1. The order which we are asked to revise was passed by the Joint Magistrate of Pollachi Division setting aside on appeal an order of the Stationary Sub-Magistrate of Udumalpet for payment of compensation under Section 250 Criminal Procedure Code.
2. The Sessions Judge of Coimbatore has referred it as illegal on the ground that no notice of the appeal was given to the Public Prosecutor as required by Section 422, Criminal Procedure Code.
3. Section 422 of the Criminal Procedure Code directs that notice of appeal should be given 'to such officer as the Local Government may appoint in this behalf:' and a reference to Rule 60 of the Criminal Rules of Practice shows that the only officer who can be held to be appointed to receive notice of an appeal of this kind is, not the Public Prosecutor but the District Magistrate, who is nominated in Clause (1) ' for appeals other than appeals to Courts of Session.'
4. We may remark that as far as our experience goes this clause is very generally disregarded throughout the Presidency, and it may be doubted whether it was really intended to apply to compensation cases. But as it stands, it is certainly applicable and we have merely to decide whether the disregard of it is a sufficient ground for interference with the Joint Magistrate's order. On the whole we think it is not. In Emperor v. Palaniappa Velan I.L.R. (1905) M.187 the Officiating Chief Justice Sir Subrahmania Aiyar sitting alone set aside the order in a case indistinguishable from the present one, but expressed himself in very guarded language. He remarked that there seemed little reason for notice to the officer appointed by Government in a matter in which the accused only are really interested: and appears to have been mainly influenced by the failure to give notice to the accused, so that the latter might have an opportunity of supporting the order passed in their favour. In a later case Ambakkagari Nagi Reddi v. Basappa of Madimakulapalli I.L.R. (1909) M. 39 a bench of this Court declined to interfere on the ground of failure to give notice to accused, seeing that this was not required by bye-law: but remarked that notice to the Public Prosecutor (sic) was clearly necessary whether they would have deemed its omission sufficient ground for interference is not clear.
5. Notice to the District Magistrate is practically a formality in an appeal of this description; for there can be very few cases in which that officer would deem it necessary to oppose the appeal. It cannot be said either of the parties really concerned was prejudiced by its commission. The accused has no right of audience in such an appeal and cannot count on the support of the District Magistrate. The Joint Magistrate's order is in favor of the complainant. The District Magistrate himself has not moved in the matter; and the Public Prosecutor does not support the reference.
6. We decline to interfere.