Decided on September 17,1952

Venkatachala Naicken Appellant
Panchayat Board Respondents


SOMASUNDARAM, J. - (1.) THIS is an application to set aside the conviction by the Panchayat Court of Ethapur which has sentenced the petitioner to a fine of Rs. 5 for what the Panchayat Court calls that he made a hubbub alter refusing to answer the question put by the Court and chat he asked the other accused also to refuse to answer. It is clear from the judgment of the Sub -Divisional Magistrate of Salem, before whom this accused preferred a revision petition, that, when some of the accused ware present on a particular day of the hearing, the Panchayat Court asked the accused to produce the other accused for hearing on the adjourned date, that the accused did not produce the other accused and that he was questioned. It is stated that he would not reply, and in my opinion, the accused was perfectly justified in not answering any question regarding his not producing the other accused. No Court has any jurisdiction to compel one accused to produce the other accused in the case. The Panchayat Court seems to have arrogated to itself powers which are not given to it either by the Village Courts Act or by the Code of Criminal Procedure. The accused appears to have preferred a petition to the Sub -Divisional Magistrate, Salem, for the transfer of this case to the file of some other Panchayat Court. I am satisfied that in this case the members of the Panchayat Court must have been annoyed at the filing of the transfer application and taking advantage of an illegal order, which the Panchayat Court passed by asking the accused to produce the other accused and for non -production, they seemed to have lost their temper and convicted this accused. This case is a good instance to show that in this country the Panchayat Courts ought not to be invested with criminal jurisdiction. They seem to be carried away by the local politics and the inimical feelings that they happen to entertain against persons. The procedure which they have adopted in this case is a flagrant violation of the Village Courts Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure. I am of opinion that these Courts ought not to be invested with the criminal jurisdiction. I am satisfied that the conviction is wholly illegal and it ought to be set aside. It is hereby set aside and the fine, if paid, will be refunded.;

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