1. This is an appeal against the judgment of Ramaswami Goundar J. in A. S. No. 435 of 1951. That appeal was from the decree and judgment of the learned Subordinate Judge of South Malabar, at Palghat, in O. S. No. 32 of 1949 on his tile. The suit was filed by one R. V. Lakshmana Aiyar against the Province of Madras in the following circumstances:
2. Lakshmana Aiyar, the. plaintiff, entered Government service as a clerk in 1910. He became in due course a Tahsildar and was confirmed as such with effect from 1-12-1944. He was acting as Huzur Sheristadar between April 1943 to June 1945. Ort 4-6-1945, he was appointed as Additional First Class Magistrate, Malabar. He took charge as such on 16-6-1945, and continued in that office till 17-10-1946, when he took leave.
There was a charge of corruption against him and the Special Officer for Departmental Enquiries held an enquiry and sent a report finding him guilty. After consideration of the report, the Collector passed an order on 28-11-1947, dismissing him from, service. The plaintiff appealed to the Board of Revenue against the said order of the Collector, but the Board confirmed the order. He then sought for a revision of the said order from Local Government, but his revision petition was rejected.
Thereafter, he filed the suit out of which this appeal arises for a declaration that the order of dismissal from service passed by the Collector of Malabar, on 28-11-1947, was void and inoperative and that he was not thereby deprived of his right to get his pay and pension and that he still continued in service. Though the order of dismissal was impugned by him on several grounds, the only ground which we are concerned with in this appeal is that the order was in contravention of the provisions of Section 240(2), Government of India Act, 1935.
The plaintiff alleged that he was appointed Additional First Class Magistrate by the Governor of Madras as the head of the State and that he was the only authority who could dismiss him and, therefore, the Collector of Malabar, who was an office lovver in rank, was not competent to dismiss him.
3. The plea of the Government as regards this point was that the plaintiff was a permanent Tahsildar and he was only invested with the powers of a Magistrate of the First Class and he was not appointed to any new civil post by the Governor and as the Collector was the authority who appointed him as Tahsildar, he was competent to dismiss him and Section 240(2), Government of India Act, 1935, was not contravened.
4. The learned Subordinate Judge held that the plaintiff was not appointed to a new civil post within the meaning of Section 240, Government of India Act, 1935, by the Governor, and that he was only invested with first class magisterial powers when he was appointed Additional First Class Magistrate and, therefore, the dismissal of the plaintiff by the Collector was a dismissal by a competent authority. The learned Judge also found against the plaintiff on the other pleas and dismissed the suit with costs.
5. Against the said decree and judgment of the learned Subordinate Judge, the plaintiff filed an appeal to this Court (A, S. No. 435 of 1951). Pending the appeal, the plaintiff died and his legal representatives were brought on record as appellants 2 to 4. The appeal was heard by Ramaswami Gounder J. who held that the plaintiff was appointed to a new civil post, viz., the post of Additional First Class Magistrate, by the Governor, and as the appointment was by the Governor, it was beyond the competency of the Collector to dismiss the plaintiff from service.
On this finding the appeal was allowed and a decree was passed in favour of the plaintiff's legal representatives declaring that the deceased plaintiff was not deprived of his right to get his pay and pension from the date of his dismissal, viz., 28-11-1947, tilt the date of his death, viz., 26-6-1953.
6. The present appeal is against that decision of Ramaswami Gounder J. preferred by the State of Madras.
7. The material order directly relating to the plaintiff is G. O. Ms. No. 1764, dated 4-6-1945, and it runs as follows:
"His Excellency the Governor of Madras hereby appoints Sri R. V. Lakshmana Aiyar as Additional First Class Magistrate for the district of Malabar in the place of T. V, Ravunni Nair.
The following notification will be published in the Fort St. George Gazette: .
Under Section 12, Cri. P. C., 1898 (V of 1898) Sri R. V. Lakshmana Aiyar in the district of Malabar is, appointed to be a magistrate of the First Class and under Section 37 of the Code, he is invested with all the powers specified in the fourth schedule to the said Code as powers with which a Magistrate of the First Class may be invested by the Provincial Government except: (1) the power to require security for good behaviour under Section 108 or 110 of the said Code; (2) the power to try offences summarily under Section 260 of the said Code; and (3) the power to hear appeals from convictions by magistrates of the 2nd and 3rd classes under Section 407 of the said Code."
