1. The petitioner complained against the counter-petitioner for forgery; the counter-petitioner then filed a civil suit in regard to the same matter. The Sub-Magistrate discharged the accused, and the Sessions Judge when moved under Sections 436 and 437, Criminal P.C., was apparently disposed to order further inquiry but did not do so because the prosecution of the complaint would be embarrassing to the civil Court' without being 'conclusive or even useful.' The matter 'had bettor be left to the civil Courts in the first instance' with a strong precept that if the civil Court thinks the criminal charge substantiated, it will have 'no compunction' in taking criminal action.
2. This order has little merit. If the Judge thinks further inquiry necessary, he should proceed Under Section 436 or Section 437; and if he does not he should dismiss the application. As he says himself, he has a full discretion in the matter. But to such a matter the comparison between civil and criminal Courts is quite irrelevant. If a man accused of forgery lodges a civil suit it cannot be said that his trial should be stayed because it may embarrass the Court that tries the suit. In the first place it will not embarrass it, and in the second, it is entirely immaterial to the administration of criminal justice whether it embarrasses it or not. Of course a criminal conviction duly upheld is both conclusive and useful. There is no justification for the view that civil Courts are a better forum than criminal Courts for judging issues of fact. Therefore the circumstance that this accused person has chosen to lodge a civil suit is absolutely irrelevant to the question which was before the Judge, whether his discharge should or should not be set aside.
3. Turning to the real question it is found that the complainant and the accused settled their account with no mention at all of the lists which subsequently appeared and are impugned as forgeries. As, the learned Judge says Exs. F, S and K go a great way towards showing that Exs. O and P cannot be genuine transactions. That being so, the Court of committal was not in law justified in discharging the accused. Forgery is an offence of too grave a public importance to be made merely triable by Sub-Magistrates.
4. The learned Judge is directed to proceed Under Section 437, which is really the logical conclusion of his fifth paragraph and have the case brought up to the Sessions. It may be observed, as this Court has had occasion to remark before that the matter will then be tried by the same person as would in the ordinary course be ultimately seised of it on the civil side. So long as the District and the Sessions jurisdiction is vested in the same person these invidious comparisons between civil and criminal Courts are utterly beside the point.
5. The petition is allowed.