Ghose and Gordon, JJ.
1. We are unable to agree with the Sessions Judge in the views he has expressed. The offence, with which the accused was charged was one which fell under Section 341 or 342 of the Penal Code. It was a summons case; and the Joint Magistrate, before whom the complaint was made, held, under Section 202 of the Criminal Procedure Code, an enquiry for the purpose of ascertaining the truth or falsehood of the complaint before issuing process against the accused. After holding such enquiry, he summoned the accused, and then after examining such witnesses as either party adduced, and a witness called by himself, found the accused guilty under Section 341 of the Penal Code. We do not think that there is anything in the Code of Criminal Procedure which disqualifies a Magistrate, who holds a preliminary enquiry under Section 202 of the Criminal Procedure Code from trying the case himself; and the provisions of Section 555 have, we think, no application to the circumstances of this case. The two cases quoted by the Sessions Judge, Girish Chunder Ghose v. Queen-Empress I.L.R. 20 Cal. 857 and Sudhama Upadhya v. Quern-Empress I.L.R. 23 Cal. 328 proceed upon the principle that when a Magistrate initiates or directs the proceedings against an accused person and takes an active part in the arrest of or collection of evidence against such person, he is disqualified by reason of the provisions of Section 555 of the Criminal Procedure Code from trying the ease himself, and that a disqualifying interest as contemplated by that section may result from a purely official connection with the initiation of criminal proceedings. In the present case that principle is not applicable. Here, the complaint was in the ordinary course made before the Sub-Divisional Officer; be held an enquiry as authorized by Section 202 of the Code, and eventually, upon the evidence recorded in the presence of the accused, found him guilty. There is nothing to indicate that he initiated or directed the proceedings or took any personal interest in the matter of the complaint instituted before him, and we do not think that he was disqualified in any way from trying the case.
2. It was perhaps irregular on the part of Mr. Gupta, the Joint Magistrate, in calling for and examining a witness after the evidence on both sides had been taken and the case adjourned for judgment; but it does not appear to us that the accused was in any way prejudiced by the action of the Magistrate, and indeed it may well be said that he (the Magistrate) was strictly within his rights under Section 540 of the Code, for the case was still a pending case, when the fresh evidence was taken.
3. Upon these grounds we decline to interfere in this matter.