8. The decision of this appeal depends upon the interpretation of this order.
9. To understand the scope of this order, it is necessary to go back in time to G. O. Ms. No. 1852, dated 22-5-1942, Ex. B. 1. The material part of that order is as follows:
"In order that Revenue Divisional Officers may be in a position to devote more attention to revenue work and to the uplift and welfare of villagers generally, the Government have decided to appoint Additional Officers of the standing of Tahsildars as Additional First Class Magistrates who will relieve the Revenue Divisional Officers of the greater part of their ordinary court work. The Government consider it desirable that the scheme should be tried first in certain selected districts in those revenue divisions where the work is heaviest ..... Tahsildars who are on the Deputy Collectors' list will be appointed as Additional First Class Magistrates. If no such Tahsildar is available from the list, those who are likely to be included in the list should be appointed... An I. C. S. officer may also be appointed as Additional First Class Magistrate while he is undergoing training or when there is no division to which he can be posted........ The Additional post created under this scheme will be only on a temporary basis and will continue till 31st March 1944 for the present."
10. On 27-12-1945, the Government passed an order G. O. No. Ms. 4584 Home, in and by which they made the following rules regarding the posts of Additional First Class Magistrates:
"1. The posts of Additional First Class Magistrate in each district shall be deemed to be temporary additions to the cadre of Tahsildars in category 1 of the Madras Revenue Subordinate Service (Executive branch).
2. The general and special rules applicable to holders of posts borne on the cadre of the said category shall apply to the holders of the said temporary posts.
3. The pay of the said Additional First Class Magistrate shall be Rs. 250 per mensem." Reference may also be made to certain other orders relating to the plaintiff. The actual posting of the plaintiff by the Collector was made on 6-6-1945, thus:
"Sri R. V. Lakshmana Aiyar, Huzur Sherishtadar, who has been invested with the powers of a magistrate of the first class in G. O. No. Ms. 1764, Home, dated 4-6-1945, to be Additional First Class Magistrate, Palghat, vice Sri T. V. Ravunni Nair, granted leave preparatory to retirement." ' On 15-4-1947, the Collector made the following posting:
"Sri R. V. Lakshmana Aiyar, lately Additional First Class Magistrate, Palghat, on return from leave, is posted to act as Assistant Treasury Officer, Calicut, vice Sri M. Balakrishna Nair, granted leave" This posting, however, was cancelled by a subsequent order of the Collector, dated 26-4-1947. It is sufficient to refer to one other fact, viz., that the report of the Special Officer for Departmental Enquiries on the enquiry made into the conduct of the plaintiff was forwarded to the Government and the Government in their turn, forwarded the report and the records of the enquiry to the Collector and District Magistrate of Malabar on the ground that he was the authority competent to impose the penalty recommended by the Special Officer, viz., dismissal from service.
The Collector then called upon the plaintiff to make any representation that he might desire to make with special reference to the report of the' Special Officer for Departmental Enquiries, Madras, against the issue of an order dismissing him from service. The plaintiff made his representation in writing and eventually, on 28-11-1947, after considering the plaintiff's representation, the Collector passed an order dismissing him from service (Ex. A-l).
11. On 9-12-1948, the plaintiff issued through his vakil a notice of suit in which he impugned the order inter alia on the ground that as the Collector was not the appointing authority for the Additional First Class Magistrate, he did not have the power of dismissal under Section 240(2), Government of India Act. The Government passed the following order explaining the correct position in fact and in law as regards his contention :
"Sri R. V. Lakshmana Aiyar was a permanent Tahsildar appointed by the Collector of Malabar. Under a notification issued with G. O. No. 1764, Home, dated 4-6-1945, the Provincial Government appointed him, under Section 12, Cr. P. C., as an additional First Class Magistrate in the District of Malabar. The word "appoint" in that section has reference only to the conferment of magisterial powers and not to the appointment to any civil service or to any civil post under the Crown in India within the meaning of Section 240, Government of India Act, 1935.
Merely because magisterial powers were conferred on him by the Government, it will not be open to Sri R. V, Lakshmana Aiyar to claim that for purposes of Section 240, Government of India Act, he must be regarded as one appointed by the Provincial Government and that his dismissal by the Collector is ultra vires and illegal. His dismissal by the Collector is, therefore, in order "and does not require regularisation by the Government."
12. Sections 240(1) and 240(2) of the Government of India Act, 1935, so far as they are material run thus :
"240 (1): Except as expressly provided by this Act, every person who is a member of a civil service of the Crown in India, or holds any civil post under the Crown in India, holds office during His Majesty's pleasure.
240 (2) . . . .No other such person as aforesaid shall be dismissed from the service of His Majesty by any authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed."
The question is whether the plaintiff in this case can be said to have held a civil post by virtue of an appointment thereto by an authority higher than a Collector. It is not disputed that the post of a permanent Tahsildar which the plaintiff was holding at the time he was appointed Additional First Class Magistrate was a post to which he was appointed by the Collector.
When the plaintiff, while he was acting as Huzur Sheristadar, whose office is of the same grade as that of a Tahsildar, was appointed as Additional First Class Magistrate, was he appointed to a new civil post or a new civil service by the Governor? If he was, then certainly the Collector had no power to dismiss him from service.
