1. These rules may be dealt with simultaneously as the matters involved are the same in all of them. It appears that some eight complaints were made to the Joint Magistrate of Durbhanga on behalf of the landlords against a large body of tenants charging them with offences, which, may be shortly described as criminal trespass or assault and possibly rioting.' After examination of the complainants the Magistrate in one, if not more of these cases ordered processes to issue, but immediately afterwards cancelled that order dealing with all these cases by another order referring them all to the District Magistrate. The District Magistrate thereupon ordered a judicial inquiry to be held in each of these cases by Subordinate Magistrates deputed for that purpose. The question is whether the District Magistrate had any authority under the law to. pass any orders in these cases, seeing that the complaints were not made to him nor had the cases based on those complaints been withdrawn to his Court by any order, and next whether, even if the District Magistrate had jurisdiction to pass any order on these complaints, he was authorized to pass the order or orders for judicial inquiry, thus suspending the issue of the usual processes for the attendance of the accused and the trials.
2. We have received a letter from the District Magistrate in explanation of the matters stated in the affidavit, and the petition presented to us on which these rules have been granted. We are unable from that explanation to ascertain clearly with whom the distribution of business within what is known as the Sudder Sub-Division of Durbhanga rests. The Joint Magistrate undoubtedly had jurisdiction to receive complaints under Section 191 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and therefore, we may take it that, unless any complaint so made to him had been withdrawn from his Court, and the case had been made over to another Magistrate by an order under Section 192, the Joint Magistrate would have jurisdiction to deal with the case under Sections 202, 203 and 204. There is no order that has been brought to our notice by which the District Magistrate has withdrawn these cases to his own Court, or has distributed them amongst any other Subordinate Courts. It seems that by some executive order the District Magistrate had directed that all cases between these parties should be sent to him as he wished to see them, and for this purpose it would seem that these oases were sent to the District Magistrate. But this order did not justify the District Magistrate interposing in the trial of these cases, unless he thought it proper to remove them to his own Court, and we cannot find that it has been anywhere stated that such trials have been removed from the Court of the Joint Magistrate. The orders directing a judicial inquiry by another Magistrate before the issue of processes, so as to postpone the trials, were therefore without any authority. In the next place it is very questionable whether such an order could be passed, even if the cases had been removed by the District Magistrate to his own Court for trial. The law ordinarily provides that, after the examination of the complainant, on a complaint made to a Magistrate, process for the attendance of the accused shall issue, and it is only when, in the terms of Section 202, the Magistrate after examining the complainant has reason to doubt the truth of the complaint, that he is authorized to suspend the issue of such process and to hold an inquiry or investigation into the truth of the complaint. The rules, therefore, must be made absolute, and the orders for judicial inquiry set aside, the complaints being placed before the Joint Magistrate, who will proceed in accordance with law.