of the Public servant concerned, or of some other public servant to whom he is subordinate. (b) of any offence punishable under any of the following sections of the same Code, namely, sections 193, 194, 195, 196, 199, 200, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211 and 228, when such offence is alleged to have been committed in, or in relation to, any proceeding in any Court or of some other Court to which such Court is subordinate; or (c) of any offence described in section 463 or punishable under section 471, section 475 or section 476 of the same Code, when such offence is alleged to have been committed by a party to any proceeding in any Court in respect of a document produced or given in evidence in such proceeding, except on the complaint in writing of such Court, or of some other Court to which such Court is subordinate. (2) In clauses (b) and (c) of sub-section (1), the term 'Court' includes a Civil, Revenue or Criminal Court, but does not include a Registrar 'or Sub-Registrar ' under the Indian Registration Act, 1877'.

(4) The precise nature of the quasi-judicial function of the Competent authority under section 19(3) of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act is to be gathered from the language of section 19(3) itself which is reproduced below:

'19.(3) On receipt of such application, the competent authority, after giving an opportunity to the parties of being heard and after making such summary inquiry into the circumstances of the case as it thinks fit, shall by order in writing, either grant or refuse to grant such permission'.

(5) Section 40(2) (bbb) of the said Act empowers the Central Government to make rules to provide for the manner in 'which inquiries may be held under sections 15 and 19 of the said Act. Under section 15 the Competent authority has to hold an inquiry for determining the amount of compensation payable to a person by the Government for the acquisition of his land under the said Act. Section 18(2) of the Act confers on the Competent authority 'while holding inquiry under section 15 all the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in respect of the following matters, namely:-

'(A)summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath; (b) requiring the discovery and production of any document; (c) reception of evidence on affidavits; (d) requisitioning any public record from any court or office; and (e) issuing commissions for examination of witnesses'.

(6) No such powers are conferred on the Competent authority while holding the inquiry under section 19(3) with a view to decide whether the permission in favor of the landlord against the tenant should be granted or not. As the manner of holding an inquiry under section 19(3) is, thereforee, different from the manner of holding an inquiry under section 15, separate rules are framed by the Government called Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Rules, 1957, for an inquiry u/s 19(3) and rule 7 thereof lays down the procedure to be adopted in dealing with applications made under section 19(2) of the Act, namely, in respect of the inquiry held under section 19(3) of the Act. Rule 7 is as follows:-

'7.The following procedure shall be adopted in dealing with applications made under section 19(2) of the Act- (1) Every application for permission under section 19 shall be made in Form G. (2) There shall be paid a fee of Rs. 10 in respect of every application referred to in sub-rule (1)- (3) Every such application shall be accompanied by a copy of the decree or order and judgment (if any). (4) On receipt of such application, the competent authority shall cause a notice fixing a date of hearing to be issued to the tenant giving him an opportunity of making his objections to such application. On such date, or such other date to which the hearing may be adjourned, the competent authority shall hear the parties and their witnesses (if any) and make such inquiry into the circumstances of the case as it thinks fit.' (5) If either of the parties is absent on any date of hearing, the competent authority may proceed in his absence and after hearing the party present pass such order as it thinks fit'.

(7) The question whether the Competent authority under section 19(3) is a 'court' within the meaning of section 195(2) Criminal Procedure Code is to be decided primarily on a construction of the statutory provisions reproduced above. On the one hand, the following characteristics of a 'court' in a wider sense as including a judicial tribunal analogous to a court are satisfied by the Competent authority acting under section 19(3), namely:-

