Banerjee and Wilkins, JJ.
1. We are asked to set aside the proceedings in this case including the charge that had been framed against the petitioner, on the ground that upon the facts stated by the complainant, the trespass, which is the offence complained of, was not criminal trespass, and could only be civil trespass, if trespass it could be called; and in support of the contention that we ought to interfere in this case, three cases have been referred to, namely, Ishur Chunder Karmokar v. Seetul Dass Mitter (1872) 17 W. R. Cr. 47, Shumbhu Nath Sarkar v. Ram Kamal Guha (1883) 13 C. L. R. 212 and Chandi Pershad v. Abdur Rahman (1894) I.L.R. 22 Cal. 131.
2. The first question that arises for consideration is whether we ought to interfere at this stage of the case. The learned Counsel for the petitioner contends upon the authority of the last mentioned case that we ought to interfere.
3. No doubt we have the power to interfere in any case and at any stage of it; and we quite assent to the proposition enunciated in the case of Chandi Pershad v. Abdur Rahman that 'there can be no doubt whatever that we have the power to interfere at any stage of the case, and when it is brought to our notice that a person has been subjected to harassment of an illegal prosecution, it is our bounden duty to interfere.' But whilst on the one hand it is our bounden duty to prevent the harassment of parties by illegal prosecutions, on the other hand it is our duty to allow proceedings in the subordinate Courts to go on and take their natural course, unless there is any exceptional ground for our interference; because if the rule was not limited in this way, the result would be, that it would be open to every person accused of an offence before a subordinate Court to come up to this Court at any stage of the case, and as often as he likes in the course of the trial, and ask us to put a stop to further proceedings. Such a thing the Legislature could never have intended by any provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure, and such a thing would seriously impede the speedy administration of justice. The learned Counsel for the petitioner very properly concedes that the cases for our interference during their pendency in the subordinate Courts must be of an exceptional nature. The question then is, what should be the practical test to apply, to determine whether any particular case is of that exceptional nature. Without meaning to lay down any hard and fast rule, which it is impossible as it is undesirable to do upon a question like this, we think we may say that one safe practical test would be this, namely, that a bare statement of the facts of the case without any elaborate argument should be sufficient to convince this Court that it is a fit one for its interference at an intermediate stage. The learned Judges who decided the case of Chandi Pershad v. Abdur Rahman thought in the exercise of their judicial discretion that the case before them was of a nature such that their interference was justified. In the present instance, without prejudging it in any way, and without pronouncing any opinion upon its merits, we must say that the case does not fulfil this test. The contention of the learned Counsel that upon the facts alleged by the complainant the offence of criminal trespass is not at all made out, may be perfectly sound; but as we have said above, we do not think it necessary for us at this stage of the case to go into that question, if it has to be determined upon any lengthy or elaborate argument.
4. In this view of the case, and for the reasons stated above, the rule must be discharged.