1. Three Bench Magistrates sat to consider C.C. No. 1931 of 1940 on the file of the First Class Bench Court of Rajahmundry. At a later hearing of the case a fourth Magistrate joined. At the final hearing there were only three Magistrates present, of whom two had sat throughout. So it is clear that the Magistrate who did not sit at the first hearing had no legal power to participate in the disposal of the case. As three Magistrates constitute a quorum and only two Magistrates sat throughout, they could not have passed a legal order. On the date of the final disposal of this case the complainant was absent and so the case was dismissed under Section 247, Criminal Procedure Code. Later, the Magistrates realised that they had passed an illegal order and so proceeded to rectify it by hearing the case once again. The trial is proceeding. The accused has therefore filed the present petition for revision.
2. A Bench Court has no power to correct errors in its judgments or to review its own illegal orders. Such power vests only in the High Court. The present trial is therefore illegal; and although the order of acquittal passed by the three Bench Magistrates was also illegal, it stands until set aside.
3. The only question that now arises is whether, after quashing the proceedings now taking place, I should order a re-trial or, bearing in mind what has taken place, I should allow the order of acquittal, illegal though it may be, to stand. The case was dismissed because the complainant did not attend; and it seems unlikely that even if the Magistrate who had been present at the beginning had sat throughout, the case would have taken a different turn. It would almost certainly have been dismissed just as it was by the improperly constituted Bench. I do not think therefore that the interests of justice require that the . accused, who was acquitted so long ago as 5th February, 1941, should now be called upon to stand his trial afresh.
4. This revision petition is allowed and the present proceedings quashed.