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Ratan Singh Vs. the State of Rajasthan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberD.B. Criminal Miscellaneous Application No. 507 of 1970
Judge
Reported in1970WLN819
AppellantRatan Singh
RespondentThe State of Rajasthan
DispositionApplication dismissed
Cases ReferredIn Lalji Haridas v. State of Maharashtra
Excerpt:
rajasthan land reforms & resumption of jagirs act, 1952 - jagir commissioner determining compensation--whether he is a court.;under section 32 of the act is the jagir commissioner who determines the compensation payable to a lagirdar in accordance with the act. section 26, however, clearly lays, down that it is the government who are liable to pay compensation to every jagirdar whose lands are resumed. the compensation has to be determined in accordance with the principles laid down in the second schedule of the act.;in making payment to the person or in ascertaining whether the person approaching the jagir commissioner is or is not the right person. the jagir commissioner or his delegate. deputy commissioner or his delegate, deputy collector (jagir) is only discharging administrative..........bench.2. the question that calls for determination is: whether deputy collector (jagir) or the jagir commissioner for that matter is a court within the meaning of section 195(1)(c), cr. pc. so that without a complaint of such court for the offence alleged to have been committed by the accused, the proceedings initiated were null and void.3. in sb. criminal revision no. 270 of 1968 sewa shanker and another v. state of rajasthan, decided on 8-9-1969, one of us (mehta, j), it was held that the jagir commissioner was a court in a d b case of this court thakur bhanu pratap singh v. the state of rajasthan and ors. ilr (1964) 14 raj 90 it was held that the jagir commissioner deciding claims for compensation is not a court within the meaning of section 1 of the evidence act but he was only a.....
Judgment:

Kan Singh, J.

1. This is an application by an accused under Section 561-A. Cr P.C , for quashing the proceedings pending against him in the court of she Munsiff Magistrate, Sojat. The application first came up for hearing before one of us (Kan Singh J) and on account of apparent conflict of judical opinion it was referred to a larged Bench.

2. The question that calls for determination is: Whether Deputy Collector (Jagir) or the Jagir Commissioner for that matter is a court within the meaning of Section 195(1)(c), Cr. PC. so that without a complaint of such court for the offence alleged to have been committed by the accused, the proceedings initiated were null and void.

3. In SB. Criminal Revision No. 270 of 1968 Sewa Shanker and another v. State of Rajasthan, decided on 8-9-1969, one of us (Mehta, J), it was held that the Jagir Commissioner was a court In a D B Case of this Court Thakur Bhanu Pratap Singh v. The State of Rajasthan and Ors. ILR (1964) 14 Raj 90 it was held that the Jagir Commissioner deciding claims for compensation is not a court within the meaning of Section 1 of the Evidence Act but he was only a a persono designata required to act in a quasi judicial manner. The question, therefore, beil down to this whether the view taken by the Division Bench in Bhanu Pratap Singh's case (supra) requires reconsideration?

4. The relevant facts are briefly these: Fauja Singh, Ex-Jagirdar of Barantia Khurd. Tehsil Rajpur, was to get refund of two amounts of Rs. 2902/-, and Rs 377. 14 P. These sum were credited in favour of the Deputy Collector (Jagir), Pali, on account of interim instalments payable to Kalyan Singh of Barantia Khurd and were later on recovered from Fauju Singh at the time of delivery of bonds to him. The accused Shri Ratan Singh, who is an Advocate, submitted an application for refund purporting to be on behalf of Fauju Singh, along with special power of attorney authorising him to take the refund of the above sums. Certain defects were pointed out by the officer of the Deputy Collector (Jagir) in the power of attorney and for that Shri Ratan Singh agreed to get them rectified. On 20th October, 1964 Shri Ratana Singh submitted a fresh special power of attorney purporting to be duly verified by the Tehsildar, Rajpur. On account of this special power refund of attorney the office of the Deputy Collector ( Jagir ), Pali prepared bill in favour of Shri Ratan Singh and transmitted it for purposes of audit to to the Treasury Officer, Pali. The Treasury Officer raised certain objections and returned the bill to the Deputy Collector, (Jagir), Pali. In the meantime on 6.11.1964 Fauju Singh made an application before the Deputy Colleotor (Jrgir) asserting there in that he had never authorised Shri Ratnasingh to get a refund of the aforesaid amounts He further alleged that the special power of attorney filed by Shri Ratansingh was a forged document. In view of this application of Fauju Singh the bill tnat was prepared by the Deputy Collector (Jagir), was cancelled authorised bill was prepared in favour of Fauju Sihgh himself, and a fresh Shri Ratansingh to get a refund of the aforesaid amounts. He further alleged that the special power of attorney filed by Shri Ratansingh was a forged document. In view of this application of Fauju Singh the bill that was prepared by the Deputy Collector (Jagir), was cancelled and a fresh bill was prepared in favour of Fauju Singh himself.

