Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1898 - Sections 205, 349 and 500
Raj Rajeswari Debi v Emperor, 15 Cri. L. J. 281, 23 I. C. 489 Cal; In Re: Mrs. Sukhalata Gupta, 21 C. W. N. 168
1. This rule was issued at the instance of Anila Bala Devi, who is a Pardanashin lady belonging to a very respectable family and is called the Rani of Jemo Rajbati Madhyam Taraf. On the complaint of the Chairman of the Kandi Municipality, she was summoned under S. 349/500, Bengal Municipal Act (ACT XV  of 1932, Bengal).
2. Section 349 gives power to the Commissioners of a Municipality to require cleansing of sources of water used for drinking or culinary purposes. Section 500 deals with non-compliance with the orders of the Commissioners. The punishment in the present case at the maximum was a fine of Rs 50.
3. This respectable Pardanashin lady applied before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Kandi for permission to appear by a pleader. What has surprised us most is why the Sub-Divisional Magistrate did not exercise his powers under Section 205, Criminal P. C., and allow the lady to do so. It seems various proceedings took place including an examination under orders of the Court by the Assistant Surgeon and allegations also against the Assistant Surgeon.
4. The Sessions Judge was of opinion that the order of the Magistrate in not allowing the lady to appear by pleader was an improper order, but as it was not an illegal order he had no power to interfere with the same. The petitioner then moved this Court and obtained the present rule.
5. Obviously, the learned Magistrate is not aware of two decisions of this Court, one in the case of Raj Rajeswari Debi v Emperor, 15 Cri. L. J. 281 : (23 I. C. 489 Cal.) and the other In re Mrs. Sukhalata Gupta, 21 C. W. N. 168, in which, even in stronger cases than this, Divisional Benches of this Court have allowed Purdanashin ladies to appear by pleader. In the first case mentioned the charges were very serious ones under Sections 307, 308, 325 and 326, Penal Code, and the ladies were even permitted to appear through pleader in the Court of Sessions should the cases be committed. The other case was one under Section 420, Penal Code, and the lady was allowed to appear by pleader till her conviction. We have not been able to understand at all why in a petty case involving at the most a fine of Rs. 50 the Magistrate insisted upon dragging a respectable lady to Court. Such conduct cannot but be seriously condemned.
6. We make the rule absolute. The petitioner will be allowed to appear before the Magistrate by her pleader and in view of the unseemly wrangling that had gone on in the Magistrate's Court, the case should be tried by some other Magistrate selected by the District Magistrate.