Balakrishna Ayyar, J.
1. The petitioners were accused 2, 3 and 4 in the court below. One Sivaramaraju filed a complaint against these three persons and another alleging that they committed offences under Sections 447 and 352, I. P. C.
The complainant's case was that he was in possession of survey field No. 280/3 in the village of Veerapalle. On account of previous quarrels between him and the accused they formed themselves into an unlawful assembly on 27-9-1953 and trespassed into the field which he was ploughing. Accused 2 to 4 unyoked the bulls and when the complainant objected, they pushed him down into the mud.
The complaint was laid ha the court of the Sub-Magistrate of Kundukur. In view of the heavy pendency in that court, this case, along with several others was withdrawn by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Kundukur to his own file, where he tried it under Chapter 22 of the Criminal P. C.
The case of the accused was that they were the owners of the field, that the complainant had been in possession of the land only as a lessee, that the lease had terminated and that as they refused to renew the lease, a false complaint was laid against them.
The learned Magistrate found that the ease of the accused that they were in possession had not been substantial in any way. He also found that the complaint of P. W. 1 that the petitioners trespassed into the field and pushed him into mud was proved. He therefore convicted the petitioners under Sections 447 and 352, , I. P. C. and sentenced them to pay a fine of Rs. 30 in all.
The present petition has been filed to set aside this order of the learned Magistrate.
2. The first argument of the learned counsel for the petitioners was this. Sivaramaraju filed his complaint in the first instance in the court of the Sub-Magistrate of Kundukur. The Sub-Magistrate had no powers to try the case summarily. He was bound to try the case as a summons case, which meant that he was bound to record the evidence in full. When the Sub-Divisional Magistrate withdrew the case to his own file, he had no power to try the case in a summary manner; he was bound to follow the procedure prescribed for the trial of summons cases. As he did not do that, the entire proceedings are void.
I can see no warrant in the language of the Code for this contention. Section 260, Criminal P. C. does not impose any such limitation on the powers of the Magistrate as counsel contended. On the other hand Section 260 Sub-section (1) begins 'notwithstanding anything contained in this Code' an expression which excludes the other forms of procedure laid down in the Code.
If the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners is right, then the moment a case is filed in a particular court, the procedure appropriate for the trial of that case in that court would fasten to the case and adhere to it till the complete disposal of the case. That this cannot be so will be apparent from one illustration. In the very frequent class of cases of murder for gain, the accused person is committed to a court of session for offences under Sections 302 and 379; such cases ordinarily begin that (their?) life in the court of a Sub-Magistrate.
If the argument of the counsel for the petitioners is right, the Sessions Judge would be bound to try the offence under Section 379, I. P. C- in the same manner as a warrant case, such a claim has never been made and there is no justification for it in the language of the Code.
3. Incidentally, the opening words of Section 260, Criminal P. C. are to be contrasted with the language used in Section 526(2), which requires that 'When the High Court withdraws for trial before itself any case from any court other than the court of a Presidency Magistrate, it shall except as provided in Section 267, observe in such trial the same procedure which that court would have observed if the case had not been so withdrawn.' There is no such limitation in Section 260.
4. Counsel for the petitioners next referred me to the case in 'Bradley v. Emperor', AIR 1932 Lah 188 (A). That was a case in which a Government servant was tried summarily in respect of certain offences. The Sessions Judge thought that the procedure was most inappropriate and referred the case for the orders of the High Court recommending that the proceedings be quashed and a retrial ordered. This recommendation was adopted. No doubt, in the report which the Sessions Judge made he observed,
'As stated above the accused was summoned by Mr. Napier who was a Magistrate of the Second Class. He could not try the case summarily; therefore it was not open to the Additional District Magistrate to place the case on his own file and try it summarily. Moreover, the accused was never informed before the summary trial commenced that the Additional District Magistrate was going to try the case summarily.'
5. Though the High Court accepted the recommendation and quashed the proceedings, it did not in terms approve of everything that the Sessions Judge had said in his reference. It would not therefore be right to treat this case as an authority for the proposition that the Additional District Magistrate could not have tried summarily a case which he withdrew from the file of the Second Class Magistrate, and, as I have already mentioned, such a proposition would hardly be right.
6. Learned counsel next argued that Section 260, Criminal P. C. is itself 'ultra vires' because it gives an arbitrary discretion to the Magistrate to decide what cases he could try summarily. Section 260(1) merely says that the offences enumerated in it may be tried in a summary way by a Magistrate or a Bench of Magistrates empowered in that behalf 'if he or they think fit'. No rules are laid down for the guidance of their discretion in the selection of cases for summary trial. That tantamount^ to conferring arbitrary powers on them and is for that reason void. I am-unable to agree.
It is not possible for the Legislature to lay down detailed rules in respect of every single matter.) Every piece of legislation has in the ultimate instance to be given effect to by human agency and. it is impossible to frame any legislation which does: not confer on the Human agency, through which it takes effect, a certain measure of discretion. I asked counsel for the petitioners whether he could suggest some rational rule which the legislature could have laid down here for the guidance of magistrates and he was at a loss for an answer. The discretion conferred by Section 260, Criminal P. C. is not susceptible of regulation by legislative rules, and I am unable to accept the contention that Section 260, Criminal P. C. is 'ultra vires.'
7. On the merits of the case, the counsel for. the petitioners argued that the summary of the evidence of P. W. 1 given in the Judgment does not show that the accused did anything to him. The argument overlooks what has been stated earlier in the judgment. It also overlooks the statement lower down in the judgment. When the judgment is read as a whole, it will be perfectly clear that there is plenty of evidence to support the conclusion reached by the learned Magistrate.
8. All the points taken before me by the learned counsel having failed the petition is dismissed.