1. The petitioners who are residents of the District of Tipperah were under arrest and in confinement in the under trial ward of the lock-up at Naraingunge, when proceedings were taken against them under Section 110, Code of Criminal Procedure, with the object of requiring them to give security for good behaviour.
2. It was objected before the Magistrate that he, as Magistrate of Naraingunge within the District of Dacca, had no jurisdiction to try this matter concerning persons who were residents of another district.
3. The Magistrate has overruled this objection and, on reference to the Sessions Judge under Section 123 for confirming the order passed by the Magistrate, the Sessions Judge has adopted the same view. The law runs thus: Whenever a Magistrate receives information that any person within the local limits of his jurisdiction:
(a) is by habit a robber, house-breaker or thief, or,
(b) and so forth.
4. The Magistrate has found that the terms of the section enable him to try such a case because the law may be read thus: 'Whenever a Magistrate receives information that any person is by habit a robber, house-breaker or thief within the local limits of his jurisdiction.' But the law is not so expressed and, under the ordinary rules of construction, it would not bear that interpretation. In my opinion it is when a person within the limits of a Magistrate's jurisdiction, that is, who is residing within the limits of such jurisdiction, is found to be a person of the description given above, that the Magistrate can take action, and it is not contemplated the Magistrate in such a case should issue a warrant so as to pursue the persons concerned into another jurisdiction. It also seems to me that, under the terms of this section, the reputation which the person is found to have must necessarily mean the reputation of that person in the neighbourhood, and the persons residing in that locality could be best able to speak to his character; moreover that, if he were called upon for his defence, he would naturally produce witnesses of that neighbourhood. Thus a trial held in another district and at some distance from his residence would probably result in his being unable to obtain the attendance of his witnesses or to obtain them at an expense which it would be unreasonable to call upon him to bear. In my experience I would add that I have never come across a case of this description in which jurisdiction has been assumed by a Magistrate of another district, and from this I take it that the practice has been universal in regard to restricting the jurisdiction of a Magistrate to cases of persons reputed to be of bad character and residing in his own district). The proceedings, therefore, are without jurisdiction and the order must accordingly be set aside. If the petitioners are in jail in consequence of their failure to give the security required they must be released.
5. I am of the same opinion and I entirely concur in the observations made by Mr. Justice Prinsep.