Pandrang Row, J.
1. These appeals raise the same question. The Bench Magistrates of Ootacamund acquitted the accused in these cases, who were charged with having overloaded their pack ponies and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 3(a) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (XI of 1890). The acquittal was pronounced without hearing any evidence, and on the preliminary point that under Sections 1 and 2 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the Local Government have to determine the maximum weight to be carried by pack ponies, and that as the determination has not been made and the District Magistrate's orders had not been published in the local Gazette, the prosecution was incompetent. The whole of this reasoning proceeds on a misconception of the law on the subject and there can be no doubt that these requirements are not necessary for a determination of the case on the merits. It is for the Bench Magistrates to decide whether as a matter of fact there was overloading or not, and decide the cases in accordance with their finding on that point. The orders of acquittal are therefore set aside and the cases are remitted to the Bench Magistrates for retrial according to law.
2. It has been urged by the advocate who appears for the respondents that the alleged offence was, if at all, committed in a place to which the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act has not been extended. This is however a point which should be determined during the retrial and I have no doubt the Bench Magistrates will deal with the point and decide it. It is unnecessary for me, and indeed it is not possible for me on the materials on record, to say whether there is any substance in the point or not.