Kunhi Raman, C.J.
1. This petition arises out of an order made by the Stationary First Class Magistrate of Kottar. A prosecution was started before the Magistrate under Section 22 of Act 1 of 1122. On behalf of the prosecution, one witness was examined.
2. At that stage, an argument was addressed on behalf of the four accused persons that in the light of two rulings of the erstwhile Travancore High Court, since the Act was passed as a temporary measure and the period for which it was to be in force had expired, the accused could not be convicted. The first accused was the driver of a lorry in which paddy was being transported from one Taluk to another in the Travancore State without the prescribed permit. Accused 2, 3 and 4 are alleged to be persons who were assisting the driver and who were in the lorry at the time the goods were seized by the police.
3. The question of law raised on behalf of the defence found favour with the Magistrate Who held that since the period for which the Act was in force had expired by the time the trial commenced, although on the date of seizure the Act was in force, the accused could not be convicted. In this view, there was no use in hearing the other witnesses who were cited on behalf of the prosecution. The Magistrate accordingly discharged the accused under Section 250 of the Travancore Code of Criminal Procedure on the strength of the decision cited on behalf of the accused. In the same order, the Magistrate directed that the paddy that was in the lorry in respect of which the offence was alleged to have been committed, should be confiscated.
4. The present criminal revision petition is filed on behalf of the first accused, the driver of the lorry, and exception is taken in this revision case to that part of the order of the Magistrate which directs the confiscation of the paddy seized from the lorry. It is contended by the petitioner's learned Counsel that the paddy was the property of P. W. 10 who had not been examined before the accused persons were discharged by the Magistrate and it is argued that the direction made by the Magistrate that the paddy should be confiscated cannot be supported and must be set aside in revision.
5. The learned Public Prosecutor who appears on behalf of the State contends that this revision petition does not lie. His argument is that the case comes under Section 430, Travancore Criminal P. C., according to which when an inquiry or trial in a Criminal Court is concluded, the Court may make appropriate orders for the disposal by destruction, confiscation or delivery to any per-son...of any property produced before it. or in its custody. If this contention is well-founded, he argues that a revision does not lie, but that the indication in the wording of Sub-section (4) of Section 430, is that an appeal is the appropriate remedy.
This legal position is conceded on behalf of the petitioner by his learned Counsel, but the argument of the petitioner's learned Counsel is that it is not Section 430 that applies to the present case; but Section 436, Travancore Criminal P. C. His contention is that in the present case it cannot be said that the inquiry had concluded, because the proceedings before the Magistrate came to a premature end in view of the legal point taken on behalf of the accused persons. But, as was have already pointed out, the Magistrate states expressly in the order that he is making the order under Section 250, Travancore Criminal P. C, Under this section, there is nothing to prevent the Magistrate from discharging an accused at any stage of the case, if for reasons to be recorded by the Magistrate, the charge appears to be groundless.
This is a typical case falling under Section 250. The Magistrate has given reasons for holding that the charge cannot be supported in view of the rulings of the Travancore High Court mentioned to the judgment. It is because of that legal flaw in the case for the prosecution that the inquiry terminated. In these circumstances, we are not prepared to say that the order directing the confiscation of the property is not an order made under Section 430, Travancore Criminal P. C. Moreover, Section 436, refers to a case where articles are seized by the police under suspicious circumstances which give rise to a doubt or suspicion that an offence has been committed. The police then is bound to report the matter to a Magistrate who should make appropriate orders for the disposal of the property.
This is not a case in which seizure of the property was reported to the Magistrate for orders as to how it should be disposed of. This is a case in which a prosecution was started and continued but which, as already stated, came to a premature end as a result of the question of law which was successfully taken on behalf of the accused. Therefore, we are inclined to accept the contentions of the learned Public Prosecutor that this revision petition is not the proper remedy open to the party. We are not expressing any opinion as to the remedy that may be open to the owner of the paddy if he resorts to a civil Court for appropriate relief. The owner will have to decide for himself as to whether he should go to a civil Court or not.
6. In the circumstances mentioned above, we decline to interfere and dismiss this revision petition.