SRI NATH AND ANR. Vs. BHAGWAN DIN
HIGH COURT OF ALLAHABAD
Sri Nath And Anr.
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V.D. Bhargava, J. -
(1.) THIS is an application under Article 227 of the Constitution of India against the decision of a Panchayati Adalat. Srimati Kunwara and her son, Shri Nath, have been convicted under Section 426, I.P.C. and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 25 each.
(2.) THE proceedings started on an application having been given by the opposite -party with the allegations that his nabdan, charhi and mend of his fields have been damaged by the accused and, therefore, he prayed that the applicants be ordered to restore his nabdan, charhi and mend of his fields to their original conditions and that he be awarded compensation. No doubt, in the body of the application certain allegations were made which would amount to allegations of a criminal nature but so far as the relief was concerned, it was purely of a civil nature. The Panchayati Adalat, which heard the case, convicted the accused under Section 426, I.P.C. and sentenced them to pay a fine of Rs. 25 each. The Learned Counsel for the applicants has urged that it was not open to the Panchayati Adalat to convert a civil proceeding into a criminal one when the opposite -party wanted a relief which was of a civil nature during the trial of that suit and the Panchayati Adalat should not have convicted the accused The Learned Counsel for the State has relied on Section 83 of the U.P. Panchayat Raj Act and has urged that that section gives ample powers to pass any decree or order, with or without costs, as may seem just and legal and, therefore, the order of conviction is correct. The section itself takes into account civil, criminal or revenue cases. They are all different and if a civil case is filed, no order can be passed which should have been passed in a criminal case and it is not open to a Panchayati Adalat to convert a civil proceeding into a criminal proceeding. The Act prescribes that if it is a civil proceeding, a revision will lie to the Munsif but if it were a criminal proceeding, a revision will lie to the Sub -Divisional Magistrate. It will be a great anomaly if in inception a proceeding was of a civil nature but the order was passed as if it was a criminal case and in that event which officer will be competent to hear the revision.
(3.) I consider that the Panchayati Adalat had gone beyond its jurisdiction in convicting the accused and I, therefore, set aside the conviction and sentences. The fine, if paid, shall be refunded.;
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