Decided on January 28,1970



K.N.Mudaliar, J. - (1.) THE gravamen of the complaint against the Respondent herein is that he refused to hand over the Panchayat records etc, on 26th May, 1966 in reply to a notice sent by the complainant who was elected as President on 6th May, 1966. We are now not concerned with the previous history of the various proceedings which have culminated in launching the present complaint against the Respondent herein. The question that falls for consideration is whether the Vice -President who has been in charge of the records of the Panchayat and who refused to hand over to the complainant who happened to be the newly elected President was acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duties.
(2.) THE Respondent came to be in possession of the entire records of the Panchayat by virtue of his office as Vice -President. He continues to hold the same by virtue of his official capacity as the Vice -President and when he declined to hand over the records to the newly elected President, namely, the complainant herein, he was at least purporting to act in the discharge of his duties although his act may not be legal or regular in the eye of law and his refusal to deliver the Panchayat records is certainly as offence in terms of Section 182 Sub -Section 3 of the Madras Panchayats Act. If that be so, should the complainant obtain sanction for the prosecution of the Respondent herein? I have no doubt in ray mind that sanction is the essential pre -requisite for prosecution of Vice -President who is the Respondent. No court shall take cognizance of such offence except with the previous sanction of the Government. In fact, the trial magistrate would have been thoroughly justified in an outright dismissal of the complaint on this ground alone. The order of the trial magistrate is perfectly legal and valid, and good in law. No other point of law has been argued before me. The criminal appeal is dismissed.;

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