1. This is an application under Section 439, Criminal P.C., On which the District Magistrate, 24-ParganaS, has been asked to show cause why an order passed by the Second Police Magistrate, Mr. T.P. Bhattaoharji, summoning Rai Bahadur Ajit Nath Das under Sections 344 and 323, I.P.C., should not be set aside on the ground that the offences had already been compounded. This order was issued by the learned Magistrate after an enquiry on the complaint of Satish Chandra Koyal that his sister is being tortured by her father-in-law, Rai Bahadur Ajit Nath Das, and her husband's brother Krishna Kishore Das, that she has been confined in an absolutely dark and in sanitary room, beaten with a cane, is not being allowed sufficient food and is being systematically ill-treated. The complaint was dismissed under Section 203, Criminal P.C., by the First Police Magistrate after an examination of the girl on 16th May 1937, but the District Judge on 29th June 1937 directed a further enquiry by some other Magistrate. The case was then transferred to the Second Police Magistrate who directed the complainant to appear on 16th July 1937, examined three witnesses on 7th August 1937, three more on 25th August 1937, the girl herself on 7th September 1937, three more witnesses on; 11th September 1937, and then adjourned the case to 25th September for cross-examination of the girl. On 25th September, a petition of compromise was filed by Shefalika Dassi and on 29th September the order complained of was passed, the learned Magistrate holding that the evidence disclosed that Shefalika Dassi had been wrongfully confined for more than ten days and therefore the offence could not be compounded.
2. Such dilatory and protracted proceedings in an enquiry under Section 202, Criminal P.C., are to be deprecated. It was never intended that such an enquiry should be dragged out for months in this fashion. It is all the more regrettable in this case inasmuch as on a careful consideration of the evidence recorded and after hearing what the girl, Shefalika Dassi, had to say, we think that the order summoning the petitioners should be set aside and the order of the Police Magistrate dismissing the complaint should be restored.
3. We find that there is no independent evidence of the alleged wrongful confinement or ill-treatment of Shefalika Dassi. The fact that two of the witnesses are a dismissed servant and his son and the remainder are relations of the petitioners or the complainant, fits in with the statement of Shefalika Dassi that the complaint is the outcome of animosity against the Rai Bahadur because he has refused to continue giving money to her relatives and to his own relatives. She absolutely denied that she had been ill-treated in any way and continued to do so even after he had convinced her (as we-think) that she need have nothing to fear from her father-in-law or her husband if she was afraid to speak because of any threats. She had no appearance of being ill-treated and assured us that she was living quite happily with her husband. We believe she is telling the truth. The complainant was hostile to the marriage of his-sister from the first and goes so far as to say that she was seduced on a false pretext and then married to Kunja Kishore. With reference to the alleged confinement he says his sister was bolted into a room with the help of a carpenter and the lights taken off, but the carpenter has not been examined. If violent cries of the girl were heard, as alleged, outside the house, there seems to be no reason why independent witnesses-could not have been obtained. Her brother, Bimalendu Koyal, witness 8, says that he heard of ill-treatment and when he went to the petitioner's house he saw it but he does-not state specifically what ill-treatment he saw.
4. The brother of the mother-in-law of the girl, Sudhir Kumar Das, P.W. 3, says that he saw petitioner No. 1 assaulting the girl one 'day and again on 1st or 2nd of May last but since then he has not been to the house. Even if this were true, it is no evidence of the particular assault and confinement complained of. Witness 4, Bijoy Krishna Das, a nephew of petitioner No. 1, speaks of beating three years ago, confinement in Magh before last and beating also at that time. He says that on 8th. May She falika's brother took the police to the house, but of this statement there is no corroboration. The statements oft P.W. 5, Surendra Mohan Santra, petitioner's nephew, with reference to beating or confinement, are extremely vague. P.W. 6, Nagendra Nath Ganguly, is a, dismissed servant of the petitioners and P.W. 1, Chandi Das Ganguly, is his son. No reliance can be placed on their evidence. The evidence of P.W. 7, Ramendra, Krishna Das, another nephew of the petitioner, is all hearsay. The only other witness is P.W. 2, (a maidservant who took Shefalika Dasi to school) cited to prove that she had been at school, and that she was literate in spite of her denial that she is able to write. Certain letters (Exs. 1 to 6) alleged, to have been written by her to her father, brother and mother have been filed, She denies that she wrote; those letters, but even if they are her letters they do not support the allegations in the complaint with the exception of two lines at the end of the letter, Ex. 1, which runs as follows:
Dada, mar saite pari na, khete dai nai toomi siggir esho. (Brother, I cannot any more tolerate beatings, they give me nothing to eat, come soon).
5. These two lines have been added in a different handwriting and with a different pencil from the rest of the letter, and even if the rest of the letter was written by Shefalika to her brother, we think it probable that these lines formed no part of the original letter and were probably not written by the writer of the original. On the whole therefore, we think there is no reliable evidence in support of the allegations in the complaint. Accordingly, we set aside the order of the Magistrate summoning the petitioners under Sections 344 and 323, I.P.C.
6. I agree.