(1)It is a statutory authority established by the State. It, thereforee, shares the judicial powers of the State whenever it acts in a judicial capacity, e.g. under section 15 read with section 18 of the Act. Its nature is, thereforee, different from the nature of a quasi-judicial tribunal such as a statutory arbitrator acting under section 10A of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 whose authority is derived from the consent of the parties and not from the State (and who was, thereforee, held not to be a tribunal for the purposes of Article 136 of the Constitution by the Supreme Court in Engineering Mazdoor Sabha v. Hind Cycles Ltd. : (1962)IILLJ760SC and the nominee of the Registrar of Co-operative Societies deriving power from the Registrar and not from the State (who was not, thereforee, held to be a 'court' within the meaning of section 195(2) Criminal Procedure Code . by the Supreme Court in Ramamo v. Narayan, : 1969CriLJ1064 . The inquiry under section 19(3) results in a definitive order granting or refusing to grant permission. If the permission is refused an appeal against such order is competent under section 20. This is to be contrasted with the position of, for example, the conciliation officer under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 who does not give any definite decision as such (and who under the U.P. Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 was held not to be a tribunal for the purposes of Article 136 of the Constitution by the Supreme Court in Jaswant Sugar Mills Limited v. Lakshmi Chand : (1963)ILLJ524SC .

(8) On the other hand, the Competent authority under section 19(3) differs from a court even in the wider sense in. the following respects:- (1) The essential difference between a court or a judicial tribunal on the one hand and an administrative or a quasi-judicial tribunal on the other hand is the same which exists betwen the rule of law on the one hand and administrative discretion on the other hand. K. C. Davis in his 'Discretionary Justice' (1969) page 3 brings out this contrast when he says 'where law ends discretion begins'. The Committee on Ministers' Powers in their Report (1932) at pages 73-74 and 81 succinctly sets out how a court proper acts, how a quasi-judicial tribunal acts and how an executive authority acts in the following oft-quoted words:-

'Atrue judicial decision presupposes an existing dispute between two or more parties, and then involves four requisites-(1) the presentation (not necessarily orally) of their case by the parties to the dispute, (2) if the dispute between them is a question of fact, the ascertainment of the fact by means of evidence adduced by the parties to the dispute and often with the assistant of argument by or on behalf of the parties-on the evidence; (3) if the dispute between them is a question of law, the submission of legal argument by the parties; and (4) a decision which disposes of the whole matter by a finding upon the facts in dispute and an application of the law of the land to the facts so found, including where required a ruling upon any disputed question of law. A quasi-judicial decision equally presupposes an existing dispute between two or more parties and involves (1) and (2), but does not necessarily involve (3), and never involves (4). The place of (4) is in fact taken by administrative action, the character of which is determined by the Minister's free choice...... Decisions which are purely administrative stand on a wholly different footing from quasi-judicial as well as from judicial decisions and must be distinguished accordingly...... In the case of the administrative decision, there is no legal obligation upon the person charged with the duty of reaching the decision to consider and weigh submissions and arguments, or to collate any evidence, or to solve any issue. The grounds upon which he acts, and the means which he takes to inform himself before acting, are left entirely to his discretion'.

