1. This was a Rule obtained by the petitioner to show cause why the conviction and sentence complained of should not be set aside.
2. The conviction was on the l8th of April 1916. On the 22nd of May 1916 an application by way of motion was made to the learned Sessions Judge asking that he would refer the case to the High Court. On the 29th of May the learned Sessions Judge dismissed that application. On the 26th of July a Rule was obtained in this Court by the petitioner, calling upon the District Magistrate to show cause why the conviction of the 18th April should not be set aside. In connection with this matter a question of practice arises. The rule which was laid down in accordance with the established practice of this Court was as follows : It is reported in the case of Khetra Mohan Giri v. Darpa Narain Giri 36 Ind. Cas. 979 : 20 C.W.N. 1170 : 17 Cr. L.J. 419 : 43 C. 1029. 'The well-known practice is that an application for revision must be made within sixty days from the date of the order complained of. The Court has allowed an addition, to the sixty days, of the time which is necessary for obtaining copies. This is not a question of limitation, but a rule of the practice of the Court to the effect that an application for revision must be made within a reasonable time.' I do not think that at the time of the pronouncement of the Court's order the particular point mentioned in this case was present to our mind. The point is whether in a case in which there has been an application to the Sessions Judge as in this case, the sixty days are to be counted from the refusal of the Sessions Judge to refer the matter to the High Court or whether the time is to be ascertained by counting the days from the date of the order complained of. I have made enquiries from the learned Judges who have had experience in dealing with matters in the Criminal Appeal Court. They are of opinion that there is no definite practice upon this particular point. But they are of opinion that the practice should be definitely decided. Therefore, we propose to lay down what ought to be the practice of this Court in such oases, and what, I think, will be considered to be a reasonable practice. But before doing so I desire to say that this is not a question of limitation; it is merely a matter of practice and it is made not only for the purpose of the administration of the business of the Courts but also in the interests of the accused persons themselves. It is most undesirable that a question of revision should be allowed to be unduly delayed. An application for revision ought to be made at the earliest possible moment. It is also to be stated that the rule is not an inflexible rule, and that this Court has reserved to itself the power, when exceptional circumstances are proved, to depart from it.
3. What we think ought to be the practice in a case of this kind where the accused person makes an application to the Sessions Judge and the Sessions Judge refuses to refer the case to this Court is this: The sixty days shall be counted from the date of the conviction or the order complained of, but the time which is occupied in prosecuting with diligence the application before the Sessions Judge and obtaining his decision should be added to the sixty days, just in the same way as the time necessary for obtaining copies.
4. Of course, when the learned Judge accepts the application and refers the matter to the High Court there is no difficulty. It only arises when the application of the accused person, who has to go in the first instance to the Sessions Judge, is refused. In that case I think that it is only reasonable that the time which is occupied by his making that application with due diligence and getting it disposed of by the Sessions Judge should not be included in counting the sixty days; or to put it in another way, that time should be added to the sixty days. For instance, in this case the motion to the learned Sessions Judge was made on the 22nd of May, and it was disposed of on the 29th of May: therefore, there were eight days, (the first and the last day being included) occupied in making the application to the Sessions Judge, and the applicant would have sixty-eight days, from the date of the order complained of, to come to this Court.
5. I trust, I have made the matter plain. In future that will be the practice which will be acted upon in this Court. 7. Inasmuch as there was some doubt about this matter, we do not dismiss the present application on that ground, though we think that the delay in this case was unreasonable, because the conviction was on the 18th of April 1916, and only eight days were occupied with regard to the motion to the learned Sessions Judge, and yet this Rule was not applied for until the 26th of July, more than three months after the date of conviction.
6. With regard to the merits, we have come to the conclusion that this is not a matter in which we ought to interfere, and that, therefore, this Rule must be discharged.
7. We direct that copies of this judgment be forwarded to the District Judges, for the information and guidance of the members, of the legal profession, with the intimation that the rule of practice here laid down will some into force from the 1st of November 1916.