1. This rule is directed against an order of the Magistrate forfeiting certain bond* under Section 514, Criminal P.C. After reading the judgment, it was impossible for me to understand what exactly had taken place and I am very much obliged to Mr. Roy Choudhury, who has appeared for the Crown, for the trouble which he has taken to elucidate it. I accept his suggestion that the proper course is to set aside this order and send the case back to the Magistrate to take further proceedings, should he think it necessary to do so.
2. Proceedings were drawn up under Section 107, Criminal P.C., against the first six petitioners on 14th March 1940. They were bound over by Mr. Dutt on 26th April 1940. They executed bonds on 26th June 1940. The police submitted a report to the effect that they had acted in breach of their undertaking on 19th December 1940. At the same time the complainant Submitted a report with a prayer that the bonds might be cancelled. I suppose he was labouring under the idea that, if the bonds were cancelled, petitioners 1 to 6 would be automatically put into jail. At any rate that matter was not proceeded with. On 13th January 1941 in consequence of the police report, Mr. Dutt called upon the petitioners to show cause why the bonds should not be forfeited. The case was taken up by his successor Mr. Bhattaeharjee. He made an order that the bonds were forfeited. He further directed the petitioners to show cause why the amounts should not be realised. In the meantime, the petitioners appealed to the District Magistrate and their appeals were dismissed. After that, the Magistrate confined himself to the question of how much ought to be forfeited and in the end forfeited the bonds in full. The petitioners then appealed again to the District Magistrate and, he reduced the amount. They then obtained this rule.
3. Mr. Roy Choudhury has pointed out that the difficulty is due to the peculiar provisions of Section 514, Criminal P.C., which requires first that it should be proved to the satisfaction of the Court that the bond has been forfeited. After recording the ground of such proof, the Court may call upon any person to pay the penalty or to show cause why it should not be paid. Now it is quite obvious that evidence taken behind the back of the person in question would be quite worthless. In showing cause such a person would almost automatically deny all the allegations made against him behind his back. I am not now considering whether the mere order that the bond has been forfeited is appealable. But the usual practice of Magistrates is, in order to save time, without formally recording an order that the bond has been forfeited, to call upon the person affected to show cause. This is what was done by Mr. Dutt in the present case. The petitioners had notice and appeared in the proceedings and I should therefore not be prepared to interfere on their behalf on the ground of any such irregularity.
4. There are however six bonds which are alleged to have been forfeited. Obviously if all these cases are jumbled up together confusion is almost bound to result. It has to be established separately that each particular bond has been forfeited and evidence with regard to one bond cannot be used with regard to another. It is really impossible for me to say that the individual cases have been properly considered here. The rule is accordingly made absolute and the order complained of is set aside. It will be open to the District Magistrate to take separate proceedings in accordance with law against petitioners 1 to 6 and their respective sureties, should he think fit to do so.