Abdur Rahim, J.
1. I think in this case the order of the District Judge granting sanction must be set aside. The petitioner filed a suit on a promissory-note bearing a certain date. He afterwards withdrew the suit with the permission of the Court, before any summons or notice was taken out for the defendant. The defendant made an application for sanction for the prosecution of the plaintiff under Sections 453, 471, 475 and 476 of the Indian Penal Code. The District Munsif refused sanction, but the District Judge has set aside that order and granted sanction. There has been no inquiry into the question whether the promissory-note is forged. The suit was not heard, and no evidence has been taken as to the genuineness or otherwise of the note. The defendant has filed an affidavit stating that the promissory-note was a false document and that he owed no money. The plaintiff, on the other hand, insists that it is genuine and was executed for proper consideration.
2. The District Judge says that, because the stamp used did not come into use on the alleged date of the promissory-note, it must at least have been ante-dated. But the plaintiff gives an explanation as to how such a stamp came to be affixed on the note. He says that the defendant himself fraudulently affixed the stamp in question in order to evade his liability. There has been no inquiry as to which of the allegations is correct, and there is nothing like a judicial finding that the promissory-note is forged. A Court before granting sanction, ought to be satisfied that there is at least a prima facie case for prosecution, and the person to be prosecuted must have had an opportunity of showing that the document on which he based his suit is true and genuine. I do not wish to lay down that the inquiry must be in any. particular form. But there must be some inquiry and the Court granting sanction must be satisfied on evidence that the document used in Court is false. There are, no doubt, cases in which it has been held, that where a suit has been properly tried, there need not be any fresh inquiry as to the character of the document already found to be false. But I am not aware of any case in which it has been held, that when a suit has not been tried at all, sanction may be granted for the prosecution of the plaintiff in respect of a document filed by him in Court without its being found on proper inquiry held for the purpose that there are sufficient grounds for holding the document to be a forgery. On this ground the sanction ought, in my opinion, to be set aside, and it is, therefore, unnecessary for me to consider the question whether the District Munsif is right in holding, on the authority of Ambika Prasad Singh v. Emperor 35 C.P 820 : 8 Cri. L.J. 398 that there has been no user in this case within the meaning of Section 471, Indian Penal Code.
3. The promissory-note alleged to be forged in this case bore the signature of the promisee over a postal and revenue stamp of a kind which was not introduced into circulation until after the date of the document upon which it was used. Prima facie, an offence of forgery was committed by some one in respect of it.
4. As a suit was brought on the promissory-note and the note was put into Court with plaint, it was 'produced' in a proceeding in a Court within the meaning of Clause (c) of Section 195, Criminal Procedure Code. The words produced or in the Section were added when the Code of Criminal Procedure was amended, and have to be read apart from the words 'given in evidence' which follow.
5. It was, no doubt, the intention of the party to use the document in evidence in his suit, thought owing to the withdrawal of the suit before issue of notice to the defendant, it was not actually put in evidence. There was, therefore, ground for the Court which had the matter brought to its notice in the course of a judicial proceeding vide Akhil Chandra Tie v. Queen-Empress 20 C.K 474 to consider that an offence under Section 471, Indian Penal Code, had been committed.
6. The case of Ambika Prasad Singh v. Emperor 35 C.P 820 : 8 Cri. L.J. 398 was a case in which the person producing the document was not a party but a third party who merely filed certain rent receipts in Court through his Mukhtear, and the High Court held that the evidence that he had anything to do with them was very weak.
7. It is contended that the Court according sanction should have held some preliminary inquiry before passing orders under Section 195. The Section does not require any inquiry as a necessary antecedent to the grant of sanction. The connected Section 476, which has not been applied to this case, speaks of the Court 'making any preliminary inquiry that may be necessary'. In Baperam Surma v. Couri Nath Dutt 20 C.P 474 it was held, that although it may sometimes well be that a preliminary inquiry ought to be held, the adoption of a rigid rule to that effect would simply introduce into the criminal procedure in this country a new stage as a matter of imperative necessity.
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8. 'We do not think that such a practice is rendered imperative by the law and it is not desirable that it should be necessary and in every case introduced'. In making these observations, their Lordships dealt with the case as one under Section 476. Taking the order to be a sanction under Section 195, they found no reason for interfering at all.
9. In the present case, the District Munsif who heard the application was of opinion that this was not a case in which a preliminary inquiry would serve any purpose, and I consider, that in the exercise of his discretion he was entitled to form that opinion.
10. There was nothing to prevent him from taking judicial notice of the fact that the promissory-note alleged to be forged was filed in his Court along with the plaint, and he had also before him the affidavits and petitions produced by either side. Any inquiry that may be held under this Section need not even be a judicial inquiry vide Queen v. Nujum All 6 W.R. 41 Cr.. The District Munsif and the Judge who heard the application, were also entitled to draw any inference that might arise from the documents before them and to come to a conclusion whether the explanation offered by the counter-petitioner was probable and one that might reasonably be accepted. Actual proof might be left to the trial. They had only to see if a prima facie case had been established.
11. I am of opinion that the sanction should stand and that the application should be dismissed.
Abdur Rahim, J.
12. My learned brother would uphold the order of the District Judge. Under Section 36 of the Letters Patent, the order granting sanction is set aside.
13. The respondent will pay the costs of this application.