(9) While a court of law acts according to pre-determined and known rules of law, an administrative authority and a quasi-judicial authority exercising discretion acts not according to known fixed rules of law but in its discretion. The procedure of a civil court is fixed in advance by the Code of Civil Procedure that of a criminal court by the Code of Criminal Procedure and that of a revenue court by the various Tenancy or Land Revenue Acts or Codes in the States. If the procedure of a tribunal is so fixed in advance, the tribunal is bound to act accordingly. The Competent authority under section 15 read with section 18 has the powers of a civil court while trying suits under the Code of Civil Procedure in respect of certain matters. In those respects its procedure is fixed in advance. Similarly, the Controller under the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 is required to follow under section 37(2) thereof 'as far as may be the practice and procedure of a court of small causes, including the recording of evidence'. He has also the powers of a civil court under section 36(2) in respect of certain specified matters and the proceeding before him is also deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code and is deemed to be a civil court within the meaning of sections 480 and 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He was, thereforee, held to be a court within the meaning of section 195 Criminal Procedure Code by a Full Bench of five judges of the Punjab & Haryana High Court in Vidya Devi v. Firm Madan Lal Prem Kumar 1971 AIRCJ 308. (3) The Competent authority acting under sections 15 and 18 is nearer to the concept of court as defined in section 195(2) Criminal Procedure Code that when it is acting under section 19(3). For, under section 19(3) the Competent authority is bound only to give 'an opportunity to the parties of being heard'. The law is well-settled that 'an opportunity of being heard' is not a rigid or fixed concept. The meaning and the scope of the opportunity would differ according to the circumstances of each case. In some cases the opportunity may consist of only making a written representation, e.g., under rule 55 of the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 (as held by the Supreme Court in M.P. Industries vs. Union of India 0044/1965 : [1966]1SCR466 ). In some cases, the quasi-judicial authority would be required to give an oral hearing, e.g., under section 36 of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944 (as held by the Supreme Court in Travancore Rayons Ltd. v. Union of India Air 1971 Sc 826 (4). But more often than not the administrative authorities acting quasi-judicially have no power to administer an oath and need not examine witnesses' as pointed out by the House of Lords in the leading decision in Board of Education v. Rice (1911) AC 179 (5).

(10) What kind of hearing is contemplated by section 19(3)? Shri K. L. Sethi learned counsel for the petitioners argued that a full trial type of hearing would be contemplated by it. This contention, however, becomes untenable when we read the words which follow the words 'after giving an opportunity to the parties of being heard'. The words which follow are 'and after making such summary inquiry into the circumstances of the case as it thinks fit.' Shri Sethi argued that the summary inquiry which the Competent authority may make would be in addition to the holding of a full trial type of inquiry in giving' an opportunity to the parties of being heard. For instance, the Competent authority may obtain departmental information and may visit the spot and take such other administrative steps to gather information.

(11) If the opportunity to the parties of being heard included full trial type of hearing including recording of evidence, it is difficult to imagine what further inquiry would still be made by the Competent authority. The word 'inquiry' denotes an inquiry between the parties. It does not in this context denote a unilateral search for more information by the Competent authority behind the back of the parties. The adjective 'summary' qualifying the word 'inquiry' would not be appropriate if the inquiry had meant the taking of merely administrative steps by the Competent authority. The administrative steps did not involve delay. Time is consumed only when judicial procedure of holding an inquiry between the parties in their presence is followed. It is only then that an inquiry may be either summary or elaborate. It is only because the inquiry by the Competent authority is to be held between the parties and in their presence that rules could be framed under section 40(2)(bbb) prescribing 'the manner in which the inquiry could be held'. Section 40(2)(bbb) could not have contemplated framing of rules for a unilateral inquiry by the Competent authority on his own. For, 'the manner' of holding such private inquiry cannot be prescribed by rules. Rules are needed only to make the inquiry fair between parties. It would appear, thereforee, that the opportunity to the parties of being heard in this context means that the parties must be noticed and heard either in writing or orally. This is the maximum that is guaranteed to the parties by section 19(3). Beyond this the Competent authority is given the discretion of holding such summary inquiry 'as it thinks fit'.

(12) This meaning of section 19(3) cannot be altered by any rules framed under section 40(2)(bbb). Firstly, section 40(2)(bbb) authorises the Central Government to frame rules regarding two entirely different types of inquiry, one to be held under section 15 and the other to beheld under section 19. As section 18(2) applies only to the former inquiry but not to the latter one and as section 19(3) gives complete discretion to the Competent authority as to the manner of holding the inquiry, the manner in which these two inquiries have to be held cannot be the same. Section 40(2)(bbb) would, thereforee, contemplate the laying down of one procedure consistant with section 18 for the inquiry to be held under section 15 and a summary procedure to be followed by the Competent authority under section 19(3) if in its discretion the Competent authority wishes to hold an inquiry in that manner. The procedure laid down in rule 7(4) has, thereforee, to be understood as being in the discretion of the Competent authority as far as it wishes to follow. It is elementary that rules cannot override the Act under which they are framed unless such an intention is indicated in the Act itself. Section 40 which gives rulemaking power to the Central Government does not give the rulemaking authority any power to override the Act. Reading section 19(3) together with rule 7(4) and bearing in mind that the latter only carries out the purpose of the former, the procedure to be followed by the Competent authority under these two provisions was held by a Division Bench of this Court speaking through one of us (Desh pande, J.) in Ashok Kumar v. The Competent Authority, Civil Writ 896-D of 1966 decided on 14th August 1968 as follows :-