13. Section 12, Criminal P. C. provides for the appointment by the Provincial Government of as many persons as it thinks fit, besides the District Magistrate, to be magistrates of the first, second or third class in any district outside the presidency-towns and confers on the Provincial Government or the District Magistrate, subject to the control of the Provincial Government, the power to define from time to time the local areas within which such persons may exercise all or any of the powers with which they may respectively be invested under the Code Section 36 says:
"All District Magistrates, Sub-Divisional Magistrates and Magistrates of first, second and third classes, have the powers hereinafter respectively conferred upon them and specified in the third schedule. Such powers are called their 'ordinary powers'."
Under Section 37, in addition to this ordinary powers, any Sub-Divisional Magistrate or any Magistrate of the first, second or third class may be invested with additional powers. The Provincial Government may confer powers under the Code on persons specially by name or in virtue or their office or on classes of officials generally by their official titles.
14. The learned Judge, Ramaswami Gounder J. was evidently much impressed with the order purporting to appoint the plaintiff as an Additional First Class Magistrate. He apparently was inclined to construe the order as an order appointing him to the post of an Additional First Class Magistrate. We do not agree with him that this is the effect of the order. The order does not in terms say that the plaintiff was appointed to any particular post.
It is true that Section 12, Criminal P. C. contemplates the Provincial Government appointment certain persons to be Magistrates of the first, second or third class. This docs not involve, however, that there are at any time a definite number of magistrates of each class in any district. A magistrate of the first class is only a person invested with the ordinary powers of a magistrate of the first class as mentioned in Schedule 3, Criminal P. C. and likewise magistrates of the second and third class, who are only persons invested with the ordinary powers of a magistrate of the second and third class respectively enumerated in the said schedule.
Now, it is well-known that officers of the Government holding either substantive posts have also been invested with powers of magistrates of the first, second or third class. In all such cases, there will be an appointment by the Government of the concerned person as a magistrate of the first, second or third class. For instance, in this State, in taluks where there are no stationary sub-magistrates, second class powers have been generally conferred on Tahsildars.
In such cases, there will he an appointment, either by name or ex officio or designated by class, as magistrates of the second class. Such an appointment does not imply that the person so appointed as a magistrate is appointed to a civil post or he becomes member of a civil service different from that which he was holding or included in prior to the appointment.
It may be noticed that in G. O. No. 1852 dated 22-5-1942, which initiated the proposal for the appointment of Additional First Class Magistrates, there is a provision that an I. C. S. officer may also be appointed as an Additional First Class Magistrate in certain contingencies. Surely, it cannot be said that because of such an appointment he becomes a member of a new civil service or begins to hold a new civil post to which he has been appointed by the Provincial Government, in supersession of his original appointment by the Secretary of State for India in Council.
A sub-registrar of Assurances, who is often invested with third class magisterial powers is not appointed to a new post, i.e., to the post of a third ciass magistrate. All that it means is that he can exercise the powers which are specified in Schedule 3, Criminal P. C,
15. Taking the instant case we know that the plaintiff, at the time he was appointed Additional First Class Magistrate, was a permanent Tahsildar acting as Huzur Sheristadar. He did not cease to be a Tahsildar because of this appointment. Indecd, sometime later, on 15-4-1947, the plaintiff was actually posted to act as Assistant Treasury Officer, Calicut. The power to appoint the plaintiff to that office was undoubtedly vested in the Collector.
The result of accepting the contention of the plaintiff will lead to the most anomalous situation, viz., that when the plaintiff was Tahsildar and Huzur Sheristadar, he could be dismissed by the Collector and when later on he was appointed to a higher office than the office of an Additional First Class Magistrate, viz., an Assistant Treasury Officer, Calicut, he could have been dismissed by the Collector, but when he was exercising the powers of an Additional First Class Magistrate, he could ho dismissed only by the Government.
G. O. No. 4584 dated 27-12-1945, makes the position abundantly clear because it says that the posts of Additional First Class Magistrate in each district shall he deemed to be temporary additions to the cadre of Tahsildars in category I of the Madras Revenue. Subordinate Service (Executive Branch). It cannot he disputed that all appointments relating to that cadre arc appointments which can be made by the Collector. The plaintiff as Additional First Class Magistrate was, therefore, in that cadre, and he continued to be a person who must he deemed to have been appointed by the Collector and who, therefore, could bo dismissed by the Collector.
In our opinion, the construction placed on the order appointing the plaintiff as Additional First Class Magistrate, by the Government in their memorandum forwarded by the Board of Revenue, after a consideration of the suit notice of the plaintiff, read with the notification under Section 12, Criminal JP. C. is right. It follows that the decision of the learned Subordinate Judge to the same effect was right.
16. In the result, we allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the learned Judge and restore the judgment of the learned Subordinate Judge with costs here and before Ramaswami Gounder J.