1. The Magistrate has found that the dispute about the right of the Christians to use the well is likely to lead to a breach of the peace at any time. That they have been till now held in check by Father Rondy is not a reason for holding that there is no likelihood of a breach of the peace, as that check may at any time prove ineffective, more particularly when it is found that the petitioners have not been protected in the exercise of their just rights for having obeyed him. It is also contended that the Christians have not exercised their rights within three months next before the commencement of the enquiry. The proceedings alleged to be initiated by the order of the District Magistrate on the 21st September were only a continuation of the proceedings which were commenced on the 20th May when Father Rondy presented his complaint. That complaint is the institution of the enquiry under the proviso to Section 147 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and it is found by the District Magistrate that the Christians were exercising their rights within three months before that date, i.e., till the 20th April.
2. It is next contended that the Magistrate had no jurisdiction to pass any order under Section 147 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and the decision in Civil Revision Petition No. 402 of 1908, Kolandai Nayakan v. Karabudda Savudri (1896) 6 M.L.J. 193 and in In re Natayana I. L. R. (1884) M. 49 were referred to. The two latter decisions had reference to Section 532 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Act X of 1872) and the corresponding Section 147 of the present code must not be taken to authorise the Magistrate to prohibit the lawful use of a public way, and it was pointed out that, where rights are threatened the persons entitled to them should receive such protection from the Magistrate as the circumstances admit of. In this case the petitioners before this Court were preventing the Christians from the lawful exercise of their right to take water from the well, and we are of opinion that there is nothing in the section to prevent the Magistrate from passing an order forbidding the petitioners, Hindus, from interfering with the exercise of that right.
3. The petition is dismissed.