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A.M. Rangachariar Vs. Venkatasami Chetty - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in153Ind.Cas.322
AppellantA.M. Rangachariar
RespondentVenkatasami Chetty
Cases ReferredRamchandra Chetty v. Chairman
Excerpt:
criminal procedure code (act v of 1898), section 403 - madras local boards act (xiv of 1920), section 109--encroachment--notice to remove--prosecution for noncompliance--acquittal--fresh prosecution after issuing fresh notice, whether lies--construction of penal statutes--construction against fresh prosecution for same matter. - .....contended that the offence is not the same because the subsequent complaint alleged a subsequent notice to remove the same encroachment; except that the notice in the present case bears a subsequent date, all the facts alleged in the present case are exactly the same as the alleged in the previous case of the same year which ended in acquittal.3. the question for decision is whether the if sue of a subsequent notice avoids the bar imposed by section 403, criminal procedure code. the question has been answered in the affirmative by pakenham walsh, j., in the two cases reported in moidi beary v. president taluk board of mangalore : air1932mad535 and president, panchayat board, velgode v. venkata reddi : air1932mad537 after reviewing all the previous decisions. it is clear, however from.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Pandrang Row, J.

1. The petitioner contends that the order of the 1st Class Bench Magistrate's Court, Conjeevaram, dated October 31, 1933, discharging the respondent is contrary to law. The petitioner admitted during his examination as P.W. No. 1 in that Court that 'for the same offence the accused was charged in B.C. No. 378 of 1933', and the order of the Court dated March 3, 1933, which decided that case showed that the accused had been acquitted. The Court held that the accused was not liable to be tried again for the same offence in view of Section 403, Criminal Procedure Code, and the ruling reported in Ramanujachariar v. Kailasam Iyer : AIR1925Mad1067 .

2. It is now contended that the offence is not the same because the subsequent complaint alleged a subsequent notice to remove the same encroachment; except that the notice in the present case bears a subsequent date, all the facts alleged in the present case are exactly the same as the alleged in the previous case of the same year which ended in acquittal.

3. The question for decision is whether the if sue of a subsequent notice avoids the bar imposed by Section 403, Criminal Procedure Code. The question has been answered in the affirmative by Pakenham Walsh, J., in the two cases reported in Moidi Beary v. President Taluk Board of Mangalore : AIR1932Mad535 and President, Panchayat board, Velgode v. Venkata Reddi : AIR1932Mad537 after reviewing all the previous decisions. It is clear, however from the Bench decision in Ramctiandra Chetti v. Chairman, Municipal Council, Salem : AIR1926Mad763 that the point now to be decided was not decided therein; on the other hand, it is expressly stated therein that

if a prosecution had been instituted on the first requisition and had failed Or not been pressed, other considerations might come in, but that question does not arise here.

4. There are conflicting decisions by Single Judges on the point, and I feel myself at liberty to act upon the view which commends itself to my judgment. The offence consists, as laid down by the Bench in Ramchandra Chetty v. Chairman, Municipal Council, Salem : AIR1926Mad763 in the failure to obey the notice issued under Section 169 of the Local Boards Act to remove or alter the encroachment; or in other words, it is the failure-to remove or alter the encroachment specified in the notice that constitutes the offence; once there is such failure, the offence is complete, and failure to perform an act is ex necessitate rei, continuous in character. Another separate or distinct offence is not brought into being by the issue of a subsequent notice when that notice is by the same authority and to the same person, and relates to the same encroachment or contains the same direction. To hold otherwise would be to go against the spirit of the ancient maxim nemo debet his vexari pro Radem cause which is embodied in Section 403. I cannot bring myself to believe that it would be right or just, when the Court has once decided that there has been no failure to remove an encroachment and acquitted the accused, to make the same person liable to be tried again and again' for failure to remove the same encroachment, simply because the same authority hopes to get a different decision later on by issuing one notice after another. Otherwise, there would be no end to such prosecutions. The policy of the law relating to this subject is clear; if a person has been convicted for failure to remove an encroachment, he is to be prosecuted again, not under Sub-section (1) of Section 207 of the Local Boards Act for failure to remove the same encroachment, but for 'continuing breach' under Sub-section 2 of that section which provides an effective remedy. The necessary implication is that if the person has been acquitted he goes free altogether. Courts must generally lean, in cases of doubt, against any construction of a penal law which is patently oppressive to the subject and in favour of a construction which is in accord with the general policy of the criminal law, which is to protect the subject from a fresh prosecution after he has been convicted or acquitted in respect of what is in substance the same matter. Even if the question of law had to be decided otherwise, I would not have been prepared in the circumstances of the case to interfere in revision with the order of the 1st Class Bench Magistrates' Court. The Revision Petition is, therefore, dismissed.


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