Fauju Singh then made an application before the Collector and District Magistrate, Pali on 10.11.1964 praying that action be taken against Shri Ratan Singh, who bad not only committed forgery but had attempted to cheat the Jagir Department. On this application, the Collector called for a report from the Deputy Collector, (Jagir), Pali. The latter submitted his report saying that an expert opinion be taken regarding the document. On receipt of the report of the Deputy Collector the Collector reported the matter to he Superintendent of Police, Pali. Eventually the police registered a case against Shri Ratan Singh and after investigating the matter challaned him in the court of the Munsiff Magistrate, Jetaran, for offences under Sections 420 and 467, I P.C. The case was later on transferred to the court of the Munsiff-Magistrate, Sojat. The accused then moved an application before the latter court urging that the proceedings were incompetent in the absence of a complaint by the court of the Deputy Collector, Jagir.

6. The question whether a particular body is or is not a court, at times bristles with difficulties. The term 'Court' has not been defined by the Criminal Procedure Code. Originally the term 'Court' meant the place of the Sovereign but in course of time it has acquired the meaning of the place where justice is administered and, further, has come to mean the persons who exercase judicial functions under authority derived either immediately or mediately from the Severeign. All Tribunals, however, are not courts in the sense in which the term is employed, namely, to denote such tribunals as exercise jurisdiction ever persons by reason of the law, and not merely by reason of voluntary submission to their jurisdiction. For example, aribitrators were not courts, though they may be tribunals exercising judicial functions. On the other hand, a tribunal may be court in the strict sence of the term although the chief part of its duties is not judicial. For example, Parliament is a court, though its duties are mainly deliberative and legislative: (vide Halshury's Laws of England, 3rd Edition, Volume 9. Article 809, page 342).

7. Now there will be no difficulty in the case of courts that are under the judicial wing of the State as such. Such courts are created by the Statute itself. Difficulty may, however, arise when functions akin to those entrusted to courts are assigned to other functionaries or authorities. In their case, for ascertaining whether the authority created by the statute is or is not court, one will have to primarily look to the statute itself and also to find out the character of the proceedings in which such authority is engaged for the time being.

8. In Jagannath Prasad v. State of Utter Pradesh : [1963]2SCR850 , their Lordships of the Supreme Court had to consider whether a Sales-Tax Officer was a court for purposes of filing of a complaint for an offence under Section 471, I.P.C. in proceedings before him. Their Lordships referred to the observations of Lord Sankey in Shell Company of Australia Limited v. Federal Commissioner of Taxation (3), Lord Sankey, L.C. observed:

The authorities are clear to show that there are tribunals with many of the trappings of a court which, nevertheless are not courts in the strict sense of exercising juridial power.

He then enumerated some 6 negative propositions ss to when a tribunal is not a court. He observed:

In the conection it may be useful to enumerate some negative propositions on this subject:

1) A tribunal is not necessarily a Court in this strict sense because it gives a final decision,

2) Nor because it hears witnesses on oath.

3) Nor because two or more contending parties appear before it between whom it has to decide.

4) Nor because it gives decisions which affect the rights of subjects,

5) Nor because there is an appeal to a Court.

6) Nor because it is a body to which a matter is referred by another body.

9. See Rex v. Electricity Commissioners, (1924) K.B. 171 On consideration of the various functions of the Sales-Tax Officer under the Act (U.P. Sales Tax Act), their Lordships of the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that he was not a Court, though he had certain powers which were similar to the powers exercised by courts The officer was performing certain wuasi judicial functions but was not converted into a court thereby. Consequently, it was held that no complaint by the Sales-Tax Officer was necessary under Section 195, Cr. P.C.

