IN RE, ROY MUSALA HANUMANTHU AND TEN OTHERS Vs. STATE
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
In Re, Roy Musala Hanumanthu And Ten Others
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MR.CHANDRA REDDY,J. -
(1.) This revision case is preferred against the order of the District Magistrate, Gooty, directing commitment in a case in which the petitioners were discharged by the Stationary Sub-Magistrate, Gooty. A charge-sheet was filed against the petitioners for offences under sections 147,. 148, 149, 323 and 395, Indian Penal Code. The case against the accused is as follows:-
On 7th June, 1953, P.W. I, a Prohibition Petty Officer, accompanied by 11 Prohibition Guards, went to raid the hills near Kasapapuram village, Gooty taluk of Anantapur district. They found the first accused and some others setting up a still for the manufacture of arrack. Immediately these persons were apprehended and the still was seized. While the offenders were being taken to the Police Station at Guntakal a mob of twenty people came there, with the object of rescuing the prohibition offenders from the lawful custody of the Prohibition staff. The mob attacked P.W. 1 and the Prohibition Guards and demanded the release of A-1 and others. Finding that the persuasion of P.W. 1 to dissolve the mob was unfruitful and they would not listen to reason, P.W. 1 asked P.Ws. 2 and 3 to load the muskets and be prepared for any eventuality. Immediately, one Hanumanthu, the son-in-law of A-1 advanced towards P.W. 2 and seized the musket from his hand, ran a few yards and shot at the Prohibition Guards. P.W. 1 ordered the Guards to retaliate and the latter opened fire on the mob and Hanumanthu was shot dead. The mob immediately ran helter-skelter. Shortly thereafter, P.W. 1 went to-Guntakal Police Station and gave a report of the occurrence. In that report, only the name of A-1 was mentioned. After completing the investigation, a charge-sheet was filed before the Stationary Sub-Magistrate, Gooty, for the offences mentioned above. The Sub-Magistrate discharged all the accused holding that no prima facie case was made out after weighing the evidence. The District Magistrate was moved by the Police under section 437, Criminal Procedure Code, to set aside the order of discharge and to commit the accused to take their trial for offences mentioned above. The District Magistrate allowed the petition and directed that the accused should be committed to take their trial in the Court of Sessions for the offences with which they were charged.
(2.) In this Revision Petition against the aforesaid order, two points are urged by Mr. Chinnappa Reddy. They are (1) that the District Magistrate ought not to have interfered with the order of the Stationary Sub-Magistrate who, on appreciation of the evidence on record, came to the conclusion that no case has been made out against the accused ; and (2) that assuming the whole prosecution case could be acted upon, it does not disclose an offence under section 395, Indian Penal Code.
(3.) I do not think I could agree with the first argument of the learned counsel. The Sub-Magistrate approached the question from a wrong standpoint. It was not for him to see whether the evidence on record would warrant conviction. It is no doubt true that the Committing Magistrate does not act as a Post-office and if he feels on evidence that no prima facie case is made out he is certainly entitled to discharge them. But, it is not the intendment of the Code that he should usurp the functions of a Sessions Court and on elaborate discussion of the evidence reach the conclusion that the evidence does not justify the conviction of the accused persons. All that he has to consider is whether there are sufficient grounds to commit the accused to the Sessions and weigh the evidence only from that standpoint. He would be exceeding his jurisdiction if he considers the evidence to see if the accused could be found guilty. No doubt, each case has to be examined on its merits and it is difficult to lay down hard and fast rules in these matters. I think the accused were improperly discharged except in respect of one offence. Therefore, the District Magistrate cannot be said to have acted wrongly in setting aside the order of discharge.;
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