1. This is a revision against the order passed by the Sub-Divisional. Magistrate, Cheyyar, in C.A. No. 4 of 1955 on his file. The petitioner was the complainant in the trial Court and he filed a complaint under Section 20 of the Cattle Trespass Act, alleging that while the carts engaged by him for carrying silt to his fields were being driven over certain fields belonging to the respondents, they stopped the carts, unyoked the bulls, seized them and put them in the pound. Under Section 22 of the Act, the trial Court adjudged the seizure as illegal and awarded compensation of Rs. 50 to be paid by each of the respondents herein for the loss sustained by the complainant due to seizure and detention. Against, that order, the respondents herein preferred an appeal, and in the appeal, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate set aside the order of the trial Court, thereby setting aside the order for compensation. It is against the order of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate this revision has been filed.
2. It is not necessary to go into the merits of this case. The question that is raised before me is one of jurisdiction for the Sub-Divisional Magistrate to entertain, an appeal before him against the order for compensation passed under Section 22 of the Cattle Trespass Act.
3. Under Section 4(c) of the Criminal Procedure Code 'offence' includes any act in respect of which a complaint may be made under Section 20 of the Cattle Trespass Act. Section 20 of the Cattle Trespass Act is as follows:
Any person whose cattle have been seized under this Act, or having been so seized, have been, detained in contravention of this Act, may, at any time within ten days from the date of the seizure make a complaint to the Magistrate of the District or any Magistrate authorised to receive and try charges without reference to the Magistrate of the District.
Under Section 22, if the seizure or detention be adjudged illegal (italics is mine), the Magistrate shall award (italics is mine) to the complainant, for the loss caused by the seizure or detention, reasonable compensation, not exceeding one hundred rupees, to be paid by the person who made the seizure or detained the cattle, together with all fines paid and expenses incurred by the complainant in procuring the release of the cattle.
4. Although, according to the definition of offence in the Criminal Procedure Code, the act of seizure or detention in contravention of the provisions of the Cattle-Trespass Act amounts to an offence, still, in Section 22, the Legislature enacted that 'if the seizure or detention be adjudged illegal, the Magistrate shall award to the complainant reasonable compensation'. When offences under Section 20 are tried by a Court, if the seizure or detention is found (adjudged) to be illegal, it is compensation that has to be given by the Magistrate mentioned in Section 22, and that is for the expenses incurred to release the cattle from the pound. The person: proceeded against is only ordered to pay compensation. The expression used in Section 22 is 'adjudging the seizure or detention as illegal' and not finding the person who seized or detained the cattle guilty of the offence of seizure or detention. Nor does the Legislature in Section 22 of the Act enact that when convicted of the offence under Section 20, the accused shall be sentenced to any punishment or imprisonment in default of payment of compensation. It is the compensation that, has to be collected as if it were a fine. The very language of Section 22 is against treating a person who seized or detained cattle against the provisions of the Act as an accused or convicting him and sentencing him to any of the punishments known, to Criminal Law.
5. When compensation is given, as under Section 250(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, there is a special provision providing for appeal against that order of compensation under Section 259(3) which says that complainant or informant, who has been ordered to pay compensation exceeding fifty rupees, may appeal from the order as if such complainant or informant had been convicted on a trial held by such Magistrate. 'Where, therefore, law allows compensation to be awarded an appeal is provided for as under Section 250(3). It is also clear from the language of that sub-section that such a complainant or informant should be treated as having been convicted in a trial. There is no such corresponding provision in the Cattle Trespass Act for an appeal against an order of compensation to the complainant in the case. The provision relating to appeals in the Criminal Procedure Code cannot in terms apply to an order of compensation passed under Section 22 of the Cattle Trespass Act, because the Code deals only with appeals against convictions and sentences which follow the convictions, and that too depends upon the sentence. There are other cases also for which appeals are provided. None of the sections in the chapter relating to appeals will apply to this case. There is a lacuna in the Act, which must be brought to the notice of the Government. A consideration of the various provisions-relating to appeals and the language of Sections 20 and 22 of the Cattle Trespass Act leads me to the conclusion that no appeal lies against the order of compensation passed under Section 22 of the Cattle Trespass Act.
6. Mr. Sivakaminathan brings to my notice two decisions, one of the Bombay High Court and the other of the Nagpur High Court. In the Bombay case, Bodriks v. Papa Dada I.L.R.(1921) 46 Bom. 58 : A.I.R. 1922 Bom. 191, the question whether there was a conviction or not was not raised. The learned judges say:
It is admitted that a person convicted under Section 20 of the Cattle Trespass Act can be said to be convicted of an offence.
It is on the basis of this admission the case is dealt with. In the Nagpur case, Ghulba Lahanu v. Emperor , it is clearly pointed out that a person who is held liable under Section 22 of the Act is not an accused nor is he convicted of the offence, and that under Section 22 only compensation together with fines and expenses can be ordered against the person who is adjudged liable. The decision of the Bombay High Court is not of much assistance as it proceeds on the footing of an admission. But the Nagpur decision is more to the point. Agreeing with the Nagpur decision, I hold that the order passed by the trial Court is not one passed on conviction, and, therefore, no appeal lies against an order passed by a Court for any act done under Section 20 of the Cattle Trespass Act. If no appeal lies, the appeal that was preferred before the lower appellate Court is incompetent. The order passed by the lower appellate Court is, therefore, without jurisdiction. The order of the lower appellate: Court is set aside.
7. But I take notice of the order passed by the trial Court under Sections 435, and 439 of the Code and exercising the powers of revision, I hold that the amount of compensation awarded is rather excessive. I, therefore, reduce the amount of compensation to be paid by the 1st respondent to Rs. 5. The 1st respondent shall pay only this sum of Rs. 5 and no other amount. Any excess amount paid by the 1st respondent will be refunded to him.