1. The petitioner filed a complaint in the Court of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Ariyalur to the effect that accused 1 to 6 illegally distrained his bulls at the instigation of the seventh accused. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate, without assigning any reasons, declined to take any action against the seventh accused. He merely passed an order, 'Issue summonses to A-1 to A-6'. The petitioner went in revision to the District Magistrate who passed an order:
The enquiry under Section 202, Criminal Procedure Code, showed that the seventh accused took no part in the alleged removal of bulls and was not present at the scene of the alleged offence. The lower Court was right in declining to issue process to him. I see no reason to interfere in revision.
2. It is argued by the learned Advocate for the seventh accused that this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain this revision petition. Although the offence is said to have been one under Section 212 of the Madras Estates Land Act and the petitioner applied in revision to the District Collector under Section 205 of the Act, yet the procedure to be adopted is governed by the Criminal Procedure Code. The complaint was made to the Magistrate under Section 202, Criminal Procedure Code, and the Magistrate made enquiry under Section 202 and eventually passed an order under Sections 203 and 204, Criminal Procedure Code. If the Magistrate does not act as he should under Section 202, Criminal Procedure Code, then undoubtedly the petitioner would be entitled to file a revision petition before the District Magistrate; and this Court would have jurisdiction under the Code to interfere, if necessary, in the interests of justice. There can therefore be no doubt that this Court has jurisdiction to entertain this revision petition.
3. I agree with the learned Public Prosecutor that where it appears from the records that there are no sufficient grounds for issuing notice to an accused person, this Court will not be justified in interfering in revision merely because the Magistrate, who had cognisance of the matter, failed to give reasons for not issuing the process; but I find from the records before me that the Magistrate had not good grounds for not issuing process. It may be that he misunderstood the complainant's case in the same way as the District Magistrate seems to have done. The complainant has not said that the seventh accused played any part himself in the actual distraint or seizure of the bulls; nor that he instigated accused 1 to 6 at the time when the bulls were seized. The complainant states that he has evidence to show that the seventh accused instigated his servants A-1 to A-6 to go and distrain the animals. If so, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate should have considered the complaint against the seventh accused and if, in spite of the allegations made, he was of opinion that there was no reason for believing that the seventh accused instigated A-1 to A-6, he could have refused to issue process to the seventh accused and given his reasons for not doing so.
4. It is further contended by the learned Advocate for the seventh accused and the learned Public Prosecutor that as the evidence already recorded does not show any case against the seventh accused there is no need to order further enquiry; but it has to be remembered that any evidence by these witnesses of instigation by the seventh accused would have been irrelevant to the enquiry against accused 1 to 6. The fact that there is no evidence on record against the seventh accused is not in itself a sufficient reason therefore why this Court should not interfere in revision. In a case where serious allegations of tyranny are made, I think the interests of justice require that this Court and the complainant should be satisfied that the Sub-Divisional Magistrate has considered the allegations against the seventh accused and has come to a decision either that there is no case against him or that there is. If there is, the Magistrate must issue process to him.
5. This petition is therefore allowed and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate ordered to consider the complaint as far as it concerns the seventh accused and to pass a proper order under Section 203 or to issue process under Section 204, Criminal Procedure Code.