1. The petitioners were convicted by the Stationary Sub-Magistrate of Vizianagaram of an offence punishable under Section 147, Indian Penal Code, and ordered to pay fines of Rs. 25 each. They took the matter in appeal to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Vizianagaram, who heard the appeal on 3rd January, 1941. He made notes of the arguments, and those notes show that the arguments were completed on that day. The case was then adjourned to 6th January, 1941, at Vizianagaram. Of what happened on 6th January, 1941, one cannot be quite sure; but the docket, which was written by a clerk, notes that the conviction and sentence were confirmed on 6th January, 1941. There was no note however by the Magistrate that he disposed of the case on 6th January, 1941, and nothing in his own hand to indicate what he did on that day. The affidavit of the pleader is to the effect that arguments were heard on 6th January, 1941, but that is not consistent with the entries made by the Magistrate himself. However that may be, no judgment was ever written. About six weeks later, the Magistrate was taken ill and eventually died. When the petitioners applied for copies of the judgment they were told that no judgment existed. The petitioners have therefore filed a petition praying that the matter be reheard.
2. The learned Public Prosecutor has shown me a case, II Weir 439, to the effect that disregard of the provisions of Section 367 of the Criminal Procedure Code is irregular but not illegal. I doubt whether that is the present opinion of this Court, but however that may be, there was undoubtedly a grave irregularity. It is even more essential that an appellate Court should give reasons for its orders than that the trial Court should do so; for in the latter case the accused has a remedy by way of appeal before a tribunal which has to consider questions of fact as well as of law. In revision, on the other hand, findings of fact are ordinarily accepted. Moreover, in this case there is some doubt whether the judgment (even if we overlook the lack of a written judgment) was really pronounced on 6th January, 1941. If it had been, one would have expected a note by the Judge to that effect. As this Court must be satisfied that the appeal was properly disposed of as well as heard, the interests of justice require that the appeal should be heard again.
3. The order of the appellate Court confirming the conviction and sentence is therefore set aside and the appeal remanded to the Joint Magistrate of Vizianagaram for rehearing and fresh disposal.