1. The subject-matter of this appeal is a complaint filed by the Registrar of the Court of Small Causes, Madras, under Sections 193 and 199 of the Indian Penal Code in connection with a false statement said to have been given by the appellant in an affidavit to the Registrar that a certain house in Madras was his own property. The main point taken in. appeal is that the complaint which was filed by the Registrar under the provisions of Section 195 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is incompetent because the Registrar is not a Court. It seems to me that this objection to the validity of the complaint must be upheld.
2. Under Section 14 of the Presidency Small Cause Courts Act the Provincial Government may invest the Registrar with the powers of a Judge under this Act for the trial of suits in which the amount or value of the subject-matter does not exceed twenty rupees. It is clear from this section that if the Provincial Government has so invested the Registrar with powers, the Registrar when he is trying suits for an amount of twenty rupees or less is a Court, but it seems necessarily to follow that when engaged on every other kind of duty the Registrar is not a Court. The affidavit in question was filed before the Registrar while he was engaged in taking security from the appellant. The Registrar is empowered to take security in any suit or matter according to Order 12 of the Rules of Practice, Clause (10). It is argued that in carrying out this particular duty the Registrar is acting in a judicial capacity. In one sense of the word that is no doubt true, and it is significant that five particular powers are specified in Order 12 as being non-judicial or quasi-judicial. By contrast therefore the eleven powers which precede these five may well be called judicial powers, but it is not every person who deals in the widest sense of the word 'judicially' with any matter, that is to say, applies the same principles of hearing and deciding the matter as a Judge would who can be called a 'Court' and Order 1 (a) of the Rules of Practice lays down specifically what throughout the various orders the term 'Court' shall mean. 'Court' means the Court of the Small Causes, Madras and includes a Judge, and, where he is empowered to exercise the powers of a Judge, the Registrar, of the Court, It seems to me very clear that for the purposes of the Rules of Practice and therefore for the purposes of Section 195 of the Code of Criminal Procedure also, the Registrar can never be deemed to be a Court unless he has been in some way or other specially empowered to be a Judge. There is nothing in Order 12 which specially empowers the Registrar to be a Judge, and the only provision which deals with this matter is Section 14 of the Act itself to which reference has already been made. It seems to me therefore that it is impossible to hold that when he takes security, and in order to do so incidentally takes from a party an affidavit, the Registrar is acting as a Court. The complaint filed by him under Section 195 has therefore no validity and must be quashed.
3. This appeal is accordingly allowed and the respondent must pay the appellant's costs throughout.