1. This is an appeal by the State against the acquittal of the respondent by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Koilpatti. The case arose out of a complaint preferred against the respondent by the Deputy Registrar of Co-operative Societies, Tirunelveli, for an offence under Section 52 (a) read with Section 55 of the Madras Co-operative Societies Act for furnishing false information by the respondent in his capacity as secretary of the Co-operative Marketing Society, Sankarankoll.
2. Under Section 56 (3) of the Madras Co-operative Societies Act, no prosecution shall be instituted under the Act without the previous sanction of the Registrar. 'Registrar' is defined in Section 2 (g) of the Act as meaning 'a person appointed to perform the duties of a Registrar of Co-operative Societies under this Act.' Under Section 3 of the Act, 'the State Government may appoint a person to be Registrar of Co-operative Societies for the State of Madras or any portion of it and may, by general or special order, confer on any other persons all or any of the powers of a Registrar under this Act.'
By a notification dated 23rd August 1954, in G. O. No. Ms. 1142, the Government conferred on Deputy Registrars all the powers of a Registrar under the Act except those referred to under Sections 43. 44, 131 (5) and 57. According to this notification, undoubtedly, the powers, if any, under Section 56 must be deemed to have been conferred on the Deputy Registrar.
He, therefore, gave sanction and himself filed a complaint before the court. The lower court has held that the Deputy Registrar is entitled to give sanction, but he cannot himself file a complaint. It is on that ground that the lower Court has acquitted the respondent,
3. In appeal, the learned Public Prosecutor contends that since the Government has conferred all the powers of a Registrar on the Deputy Registrar, except the powers under Sections 43, 44, 51 (9) and 57, the Deputy Registrar must be deemed to be a Registrar within the meaning of that term arid therefore he could himself give sanction and file the complaint,
'Prima facie', this argument appears to be quite correct. But it is pointed out by Mr. Kailasam, appearing for the respondent, that there is only one Registrar appointed under the Act and he is the person referred to in Section 2 (g) of the Act, Under Section 3. though the Government may, by general or special order, confer all the powers of a Registrar, he still does not become a Registrar within the meaning of that expression in 8. 2 (g). Section 3 simply states that the Government may appoint a person to be Registrar of Co-operative Societies, for the Presidency of Madras, or any portion of it and may, by general or special order, confer on any other persons, all or any of the powers of a Registrar. If any other person is included in the definition of Registrar, such as the Registrar means a person appointed to perform the duties of a Registrar of Co-operative Societies under this Act and any other person or persons on whom powers are conferred, then certainly he will be a Registrar within the meaning of that expression.
But the Legislature not having said so, under the definition of 'Registrar', the person or persons on whom the Government confers those powers no doubt has the powers of a Registrar, but he does not become the Registrar himself within the meaning of the expression in Section 2 (g). Though by the G. O. the Deputy Registrar has got all the powers excepting those mentioned in the sections mentioned above and therefore has all the powers under Section 56 also still he does not become a Registrar and therefore under 01. (3) the sanction that has got to be given must be by the Registrar and not by the Deputy Registrar although all the powers may be conferred on him.
The lower court is wrong in holding that the Deputy Registrar has power to give sanction. The order of acquittal can be upheld only for the reason that the sanction of the Registrar has not been obtained.
4. But the lower court has further held that the Deputy Registrar cannot himself file a complaint if he gives sanction. There is no warrant for this proposition. There is no impediment for the Registrar when he gives sanction to file a complaint himself. It is true that the Registrar when he accords sanction for prosecution has to give notice to the party against whom prosecution is to be launched and then after hearing him has to give the sanction.
He then acts, no doubt, in a quasi-judicial capacity hut that does not mean that when he himself gives sanction he cannot file a complaint to the court. There is a confusion in the conception that when a Judge gives sanction he cannot file a complaint on the ground that the Judge himself cannot be the complainant & the complainant cannot himself hear the case. This is not a case where a party after filing the complaint is hearing the case himself.
The case relied on by Mr. Kailasam in - 'Dr. Rama Kamath v. Surgeon General' : AIR1951Mad227 , has no application to this case. There the election of certain members was questioned by the defeated members and the sitting of the very elected members whose elections were questioned alone with the other members to decide the petition of the defeated candidates will amount to the interested person himself hearing the case, because the very election of those seven members was sought to be questioned and certainly they cannot hear the petition filed by the other members who were questioning the very election of those members.
That was opposed to all principles of natural Justice and that is what was held in that case. That case has no application to the facts of the present case.
5. The learned Public Prosecutor brought to my notice the decision of the Supreme Court in - 'Rameshwar Bartia v. State of Assam : 1953CriLJ163 , where their Lordships have held that a sanctioning authority is not disabled under Section 556, Cri. P. C., while trying a case initiated as a result of the sanction. When a sanctioning authority can itself hear the case, I do not see any reason why the sanctioning authority cannot file a complaint.
The decision of the lower court on this point is no doubt wrong, but as the Deputy Registrar cannot himself give sanction and the complaint can only be filed with the sanction of the Registrar, which is lacking in this case, the acquittal is justified on that ground.
6. The appeal is therefore dismissed for the reasons mentioned above. But this does not preclude the Registrar giving sanction and prosecuting the respondent again after giving sanction.