10. In Lalji Haridas v. State of Maharashtra : 1964CriLJ249 , their Lordships had occasion to consider whether for an offence under Section 193, I.P.C., committed in respect of proceedings before an Income-tax Officer, complaint by such officer was necessary under Section 195(1)(b), Cr. P.C. Their Lordships observed that Section 37(4) of the Income-tax Act make the proceedings before the Income-tax Officer judicial proceedings under Section 193, I.P.C, and these judicial yeoceedings must be treeted as proceedings in any court for the purpose of Section 195(i)(b), Cr. P.C. In the result the Income-tax Officer was held to be a court for the purpose of making a complaint for offence under Section 193, I.P.C. Learned counsel for the accused-petitioner heavily leans on this case. He proceeded to draw a similarity between the provisions of Section 37(4) of the Income-tax Act and Section 42 of the Rajasthan Land Reforms and Resumption of Jagira Act, 1952, hereinafter to be referred to as the Act and contended that the Jagir Commissioner was on a parity of reasoning, a Court within the meaning of Section 195, Cr. P.C

11. Now Section 42 of the Act provides that any officer or authority holding an inquiry or hearing an appeal under this Act shall have the power of a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure relating to--

(a) Proof of facts by affidavits,

(b) enforcing attendance of any person and his examination on oath,

(c) production of documents.

(d) issuing of commission

and every such officer or authority shall be deemed to be a civil court within the meaning of Criminal Procedure Code.

12. The operation of this Section, to our minds, is limited to the holding of an inquiry or hearing of appeal under this Act.

13. A question arises whether the matter about a person being authorised by an Ex-Jagirdar to receive payament of refund on his behalf is one one relating to an' inquiry under this Act.

14. A Jagir Commissioner is appointed by the Government to perform functions ossigned to the Jagir Commissioner under the Act. Under Section 21 the Act, it is the Government who, by notification, resumes Jagir lands. U/23 it is the Jagir Commissioner who determine any question regarding the private property of the Jagirdar. Under Section 32 of the Act it is Jagir Commissioner who determires the compensation payable to a Jagirdar in accordance with the Act Section 26, however, clearly lays down that it is the Government who are liable to pay compnsation to every Jagirdar whose lands ore resumed. The compensation has to be determined in accordance with the principles laid down in the Second Schedulex of the Act. Foe purpose of determination of Compeasation of questions relating to the Private property of the Jagirdar, the Jagir Commissioner or his delegate have been assigned functions which are analongous to that of a court. But here the question arises whether at the state of making payment, of the amount determined, to the right person the Jagir Commissioner is exercising functions analogous to that of court or is merely functioning as an instrument or an agent of the State Government-in making the payment to the Ex. Jagirdar.

15. There are the Rajasthan Land Beforms and Resumption of Jagirs (Compensation and Rehabilitation Bond) Rules, 1956, which, inter alia, lay down how the compensation has to be paid in bonds and in instalments. The bonds have to be indentedifrom the Public Debt Officer by the Jagir Commissioner and then disbursed. The Act or the Rules do not make provisions as to what is to happen if somebody personates for the Jagirdar for receiving the payment or a person wrongly represents himself to be the authorised agent of the Jagirdar for receiving the payment when in fact he is not. This matter in our opinion, falls outside the ambit of the Act or the Rules made thereunder It clearly lies in the administrative sphere when the Jagir Commissioner is only acting as an agent or an instrument of the liability of the State Government by making payment in accordance with the provision of Section 26 of the Act, This function Could very well have been discharged by any officer of the Government other than tye Jagir Commissioner. The matter of making payment to the right person does not partake of the character of a judicial proceeding before a court of law. The Jagir Commissioner has been assigned a number of functions under the Act and the functions are at times purely administrative and at other time they partake of the enaracter of judicial or quasi judicial proceedings.

16. On consideration of the Act and the Rules, therefore, we are satisfied that in making payment to the person or in ascertaining whether the person approaching the Jagir Commissioner is or is not the right person. The Jagir Commissioner or his delegate, Deputy Commissioner or his delegate, Deputy Collector (Jagir) is only discharging an administrative function. In that situation, the officer cannot be said to be acting as a Court.

17. In view of the conclusion that we have reached, we are not called upon to consider the question whether Thakur Bhanu Pratap Singh's case (supra) was or was not correctly decided or whether it is no longer good law in view of what their Lordships have held in Lalji Haridas (4) in the case of of an Income-Tax Officer dealing with case under Section 193, I.P.C.

18. In the result, we have dismiss the application.

19. The learned counsel for the petitioner orally prayed for grant of a certificate for appealing to the Supreme Court under Article 134(1)(c) of the Constitution. The question is of public importance and we, therefore, hereby certify that the cases is a fit one for grant of certificate, which we hereby do grant.


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