'1.There is a distinction between the power to summon a witness and the power to enforce his attendance as is recognised by section 18(2)(a). 2. Under section 19(3) the Competent authority does not seem to have the power to enforce the attendance of a witness and to punish him for failure to attend. 3. The Competent authority was the sole judge as to the scope of the inquiry which it wishes to hold under section 19(3). 4. It can, thereforee, summon a witness if it wishes to examine him in the sense that it may request for the attendance of such a witness. If the request is not acceded to, the witness could not be examined. But if it is acceded to and the witness comes before the authority, then the authority would examine him. 5. But the parties had no right to compel the Competent authority to summon or examine witnesses if the said authority did not wish to do so.'

(13) The position of the Competent authority and the scope of the inquiry to be held by it appear to be similar to the inquiry held under section 68D(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939. The latter provision of law was considered by the Supreme Court in Malik Ram v. State of Rajasthan, : [1962]1SCR978 , in Nehru Motor Transport Co-operative Society Limited v. State of Rajasthan, : [1964]1SCR220 and in Capital Multi-purpose Co-operative Society v. State of Madhya Pradesh, : [1967]3SCR329 . Such a quantum of hearing was held to be inadequate in Nehru Motor Transport Co-operative Society's case. The nature of the inquiry to be held by the Competent authority under section 19(3) is, thereforee, analogous to another inquiry provided by the Legislature in a different statute. The view of the meaning of section 19(3) and rule 7(4) taken by the Division Bench of this Court is not, thereforee, in any way unusual.

(14) Shri Sethi, however, insisted on construing rule 7(4) to mean that in every inquiry held under section 19(3) the Competent authority was bound to examine the .witnesses produced by the parties even though the authority may have wished to restrict the inquiry to the consideration of the evidence on affidavits filed by the. parties. Such a construction of rule 7(4) would conflict with the clear meaning of the words 'as it thinks fit' in section 19(3). We are fortified in this view by the decision of the Supreme Court in Virindar Kumar v. State of Punjab, : 1956CriLJ326 . Under section 36(2) of the Representation of the People Act the Returning Officer had to come to a decision ' after such summary inquiry, if any, as he thinks necessary'. These words have substantially the same meaning as the words in section 19(3). They were construed by the Supreme Court in paragraph 6 page 157 of the report as follows:

'THATmeans that the parties have no right to insist on producing evidence which they may desire to adduce in support of their case. There is no machinery provided for summoning of witnesses, or of compelling production of documents in an inquiry under section 36'.

(15) Constrasting this inquiry with the trial of an election petition under sections 90 and 92 of the Representation of the People Act, the Court observed that in all essential matters the proceedings of the election tribunal were like those in a civil court while the proceedings under section 36 presented a different picture.

(16) In the Uttar Pradesh Sales Tax Act, 1948, section 7 empowered the Sales 'Tax Officer to assess the tax 'after making such enquiries as he thinks necessary'. Question arose whether the Sales Tax Officer was a 'court' within the meaning of section 195(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code. In Jagannath Prasad v. State of Uttar Pradesh, : [1963]2SCR850 , the Supreme Court answered the question in the negative observing as follows at page 859:-

'THUSthis determination depends upon enquiries he may make and which he may consider necessary'.

