1. The two petitioners have been committed for trial on the charge of conspiring to commit the offence of cheating punishable under Section 120 B and Section 420, Indian Penal Code. The Rule is to show cause why that commitment should not be quashed on the ground that the offence of conspiracy having already been taken cognizance of by Mr. B.N. Mukherjee, Deputy Magistrate, no other Magistrate had jurisdiction to take cognizance of it again so long as Mr. B.N. Mukherjee was in seisin of the case, therefore, the proceedings before the learned District Magistrate have been wholly ultra vires and are fit to be set aside.
2. It appears that on three separate Police reports Mr. B. N. Mukherjee took action against the petitioners and others in respect of this conspiracy and required them to give bail to answer the charge. The cages before Mr. B.N. Mukherjee remained pending and no evidence was taken up to the 28th June. On the 28th June a formal complaint was laid before the District Magistrate by the Police charging the petitioners and other persons with being members of this conspiracy and on that complaint the District Magistrate took proceedings which ended in the commitment of the petitioners to the Court of Session. On the day when the District Magistrate took cognizance of this complaint Mr. B.N. Mukherjee passed an order which amounted to a discharge of the persons who were appearing before him in the cases of which he had taken cognizance in connection with this conspiracy.
3. We are unable to hold that there is any illegality in the District Magistrate taking cognizance of the case which would justify us in quashing this commitment on a point of law. In the first place, it must be remembered that no prejudice against the petitioners has been alleged and it would appear that it was rather to their benefit that the case against them should be dealt with in one single proceeding rather than before the Deputy Magistrate in three separate proceedings. We have not been shown there is any provision of the Criminal Procedure Code which prevented the Magistrate from taking cognizance of the offence because another Magistrate had previously taken cognizance. The law prevents a person being tried twice for the same offence. But there is no provision that if, as in this case, cognizance is taken by two different Magistrates at different times the trial can be before one of them only. There seems to be no reason why the trial should not proceed before either of the Magistrates who have taken cognizance irrespective of the one having taken cognizance before or after the other. The only Section of the Code which in any way renders duplicate proceedings illegal is Section 403 which h as no application whatever to the present case. But multiplicity of trials can be always prevented by the Sections providing for the transfer of cases. But here is no question of multiplicity of trials. There has been only one trial, and unless the District Magistrate's action in taking cognizance was in itself illegal there was no illegality in that trial, I held that there was no illegality in the part of the District Magistrate in taking cognizance of the case and, therefore, there is no ground for quashing the commitment. The Rule is discharged.
4. I agree in the order proposed to be passed. I wish to add that I am not convinced that the complaint which was subsequently filed before the District Magistrate was for all practical purposes the same as that which was filed and taken cognizance of by the Deputy Magistrate.