1. The order of the Town Sub-Magistrate has no merits.
2. A judgment-debtor escaped in the night from the amin who had arrested him and the Subordinate Judge ordered the amin to prosecute. There is no question here of sanction; the amin could have prosecuted without reference to the Subordinate Judge and the Subordinate Judge simply passed the order departmentally to give the amin a chance of rehabilitating his character. Meanwhile the decree-holder complained. When his case came up for trial the Court held that his complaint was incompetent and acquitted the accused. He was no doubt acquitted owing to the Sub-Magistrate's total misunderstanding of an Allahabad case which is not in Indian Law Reports. That case merely laid down that if a Civil Court wishes to complain the Munsif must lodge a complaint or get one lodged and cannot merely send a report. The case adds nothing to Section 190, Criminal Procedure Code. But none the less he was acquitted.
3. Then the amin lodged his complaint, and the accused pleaded autrefois acquit under Section 403, Criminal Procedure Code. The Magistrate refused to entertain the plea because in Emperor v. Ambaji Dhakya I.L.R.(1928) B. 257 it has been held that a Court confronted with a complaint which requires sanction under law and is not sanctioned is a Court not competent to try the case as contemplated in Section 403 (4), Criminal Procedure Code. This ruling differs in terms from In re Ganapathi Bhatta I.L.R.(1911) M. 308 : 24 M.L.J. 463 and it is amazing that the Sub-Magistrate should have gone for his law to Bombay. It is not necessary to discuss here which is the more correct ruling; because neither has any bearing upon the present case, and anyhow the Magistrate was bound by the Madras ruling which he will be well advised to take as a safe guide.
4. In the present case, the decree-holder or any other person residing in India, was competent to complain, the Court was competent to try, and the acquittal is an effective bar under Section 403, Criminal Procedure Code. The petition is allowed and the order is cancelled.