(17) Here also the Court has contrasted the discretion of the Sales Tax Officer in holding such inquiries as he thinks fit with the rights of the parties in a civil court to insist on the summoning of witnesses and on their evidence being recorded which rules out any discretion in the court not to follow such a procedure. The very question whether the (competent authority was a court under section 195(2) was also answered in the negative by H. R. Khanna, J. (as he then was) in Tirloki Nath Shambhu Nath v. The State, Air Punjab 407, following the Supreme Court decision in V winder Kumar's case.

(18) The question whether an Income Tax Officer acting under the Indian Income Tax, 1922 was a 'court' within the meaning of section 195(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code led to a difference of opinion between three judges against two in Lalji Haridas v. State of Maharashtra, : 1964CriLJ249 .' Gajendragadkar, C. J. speaking for the majority referred at page 707 to the previous decision of the Court in Jagannath Prasad v. State of U. P. and observed as follows:__

'THISdecision would tend to indicate that in the absence of section 37(4) it would have become necessary to hold that the Income Tax Officer acting under section 37(1), (2) and (3) would not be a Court under section 195 Criminal Procedure Code . and in that sense the provisions of section 195 could not have been attracted. This position is not disputed by Mr. Desai who appears for respondent No. 2.'

(19) The decision of the majority that the Income Tax Officer was a 'court' within section 195(2) was, thereforee, based entirely on the provisions of section 37(4) of the Indian Income Tax Act, 1922. On principle, thereforee, the Income Tax Officer was not a court. It is only because of a special statutory provision that he was held to be a court. A Customs Officer was held not only not to be a court but not even a tribunal in Indo-China Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. v. Jasjit Singh, : 1964CriLJ234 .

(20) Shri Sethi next argued that the Competent authority possesses the powers of a civil court under section 18(2) for the purpose of an inquiry under section 15. Even though he did not possess such powers for the purposes of inquiries under section 19(3), the same Competent authority acted under both these provisions of law. It was arguable that it could be held to be a court under section 15 read with section 18. It should also, thereforee, be held to be a court under section 19(3). This argument seems to proceed on the theory 'once a court always a court'. It is clear to us, however, that this theory has no basis. It is well established that one person may have entirely two different capacities. Even a court of law does not act as such in exercising, for instance, its rule-making powers or any administrative powers vested in it by some special statute. It cannot, thereforee, be said that a court of law would always be a court even if it did not act as such. For instance, a Customs Officer under section 171A of the Sea Customs Act, 1878 had the power to summon persons to give evidence and to produce documents. As pointed out by the Supreme Court in Indo-China Steam Navigation Company's case at page 606, the power to summon a person to give evidence would include the power to administer oath to him under section 4 of the Oaths Act 1873. An enquiry held by such an officer under section 171A was deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 Indian Penal Code by virtue of sub-section (4) of section 171 A. This did not alter the position that acting under the other provisions of the Act, the Customs Officer was neither a court nor a tribunal.

(21) Under section 92 of the Representation of the People Act, the election tribunal has the powers in respect of the matters mentioned therein which are vested in a court under the Code of Civil Procedure while trying a suit. In respect of these matters only the tribunal is placed by the Legislature 'on a higher pedestal' as observed by the Supreme Court in Harish Chandra Bajpai v. Triloki Singh, : [1957]1SCR370 , in para 17 of the decision. This is an authority to show that the same tribunal would have different powers under different provisions of the same statute and the nature of the tribunal and the inquiry held by it would, thereforee, be different according to the provisions under which the tribunal was acting.

(22) Another difference between a court and a tribunal was pointed out by the Supreme Court in Virindar Kumar's case at pages 157 and 158 of the report. In holding that the tribunal was not a court in that case it was observed as follows :-

'THEREis no lis in which persons with opposing claims are entitled to have their rights adjudicated in a judicial manner, but an inquiry such as is usually conducted by an ad hoc tribunal entrusted with a quasi-judicial power.'

