K. S. LODHA, J. -
(1.)- All these seven revisions arise out of similar facts and the question involved in them is also common, therefore, they are being disposed of by a common order. The police had instituted seven different challans against the present petitioner in all these cases and some others on the allega-tions that one Surendra Singh was the B. D. O. , Srikaranpur. During his absence on leave from 30. 11. 66 to 9. 12. 66, Shri Trilochan Singh, Animal Husbandary Extension Officer (A. H. EO.) was discharging the functions of the B. D. O. The case of the prosecution is that during this term certain faked applications for grant of loan for fertilisers were made in the names of various persons and the different officers at different levels conspired in making false identifications of those applicants, verifying their identities, making wrong entries about their holdings and no dues and some other persons gave securities for them. The petitioner Mal Singh was the Sarpanch of the Panchayat at that time and it is alleged that he verified the claims of all those faked applicants. The other co-accused persons were the various, Patwaries, clerks in the Panchayat Samiti etc. who made false reports and the persons who stood surities for the so called applicants as also Shri Trilochansingh the person who was officiating as a BDO. and who had ultimately granted the permits on the basis of those reports. After trial, the learned Munsif and Judl. Magistrate, Srikaranpur convicted the accused persons u/s 408 and 120-B IPC. and sentenced them to various terms of imprisonment and fines. The accused persons filed a number of appeals, some jointly and some separately before the learned Sessions Judge, Sri Ganganagar and the learned Sessions Judge, by his different orders in the various appeals, acquitted all the accused persons of offences u/ss 408 and 120-B I. PC. holding that the fertilisers were not proved to have been obtained from the Co-operative Society on the basis of the alleged permits and there also did not appear any conspiracy to have been established in his respect. He, however, observed that it was proved that the present petitioner Mal Singh in all these cases appeared to have falsely verified the applications for grant of loan of fertilisers but no charge u/s 471 I. P. C. had been framed against him and, therefore, while acquitting him of the offences u/s 408 and 120-B I. P. C, the learned Sessions Judge directed the learned Magistrate to take cognizance of the offence u/s 471 I P. C. against the accused petitioner Mal Singh and try him for that offence. It is against these orders in all these appeals that the present petitioner has come up in revisions.
(2.)I have heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned Public Prosecutor and have gone through the record of these cases.
Having heard the learned counsel, I am clearly of the opinion that this order of the learned Sessions Judge cannot be maintained in the facts and circumstances of this case.
A bare perusal of the judgments of the learned Sessions Judge clearly goes to show that he had found that the offences u/ss 408 and 120-B I. P. C. had not been made out against any of the accused persons including the present petitioner. He was, of course, of the opinion that the petitioner being the Sarpanch must be expected to know all the residents within his Panchayat and therefore, when he wrongly verified the applications in the present cases, it must be presumed that he knew those applications to be forged or fabricated and knowing this, he used those applications forms for obtaining permits and, therefore, he must be deemed to have committed an offence u/s 471 I. P. C. In my opinion, such conclusion cannot be justified in the facts and circumstances of the case. A perusal of the so called forged or fabricated application for grant of permits would go to show that before a permit could be granted on the basis of such an application, it used to pass through a number of hands at various stages. It used to go to the village level worker, who used to verify that the applicant was resident of that village and had land therein, then to the Patwari who used to verify the particulars of the land as also the fact whether any dues were out-standing against the applicant. Then the Sarpanch used to attest the document and also recommend the grant of permit and then it went to the Panchayat Samiti where it was verified that there were no dues against the petitioner and then it was to go to the B. D. O who ordered issuance of the permit in pursuance of which the permit was issued by the clerk concerned of the Panchayat Samiti, which was again signed by the B. D. O. and then on the basis of these permits, which were delivered to the applicant, the fertilisers were used to be issued on loan by the Co-operative Society. When in these circumstances, the matter came to the Sarpanch for attestation, it may be possible that he may have relied upon the report of the village level worker and Patwari and may have attested the signatures or thumb impressions of the applicant even though without actually ascertaining the identifies of the applicants. Then after the verification and probably the recommendation for the grant of the permit, the document passed out of the hands of Sarpanch and thereafter it was for the B. D. O. to grant permit on such applications That being so, even if for the sake of argument, it is assumed that the Sarpanch wrongly identified the applicant or verified the signatures, it cannot be said that it was the Sarpanch that is the petitioner, used as genuine a document which he knew or had reason to believe to be a forged document. The Sarpanch as a matter of fact cannot be said to have used that document merely by making his endorsement on it, As already stated above, the Sarpanch may have relied on the verification of the applicants by the Village Level Officer or the Patwari or he may have also relied upon the sureties who gave sureties for the applicants without actually verifying whether the applicants were really the persons in whose names the applications were being filed. He may be held guilty of negligence but not necessarily forging the document or using the forged document knowing it or having reason to believe it to be forged specially when the learned Sessions Judge has himself found that the charge of conspiracy between the persons who moved these applications and who made various reports at various stages has not been made out. In these circumstances, keeping in view the fact that all the other accused persons have already been acquitted of the offences u/ss 408 and 120-B, no useful purpose would be served by getting the charge u/s 471 framed against the present petitioner and trying him for that offence. In these circumstances, I am clearly of the opinion that the order of the learned Sessions Judge directing the learned Magistrate to take cognizance of the offence u/s 471 I. P. C. and trying the accused-petitioner for it, must be set aside.
I, therefore, accept these revisions and set aside the order of the learned Sessions Judge directing the Magistrate to take cognizance of the offence u/s 471 I. P. C. against the petitioner. .