1. On 1.2-1945, information was lodged as a result of which the petitioners were sent up on a charge under Rule 81 (4), Defence of India Rules. The petitioners are rice dealers and the allegation against them was that they had not submitted accounts in respect of certain stocks of foodstuffs which were found in their godown. On 18-6-1945, a warrant was issued against all; one of the petitioners was arrested and the other two were absconding. Therefter a bail petition was presented but bail was refused pending final investigation and the petitioner who had been arrested was remanded. On 23-6-1945, another bail petition was moved and bail was allowed. Up to this stage only one of the accused was present, the others were still absconding. They eventually surrendered. The date of their surrender was 15-8-1945 and bail was granted to them also. Thereafter, the order sheet shows that there were a very large number of adjournments, a great many of which were applied for by the prosecution and the case remained on the file until 15-4-1946 when one witness was examined in chief and the case was adjourned again until 3rd May for examination of the remaining prosecution witnesses. On 3rd May, the Sub-Inspector appeared and expressed his inability to attend Court as he was engaged in other work and the case was adjourned until 24th May. On 24th May neither the Sub-Inspector in charge of the case nor any of the prosecution witnesses were present in Court. The learned Magistrate recorded an order noting that since 14-9-1945 there had been more than a dozen adjournments given in the case in order to enable the prosecution witnesses to be present and that no proseeution witnesses had been present on seven of those dates. He apparently considered that it was impossible to allow the case to be dragged on as he described it limitlessly in the way that was being done and he discharged the accused under Section 253, Criminal P.C. On the same day, that is to say, 24-5-1946, an application was put in by the Court Sub Inspector asking for a remand for an unspecified number of days to enable him to produce the remaining prosecution witnesses. He mentioned in his petition that the accused had been discharged while he was busy with the S.D.O. and stated that it was a big case and for the sake of administration the case should be tried and as further evidence was available he prayed that the case be revived. He stated that the officer in charge was now present in Court and that a date should be fixed. The learned Magistrate by his order refused the application and said that he saw no ground for revising his order of discharge which he had already made. He noted that the Court Sub-Inspector had not arrived until 5 o'clock in the evening. On the next day, that is to say, on 25th May another application was put in by the Court Sub-Inspector asking for the revival of the case, and its remand for an unspecified number of days alleging again that the case was important and that the complainant Sub-Inspector D. Ahmed, Officer-in-Charge, Narayanganj police station was present in Court; and that he had been under the impression that the case was in the Third Court, that is to say, some Court other than that in which it had already been proceeding for nearly a year, and that the accused had been discharged in his absence. This application was allowed and it is against this order that the rule has been obtained.
2. It seems to me that in disposing of this application and making the order that he did, the learned Magistrate approached the matter from the wrong angle. He should have considered the propriety of the application which was then made to him and the grounds upon which it was made. This he does not appear to have done. He simply revised his order of discharge not so much because of the statement made to him that the case was an important one, for that ground had not proved sufficient on the previous day, but because he seemed to be of the opinion that his previous order of discharge must have had a salutary effect on the police authorities and that there would be no further delays, and that in the circumstances he need not put it into effect. This, it seems to me, was not the correct way of approaching the matter. He should not have made the order that he did unless he was satisfied that the prosecutor had shown good grounds for it. The order passedshows that the grounds were really considered to be inadequate. The grounds, on the face of the application, wore absurd for, it is impossible to believe that the officer-m-charge was unaware of the Court in which the case had been proceeding so long. In the circumstances, this in my view, is a proper case for the exercise of the revisional powers of this Court and the Rule is accordingly made absolute. The order of the learned Magistrate of Narayanganj passed on 27-5-1940 is set aside and the proceedings are quashed.