1. This was a rule on the District Magistrate of Mozaffarpur and also on the opposite Party to show cause why an order under Section 250 of the Code of Criminal Procedure should not be set aside, firstly, on the ground that the petitioner was not the person upon whose complaint or information the accusation was made and, secondly, on the ground that the petitioner being a servant was not responsible for the information given on behalf of his master.
2. Having regard to the first point, the learned pleader for the petitioner has asked us to draw a distinction between the informations referred to in Section 151 of the Code and those referred to in Section 157. He contends that the words in Section 250 'upon information given to a police-officer' refer only to information given in Section 154 and resulting in a Police investigation and final report under Section 173. He contends further that the information referred to in Section 157 is different to, and does not include, information given under Section 154. We do not think, however, that this distinction exists. We think that the words 'from information received' in Section 157 refer to the information given in Section 154. It appears to us that the information in this case was lodged under Section 154, was reported to the Magistrate under Section 157, and was finally reported under Section 173. We find here that the case was instituted ultimately upon a police report but originally upon information given to a police-officer, within the meaning of Section 250.
3. It remains to be seen whether the petitioner is responsible for the accusation against these three persons Aklu, Mahadeo and Ramphal. Now, as regards Aklu, all that the petitioner did was to lay information on behalf of his master and to say that Aklu was suspected. The learned Vakil for shown us a note of a (sic.) Pui servant cannot be held res (sic) 250 for an information of his master. It appears to (sic) whether a servant is responsible in such a case is one of fact depends on the question whether the servant is merely the mouthpiece of the master and is merely giving expressions to his master's accusation, or, whether he joins personally in the accusation himself. Here, there is nothing in the judgments below to indicate that the petitioner was anything more than the mouthpiece of his master so far as Aklu is concerned, and we think that he cannot be made liable to compensate Aklu.
4. But as regards the other two accused, the case is different. The Magistrate in his explanation says 'The other two accused were not named, but their subsequent arrest in the course of the Police investigation was due to clues furnished by the complainant or other persons interested in the case. The petitioner, as the person laying the information, is responsible for the consequences of that information.'
5. The terms of the section are certainly not very clear. They run as follows: 'If, in any case instituted by complaint as defined in this Code or upon information given to a police-officer or to a Magistrate, a person is accused before a Magistrate of any offence triable by a Magistrate and the Magistrate, by whom the case is heard, discharges or acquits the accused and is satisfied that the accusation against him was frivolous or vexatious, the Magistrate may, in his discretion, by his order of discharge or acquittal, direct the person upon whose complaint or information the accusation was made to pay to the accused, or to each of the accused where there are more than one, such compensation, not exceeding fifty rupees, as the Magistrate thinks fit'
6. Now this was certainly instituted upon information given to a police-officer and in it Ramphal and Mahadeo were accused of an offence and that accusation was vexatious.
7. The accusation, however, was not made in the, information on which the case was instituted and it is arguable that it is only such accusations that can be dealt with under the section. But if that had been the intention of the Legislature we would have expected the section to be much simpler and to have enacted merely that if, in any case instituted upon complaint or information, the Magistrate be satisfied that the complaint or information is vexatious, he should be entitled to award compensation. We are not prepared to go as far as the learned Sessions Judge and hold that the original complainant is liable for all accusations made 'by others interested in the case' in its course, but where the original complainant himself is the author of the subsequent accusations, he may justly be dealt with under Section 250.
8. Here, Mahadeo and Ramphal were proceeded against on the accusation of the petitioner himself. He said that he saw a garment stolen from his master in the shop of one Meajan and recognised it and it was in consequence of this alleged recognition and his communication of it to the Police that Mahadeo and Ramphal were arrested.
9. The Magistrate did not believe a word of all this. He remarks 'there is only the statement of Jagdami (petitoner) that the cloth was found in the shop. Meajan I regard as a tool of Jagdami.' He then gives at considerable length his reasons for distrusting this evidence and finally says 'It seems as if the evidence in regard to the stolen part was arranged by Jagdami in order to entangle Ramphal and Aklu and get them out of the way.' Later on he says 'I am not satisfied the pantaloon was stolen property and that it was recovered in the manner alleged. I believe that the tailor Meajan and the two Telis are lying witnesses and that the case before the Court has been engineered by the intriguing law agent, Jagdami Pershad Singh.' On these findings, the order that the petitioner should compensate Ramphal and Mahadeo is obviously just.
10. The rule is made absolute so far as the compensation to Aklu is concerned and discharged so far it relates to the compensation of Ramphal and Mahadeo.