Decided on March 29,1961



- (1.) THIS Rule raises the question whether an order for costs may properly be made against an accused in terms of sec. 344 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the ground of willful absence from court.
(2.) ON the 7th of June, 1960 the complainant opposite party was in attendance in court with his witnesses when on behalf of the accused petitioner an application supported by a medical certificate was filed, stating that he had been suffering from illness which prevented him from attending court that day a prayer was, accordingly, made for adjournment of the case. The petition was challenged on behalf of the opposite party and it was asserted that the petitioner had deliberately kept away from court and procured a false medical certificate in support of his pretended illness. It was prayed on behalf of the opposite party that the petitioner might be directed to be examined by a competent doctor, and the fees for such examination were at once deposited in court. The Magistrate allowed the prayer and directed the medical officer-in-charge of the local hospital to examine the petitioner that day and report to court the result of his examination on the 14th June, 1960, to which date the case was adjourned. On the 14th the Magistrate considered the medical report which did not disclose any valid ground of absence of the accused on the 7th. The Magistrate then directed the petitioner to pay Rs. 30/- as adjournment costs to the complainant opposite party.
(3.) BEING dissatisfied with the order, the petitioner applied to the Sessions Judge for a reference to this court with the recommendation that the order of the Magistrate be set aside. The learned Judge declined to interfere when the petitioner applied to this Court and obtained the present Rule. The only question which arises for consideration is whether the Magistrate acted within his powers under section 344 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in awarding costs to the complainant opposite party. Sec. 344 (1a) is in these words:- "if, from the absence of a witness, or any other reasonable cause, it becomes necessary or advisable to postpone the commencement of, or adjourn any inquiry or trial, the Court may, if it thinks fit, by order in writing, stating the reasons therefor, from time to time, postpone or adjourn the same on such terms as it thinks fit, for such time as it considers reasonable, and may by a warrant remand the accused if in custody. ";

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