(1) Petition by the accused in G. C. No. 34 of on the file of the Sub-Magistrate, Trivellore, to revise the order of the Sub-Magistrate holding that there is nothing illegal in entertaining and proceeding with the joint complaint filed by the respondents. The learned advocate for the respondents raised a preliminary objection on the strength of the decision in Ramayya v. Venkata, (S) AIR 1956 AP 97, that this court has no jurisdiction to interfere In revision when the petitioners have not approached the District Magistrate or Sessions Judge to exercise revisional jurisdiction.
But it is clearly stated in that decision that it should not be understood to lay down the High Court has no jurisdiction to entertain revision in the first instance. Further, the decision refers to the practice obtaining in the Madras High Court of entertaining such revisions in cases falling under S. 145, Cr.P.C.
Under S. 435, Cr.P.C. the High Court or any sessions judge or District Magistrate or any Sub-Divisional Magistrate empowered by the State Government may call for and examine the record of inferior courts. Under Sec. 435, Cr.P.C. the said courts can order further enquiry in respect of dismissal of complaints or discharge of an accused. S. 437, Cr. P. Code refers to the powers of the said courts to order commitment. Section 438, Cr.P.C. contemplates reports to High Court by Sessions Judge or District Magistrate in respect of illegalities noticed by him on calling for and examining records. In the present case, neither the District Magistrate nor the Sessions Judge could have effectively revised the order of the Sub-Magistrate, but could have made only a report to this court. Hence I see no grounds for not exercising the powers of revision under S. 439, Cr.P.C.
(2) The three respondents in this petition have filed joint complaint in the lower court. In Sashadbar v. Sir Charles Tegart : AIR1931Cal646 , it was held that a joint complaint by two persons is not contemplated by the Criminal Procedure Code and that two separate petitions or complaints should he filed. It was pointed out in that decision that if there are two or more complainants on the same complaint it is physically impossible to fulfil the provisions of S. 200, Cr.P.C. This reason is not quite convincing and it has been disapproved in the decisions in Abdul Karim v. Nangoo .
But even in the latter decision it has been pointed out that there is no provision in the Criminal Procedure Code that a complaint may he made by more than one person. But having regard to S. 13 of the General Clauses Act it was pointed out that the words used in the singular would include plural and vice versa and it was held that there was nothing in the Code to prohibit such joint complaint. I am unable to follow the above Oudh decision.
Under S. 233, Cr.P.C. for each distinct offence of which any person is accused, there should be a separate charge and the exceptions are contained in the subsequent Sections. There is no provision in the said Sections dealing with joinder of charges authorising two or more complainants to file a single complaint. If the authors of the Code of Criminal Procedure contemplated such filing of joint Complaints, they would have clearly made provision for them Corresponding to Order 1, Rule 1, C.P.C. providing for joinder of plaintiffs in civil suits. On the other hand, pro-visions like S. 247, Cr.P.C. in summons case and S. 259, Cr.P.C. in warrant case as to the powers of the court to dismiss a complaint in the absence of the complainant clearly indicate that a complaint could be filed by only one person. It has been rightly pointed out by the seamen advocate for the petitioners that there would be difficulty even in the matter of compounding of the offences by the accused with every one of the complainants in the case of joint complaints. It should be noted that the petition has been filed at the earliest stage before the evidence was taken. There can be no difficulty for the respondents to file separate complaints.
The observation of the learned Sub-Magistrate that even In case of separate complaints against some persons in the course of the same transaction, it is open to the court to club them together and have a joint trial is not correct. Several cases filed by the police or by the same complainant could be clubbed together if they would not amount to misjoinder of-charges and not otherwise. It would not be legal to club together complaints filed by different persons.
(3) The order of the Sub-Magistrate is wrong and it is set aside. The learned Sub-Magistrate would treat the complaint filed in this case as a complaint by one of the respondents at their option and permit the other respondents to file separate complaints, if they so desire.
(4) Order accordingly.