(23) It is true that after the decision in Ridge v. Baldwin (1964) A.C. 40, the consensus of judicial opinion is that a duty to act judicially or quasi-judicially or fairly between the parties arises whenever an administrative authority has to act objectively in adversely affecting the civil rights of any person even though there is no lis inter partes which he has to decide. The dividing line between the quasi-judicial and the administrative action may have thus become very thin indeed as pointed out by the Supreme Court in A. K. Kraipak v. Union of India : [1970]1SCR457 . This, however, does not effect the distinction between a court proper and a tribunal whether quasi-judicial or administrative. For, ordinarily a court decides on a Us inter partes while a tribunal may or may not have such a lis before it. The reason is that the court is primarily concerned in determining the private rights of the parties according to pre-determined rules. On the other hand, a tribunal, even though acting quasi-judicially, is concerned more often than not in giving effect to some administrative action or policy. If it determines the private rights of any parties, it does so only incidentally and nat as the main object of its work. The rights of the parties come in for consideration before the tribunal only insofar as they are inevitably affected, by the implementation of administrative action or policy. In holding the inquiry under section 19(3), the Competent authority is not really concerned with deciding either a private dispute between the landlord and the tenant or on any conflict of rights between them. Rather it is concerned with giving effect to, one of the objects of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act which is that a tenant living in slum premises should not be allowed to be evicted unless he has means to find alternative accommodation. Otherwise he would create fresh slums which result would defeat the object of the Act. It is for this reason that the consideration of the means of the tenant has been taken away from the jurisdiction of the civil court and is entrusted to the Competent authority whose functions (as shown in Dr. Mahajot Sahai v. Competent Authority : AIR1971Delhi57 ), are overwhelmingly administrative throughout the Act. The object of the inquiry held by the Competent authority is, thereforee, not to find out who is wrong or right as between the landlord and the tenant but only whether the eviction of a tenant from a particular slum premises was likely to create more slums or not.

(24) The object of section 195(2) Criminal Procedure Code is disabling and restrictive. It has, thereforee, to be strictly construed. It is significant that the definition of a court in section 195(2) expressly excludes a Registrar or Sub-Registrar acting under the Indian Registration Act, 1877. That officer has certain judicial and quasijudicial powers. But on the whole, he is an administrative officer and not a court. He was, thereforee, excluded from the definition of a court. The Legislature thereby showed an intention that mere exercise of certain judicial and quasi-judicial powers by administrative officers did not make them a court for the purposes of section 195(2). This principle has, thereforee, to be borne in mind in considering the various administrative authorities exercising judicial and quasi-judicial powers before any of them can be considered to be a court under section 195 Criminal Procedure Code. It ensures that in respect of the offences mentioned in clauses (b) and (c) of sub-section (1) of section 195 only the court in the proceedings before which the offences mentioned therein were committed can file a complaint in respect of them. In the absence of such a complaint, no court can take cognizance of the offences. The legislature intended to distinguish 'between these offences committed in relation to a proceeding in a court and the same offences committed elsewhere. The distinction made by the Legislature has to be effectuated. This can be done only by restricting the concept of a 'court' for the purpose of section 195(2) to a court which is either a civil, criminal or revenue court or is analogous to it. If we were to include any quasi-judicial tribunal which is. not analogous to a court in this concept of court, we would be defeating the legislative intention. As the object of the Legislature was to restrict the need of filing a complaint only to a court, the object would be defeated if the concept of a court is so much extended that it. includes any quasijudicial tribunal which is not really analogous to a civil, criminal or revenue court. The analogy of a court can be extended to only such tribunals which satisfy the four essential characteristics of a court described above. The competent authority acting under section 19(3) of the Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1956 does not satisfy these characteristics for the reasons stated above. We are of the view that it is not a court within the meaning of section 195(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. We would, thereforee, dismiss the revision petition.

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