B.S. Somasundaram, J. -
(1.) 22 persons belonging to the Left Communist Party were charge -sheeted by the Inspector of Police, Crime Branch, C.I.D., Madras, before the Court of the Special Additional First Class Magistrate, Nagapattinam, for offences under Sections 147, 148, 323, 324, 426, 307 and 302 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code. These charges arose out of a rioting followed by the murder of one Pakkiriswami, that occurred in ' Keela Venmani ' a village in Thanjavur District, on the 25th of December, 1968. The kisans were demanding higher wages. The Mirasdars were refusing to pay it. During September, 1968, the kisans struck work. One Muthukrishna Naidu engaged outside labour. This was resisted and resented. P.W. 1, Govindarajulu Naidu, commenced the harvesting of the crops that were in his land, with the help of his own pannayals on 23rd December, 1968. On the 24th, some Harijans from Kadalakudi came for work and they were prevented by accused Nos. 16 and 22 and one Seppan. On the 25th, deceased Pakkiriswami took some men to this land for the harvest. This was over by 5 -30 p.m. When the labourers were returning through the village of Venmani, the Harijans who were assembled there in a group, found fault with them for doing the work at low wages. Pakkiriswami, followed by P.Ws. 5 to 9, was proceeding ahead. Near a lamp post, a crowd of Harijans who were armed with aruvals and sticks, attacked him. He fell down. Accused Nos. 1 and 2 lifted him and accused No. 1 cut him in his neck and head. Then, they carried him towards the Nadu Harijan Street. The petitioners in this revision petition, viz., accused Nos. 15, 16 and 22, were in that crowd, shouting and chasing. This in brief, is the case for the prosecution.
(2.) OBSERVING that the prosecution has not proved the charges levelled against these respondents, the learned Magistrate who conducted the preliminary enquiry, discharged them after committing the rest to stand their trial before the Court of Session, East Thanjavur. The District Magistrate, Kumbakonam has upheld the order of discharge made by the Magistrate. The State has filed the present revision challenging this order. Under Section 207 -A(6) of the Criminal Procedure Code, where cases exclusively triable by a Court of Session, are instituted on a police report, the Magistrate who conducts the preliminary inquiry, can discharge the person indicted, if in his opinion the evidence and documents disclose " no grounds " for committing him. Sections 208 and 209 cover cases instituted otherwise than on a police report and in such cases he can discharge the person charged, when he finds that there are not " sufficient grounds " for committing. " The duty of appreciation of evidence in detail is that of the Court of Sessions, which alone has exclusive jurisdiction to try the offence, and in a case where the evidence is such that two different views are possible, the Magistrate should commit the case, because it deserves greater scrutiny and fuller investigation." -Vide Raghavan v. Abbas, (1967) M.L.J. 738. True, it cannot be said that the Magistrate has no discretion to weigh the evidence at all. But, there are limits to his discretion. It is not his duty to examine the prosecution evidence with meticulous care, balance the evidence of one witness against the evidence of another consider the probabilities and come to a conclusion on a doubtful point.
(3.) THE learned Magistrate observes in this order that " the prosecution has not proved the case against these persons." He is not concerned with the proof of a case; he has to consider whether it is a case of ' no grounds.' P.W. 1 has deposed that on the prior day, viz., 24th December, 1968, respondents 2 and 3 (accused No. 15 and 22) prevented some coolies from harvesting the paddy. P.Ws. 8, 11, 12 and 37 have deposed to the presence of these three respondents in the crowd that attacked Pakkiriswami on that day. P.W. 8 has said that respondent 1 (accused No. 15) was armed with an aruval and he and others shouted " do not leave. Iriikkai fellows -cut and beat". Cutting of Pakkiriswami by accused 1 followed it. P.W. 11 has stated that a crowd of 50 persons, armed with aruvals and sticks, emerged from the Harijan Street and that accused No. 1 and respondent 2 (accused 16) and ten or fifteen others shouted " beat, cut and stab." P.W. 12's evidence is that respondents 2 and 3 (accused Nos. 16 and 22), who, as members of the hostile crowd, chased them up to the electric lamp. P.W. 37 has deposed that the first respondent (accused No. 15) was in the crowd with an aruval, shouting along with others.;