1. Section 78 of the Village Courts' Act does not contemplate a Village Munsif being made a party to proceedings taken under that section. The section applies to proceedings as between litigants and empowers a District Munsif to set aside any decree or order affecting the rights of litigants for any of the reasons specified in the section--amongst others, corruption, gross partiality or misconduct on the part of the Village Munsif. Even if corruption, gross partiality or misconduct is made out, all that the District Munsif can do is to set aside the decree or order complained of. Ho cannot, while setting aside any decree or order, make any order for payment as against the Village Munsif himself. So far as the Village Munsif is concerned, the proper course, if he is satisfied that there has been corruption, gross partiality or misconduct on the part of the Village Munsif, is to proceed under Section 74 and report the case to the District Judge.
2. The order of the District Munsif, in so far as it ordered the 3rd counter-petitioner, the Village Munsif, to refund, was clearly made without jurisdiction and must be set aside. This of course is without prejudice to the rights (if any) of the petitioner before the lower Court to proceed against the Village Munsif for damages by reason of his alleged misconduct. The order of the District Munsif cancelling the decree and the execution proceedings was made without trial or inquiry and upon the unsworn statement of the 1st counter-petitioner's pleader. The District Munsif should have gone into the question whether the first counter-petitioner before the lower Court had in fact received the rupees 20 which was claimed from him, and if he was satisfied that he had received this sum or was otherwise responsible therefor, the District Munsif ought to have directed the repayment of this amount by the 1st counter-petitioner to the petitioner.
3. We must, therefore, set aside the order of the District Munsif and direct him to restore the petition to his file in so far as the 1st counter-petitioner is concerned and dispose of it according to law. The objection that the 3rd counter-petitioner was improperly made a party was not taken in the lower Courts in the grounds of the petition to this Court. We accordingly make no order as to costs.