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In Re: Ganapathy Chetty and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in51Ind.Cas.468; (1919)37MLJ60
AppellantIn Re: Ganapathy Chetty and anr.
Cases ReferredNorth Arcot v. Ramammal I.L.R.
Excerpt:
.....over the offences which took place on the avadi-poonamallee road are concerned, that defect, assuming it to exist, is clearly cured by section 531 criminal procedure code. 3. then there is the more serious question, that is, the commitment having been made to this high court sessions as regards the offence which took place in the chingleput district whether the high court has got power in the exercise of its original criminal jurisdiction to try that offence and whether even if it has not, the defect is cured by section 53.1 or 532. i think the policy of the criminal procedure code as shown by sections 531 to 538 is to uphold in most cases the orders passed by the criminal court which was lacking in local jurisdiction or which had committed illegalities or irregularities unless failure..........judge, chingleput, who appears, so far as the facts are before us, to have jurisdiction over that offence committed at poonamallee just outside the madras city, in the chingleput district. on the question of convenience, there can be doubt that it will be convenient for the case to be tried here; the witnesses are assembled; the case is ready for trial; and the offences of kidnapping and theft have in any case, to be tried in madras, unless an order of transfer is made. i do not think it can be suggested seriously that the accused would be prejudiced by being tried by a jury and by losing his right of appeal if convicted. having regard to clause 24 of the letters patent it cannot be said that the judge presiding over the high court sessions has no power to try persons brought before him.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Sadasiva Aiyar, J.

1. This is an application praying to quash the order of commitment passed by the Chief Presidency Magistrate in Calendar Case No. 4556 of 1919. The commitment was made to the High Court Sessions. The application is made under Sections 215 and 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Section 107 of the Government of India Act. The offences with which the petitioners are charged relate to acts of kidnapping and theft committed in Madras and the offence of murder committed on the Avadi-Poonamalle Road within the jurisdiction of the Sessions Court of Chingleput. They all formed parts of the same transaction.

2. So far as the objection based on the alleged want of jurisdiction of the Chief Presidency Magistrate over the offences which took place on the Avadi-Poonamallee Road are concerned, that defect, assuming it to exist, is clearly cured by Section 531 Criminal Procedure Code.

3. Then there is the more serious question, that is, the commitment having been made to this High Court Sessions as regards the offence which took place in the Chingleput District whether the High Court has got power in the exercise of its original criminal jurisdiction to try that offence and whether even if it has not, the defect is cured by Section 53.1 or 532. I think the policy of the Criminal Procedure Code as shown by Sections 531 to 538 is to uphold in most cases the orders passed by the Criminal Court which was lacking in local jurisdiction or which had committed illegalities or irregularities unless failure of justice has been occasioned or is likely to be occasioned through such want of jurisdiction or such illegalities or irregularities. However there is a decision of this Court in Assistant Sessions Judge, North Arcot v. Ramammal I.L.R. (1911) Mad. 887 : 22 M.L.J. 141 to which my learned brother was a party and which holds that if the Sessions Court to which a commitment was made had no local jurisdiction over the place where the offence took place such commitment should be quashed (though, of course after the trial had taken place to its termination, Section 531 might cure the defect). It is unnecessary for me to ex -press any final opinion whether the decision in Queen Empress v. Ram Dei I.L.R. (1896) All. 350 which seems to be opposed to the decision in Assistant Sessions Judge, North Arcot v. Ramammal I.L.R. (1911) Mad. 887 : 22 M.L.J. 141 does not take the better view. I shall therefore proceed on the footing that in the matter before us. Assistant Sessions Judge, Noth Arcot v. Ramammal I.L.R. (1911) Mad. 887 : 22 M.L.J. 141 should be followed.

4. The next question is whether the High Court in its original criminal jurisdiction has power to try a case of murder committed in the Chingleput District. In Queen Empress v. James Ingle I.L.R. (1892) Bom. 200 which was a case almost similar to the present, Mr. Robertson for the prosecution contended that under the Letters Patent the High Court had criminal jurisdiction to try cases arising throughout the presidency. Clause 24 of the Letters Patent of this Court says that the High Court of Judicature at Madras shall have extraordinary original criminal jurisdiction over all persons residing in places within the Jurisdiction of any Court now subject to the superintendence of the said High Court.

5. It is objected that the High Court Sessions will then be flooded with commitments if it is held to have the original criminal jurisdiction over the whole presidency. I think that it was to prevent that inconvenience that Section 206, Clause (2) was enacted prohibiting magistrates from committing to the High Court where they could commit to a Sessions Court. In the above quoted case, Queen Empress v. James Ingle I.L.R. (1892) Bom. 200. Mr. justice Farran refused to quash the commitment made wrongly to the Bombay High Court Session, evidently accepting the contention of Mr. Robertson already referred to. The present case is therefore not a case of want of jurisdiction in the Court to which the commitment was made and can therefore be distinguished from the case decided in Assistant Sessions Judge, North Arcot v. Ramammal I.L.R. (1911) Mad. 387.

6. Assuming again that the High Court in its original criminal jurisdiction has no power in the usual course to try this case. 1 think it is a matter in which we should exercise the power given to us by Section 526, Clause (1), Sub-clause (1) for reasons (d) and (e) of the Criminal Procedure Code and pass an order that the offences committed outside the jurisdiction of Madras be also tried in the High Court Criminal Sessions along with other offences which were committed in Madras. If that power is exercised the trial before the Madras Sessions becomes legal and it then becomes unnecessary to decide the other questions. I would therefore pass that order and dismiss this petition.

Spencer, J.

7. I agree. So far as the proceedings in the Presidency Magistrate's Court are concerned, Section 531, Criminal Procedure Code is sufficient authority for our refusing to set aside the order of commitment. This section however cannot be invoked as regards the proceedings in the High Court Sessions for the trial of this case has not yet been taken up in the High Court Sessions and, therefore, so far there are no proceedings in the Sessions Court requiring to be cured.

8. Section 177, the effect of which was considered in Assistant Sessions Judge, North Arcot v. Ramammal I.L.R. (1911) Mad. 387 to which I was a party, declares that 'every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction it was committed.' The question therefore now for our consideration is whether the trial can be allowed to proceed in this Court, or, whether, so far as the offence of murder is concerned, the case should be tried by the Sessions Judge, Chingleput, who appears, so far as the facts are before us, to have jurisdiction over that offence committed at Poonamallee just outside the Madras City, in the Chingleput district. On the question of convenience, there can be doubt that it will be convenient for the case to be tried here; the witnesses are assembled; the case is ready for trial; and the offences of kidnapping and theft have in any case, to be tried in Madras, unless an order of transfer is made. I do not think it can be suggested seriously that the accused would be prejudiced by being tried by a jury and by losing his right of appeal if convicted. Having regard to Clause 24 of the Letters Patent it cannot be said that the judge presiding over the High Court Sessions has no power to try persons brought before him on charges preferred by any Magistrate. This case in that respect differs from the case in Assistant Sessions Judge, North Arcot v. Ramammal I.L.R. (1911) Mad. 387 which the Sessions judge of North Arcot to whom the commitment was made had no power to try an offence arising out of the local limits of the Salem District. Under Section 526, Clause (1), Sub-clause (1) the High Court is empowered to make a direction ' that an offence be enquired into or tried by any Court not empowered under Sections 177 to 184 (both inclusive), but in other respects competent to enquire into or try such offence'' in cases where such order is expedient for the ends of justice. I therefore agree with my learned brother that that is the order we should make in this case as that it will be expedient for the ends of justice that all the charges be tried together against the accused at the High Court Sessions.


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