1. In this revision petition, which was admitted by my learned predecessor, I am constrained to remark that the trial Magistrate has not complied with the mandatory provisions of Section 263, Cr. P. C.
The case against the petitioners was one under Section 447, I. P. C. It was tried summarily and a non-appealable sentence of fine had been passed. Under Section 263, Cr. P. C., the Magistrate is not required to record the evidence of the witnesses, or frame a formal charge, but he is required to enter in the prescribed form, particulars regarding the name of the complainant, the name of the accused, date of the offence, date of report or complaint as well as the plea of the accused and his examination, the finding, and, in the case of conviction, abrief statement of the reasons therefor. I find that in this particular case, the plea of the accused has not been recorded.
Similarly, as regards the finding and a briefstatement of the reasons therefor, the Magistratehas written an order which is not in conformitywith law. A lengthy order was not called for. Butit was necessary for the Magistrate to say whatthe complainant's case was, what the plea of theaccused was, and what evidence was led on theirbehalf.
Curiously enough, the opening sentence of the Magistrate's order deals with the statement of one Prema D. W., who apparently gave alibi defence for one of the accused persons named Karam Singh. Then, the Magistrate proceeds to hold Karam Singh not guilty of the offence of criminal trespass and to acquit him of that charge. He then gives his reasons for holding that the accused persons were not in possession of the land on behalf of Mt. Bhikhamu. In the opinion of the Magistrate, the defence story was concocted one and the prosecution story was proved and the petitioners, Durga and Rattan Singh, did commit criminal trespass by entering the complainant's land with intent to annoy him. It would not be wrong to style the Magistrate's order as a lopsided one. The defence evidence has been discussed first and rejected and then a finding is given that the prosecution story was proved. Such a judgment can hardly be supported.
In--'State v. Ram Parkash', 53 Pun L R 53 (A), it was held by the Punjab High Court :
'It is the duty of the Magistrates not only to do justice but also to demonstrate that justice is being done. Slipshod and slovenly manner of trying cases brings the whole judicial administration into contempt.'
Learned counsel also cited--'In re, Govindan Thimma Chetty', AIR 1942 Mad 669 (B), where it was held that :
'Although in a summary trial it is not necessary for the Magistrates to record what the prosecution witnesses actually said, it is necessary for him in convicting the accused to give a brief statement of the reasons. A brief statement of his reasons would necessitate at least a short summary of what the prosecution witnesses had said, so as to indicate that the evidence had made out the case with which the accused had been charged, and also to indicate that the Magistrate had believed that evidence. If there is defence evidence, it would further be necessary for the Magistrate to say why he preferred the evidence of the prosecution to that of the defence. The Magistrates should also make it clear what the defence case was.'
My attention was also drawn to--'Abdul Rahman v. Emperor', AIR 1934 Lah 596 (C), where Shadi Lal, C. J., observed :
'In the case of a summary trial, in which so little is recorded and therefore there is so little protection from without to the persons accused, against the risk of error, haste or inaccuracy, the scanty provisions of Section 263 must be fully and strictly complied with in this sense that the record must be sufficiently exact, and sufficiently full to enable the revisional Court to say whether the law has been complied with or not on the points to be recorded. Three things viz., the offence charged, the offence, if any, proved, and the reasons for convicting, must be recorded, and recorded in such a way as to enable the Court of Revision to say, aye or nofrom, within the four corners of the record itself, whether the offence, charged is an offence in point of law, whether the offence proved is an offence in point of l'w, and whether the reasons for the conviction are good and sufficient reasons.'
2. Judged by the criterion laid down by Shadi Lal, C. J., the record maintained by the Magistrate is woefully deficient. Learned Government Advocate cited--'Ismail v. Emperor', AIR 1927 All 480 (D), where it was held that the Magistrate's action in destroying his notes of a summary trial is not illegal, as well as--'Chokkalinga Pandaram v. Emperor', AIR 1928 Mad 597 (E), where it was held that a Court of Appeal is not justified in travelling outside the record of a summary trial in hearing an appeal from a conviction in a summary trial. The last two rulings would have been applicable here, had the Magistrate maintained a record in conformity with law. Unfortunately, he has not done so. Therefore, I am obliged to interfere in revision.
I, therefore, allow this petition, set aside the conviction of the petitioners and acquit them. Fine, if realized from the petitioners, must be refunded. The case was a petty one and relates to an occurrence of June 1952. I do not consider it necessary, therefore, to order a retrial.