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Ram Raja Dat vs Sheo Dayal

High Court Of Judicature at Allahabad|30 April, 1915

JUDGMENT / ORDER

JUDGMENT Piggott, J.
1. This is an application under the sixth Clause of Section 195 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, asking this Court to revoke an order passed by the Sessions Judge of Banda sanctioning the prosecution of one Ram Raja Dat for having committed the offence of giving false evidence in a deposition made by him on the 12th of August 1914 in the Court of a Magistrate subordinate to that Court. The case came before the Sessions Judge in appeal and hence he has dealt with the application for sanction. He was fully empowered to do so; but it is worth noticing that the evidence given by Ram Raja Dat was believed and acted upon by the Magistrate who heard it. I wish also to note that I look upon an application under Section 195, Clause (6), as standing on a very different footing from an application in revision. The right conferred by the clause above mentioned may not be exactly a right of appeal, but it is strongly analogous to such right. I think the Legislature intended that a Court of superior jurisdiction whose jurisdiction was invoked under Section 195, Clause (6), of the Code of Criminal Procedure, should re-consider the entire matter on the merits and while allowing all reasonable weight to the opinion of the Court below, should nevertheless reconsider the question of the propriety of the order of sanction on its merits upon a complete review of the entire facts. The proceedings out of which the matter now before me has arisen have been of considerable duration and occupied the attention of several Courts. It appears that a dispute arose on the death of one Musammat Beni Bai, who was a tenant holding lands as an ex-proprietor, as an occupancy tenant and also as a tenant-at-will. The dispute which arose on her death was as to whether she had or had not left any heir entitled to succeed to her interests as ex-proprietary tenant, occupancy tenant and non-occupancy tenant under the provisions of the Agra Tenancy Act (Local Act II of 1901). The applicant Ram Raja Dat was a collateral of Beni Bai and was a possible successor to her tenancy, provided that he had shared in the cultivation of the tenancy at the time of the lady's death. In the village papers he stood recorded as a sub-tenant of the holding. A dispute between Ram Raja Dat and the zemindar Chaudhri Baldeo Prasad, was fought out in the Court of an Assistant Collector of the first Class upon an application for mutation of names under the Land Revenue Act. The enquiry resulted in a clear finding in favour of Ram Raja Dat, whose name was ordered to be recorded in place of Mnsammat Beni Bai deceased in all khalfis, and with same rights as the deceased lady. That order was never appealed against, nor does it appear that any attempt has been made up to the present to get the question re-litigated by means of any proceedings under the Agra Tenancy Act. What happened was that the Assistant Collector formed a very unfavourable opinion with regard to certain evidence given by Sheo Dayal, patwari of the village, in the course of the inquiry before him. He directed the prosecution of Sheo Dayal upon charges of forgery and of giving false evidence. It was before the Magistrate enquring into these charges that Ram Raja Dat made a statement in respect of which it is now sought to prosecute him. Sheo Dayal was convicted in the Magistrate's Court in respect of a charge under Section 193, Indian Penal Code, but was acquitted by the Sessions Judge on appeal. He is now the applicant in favour of whom the sanction in question before me has been granted. The statement in respect of which Ram Raja Dat has been orderded to be prosecuted is in the following words: "I did not pay any rent to Mnsammat Beni Bai. I was not her sub-tenant. The word 'sub-tenant' against my name in the coupon of the money order as to 1319 Fasli was written by dhoka." It may be explained at once that, for three consecutive years, rent due from Musammat Beni Bai on account of her holding or holdings was remitted by Ram Raja Dat direct to the zamindar by means of money orders. In filling up the prescribed form for one of these money orders, namely, that one by which rent for 1319 Fasli was remitted, Ram Raja Dat described the rent as due from Musammat Beni Bai, tenant, paid through Ram Raja Dat, sub-tenant. Apart from this document it would seem that the only evidence available to support the charge in respect of which the prosecution of Ram Raja Dat has been sanctioned is to be found in the oral evidence which may be expected to be given by Sheo Dayal Paticari and by the two witnesses who were produced by the said Sheo Dayal as his defence witnesses when he himself was on his trial: that is to say, the two witnesses in question were not heard of during the enquiry before the Assistant Collector and appeared in evidence for the first time in Sheo Dayal's defence, after Ram Raja Dat as well as other witnesses had been examined for the prosecution in the case in which Sheo Dayal was accused. From the records before mo it appears that what Sheo Dayal and his two witnesses are prepared to assert is something as follows: that a certain sum of Rs. 23-4-5. which happened to be rent due from Musammat Beni Bai to her zamindar, was paid by Ram Raja Dat to that lady in the presence of the patwari, was entered by the latter in his papers as a payment from a sub-tenant to the tenant-in chief and that the thumb-impression of Musammat Beni Bai was there upon taken on the patwari's siyaha, in order to attest this payment. The money itself, however, was there and then handed back by Musammat Beni Bai to Ram Raja Dat, with a request that he should forward it by money order to the zamindar in payment of the rent due to the latter from Musammat Beni Rai herself. So far as the papers before me show, no explanation has yet been suggested as to why the payment Bam Raja Dat is supposed to have made as a sub-tenant should have amounted to precisely the rent due for the year from the tenant-in-chief to the zamindar. It is clear also that, once Sheo Dayal and his fellow-witnesses coming to Court with this story, they will be faced by the fact that the thumb-impression taken on the pahvari's siyaha has already been judicially examined and found not to be what they said it was, namely, the impression of the left thumb of Musammat Beni Bai. This statement of the facts is sufficient to show that the evidence available on behalf of the prosecution as against Ram Raja Dat is not particularly strong or free from suspicion. It is necessary also to consider what are precisely the statements in respect of which it is desired to prosecute Ram Raja Dat. He said, first of all, "I did not pay any rent to Beni Bai" beyond the fact that he three times sent rent due from that lady to the zemindar direct to the latter, the only evidence forthcoming to show that this statement was false is that of the witnesses who deposed to the incident already described. Now Ram Raja Dat made this statement as a prosecution witness against Sheo Dayal. Assuming as it seems proper to assume, that the two witnesses subsequently produced in Sheo Dayal's defence were not invented after the charge had been framed, then the facts to which they were prepared to depose must have been known to Sheo Dayal and his legal adviser while Ram Raja Dat was in the witness-box and subject to cross-examination. From the point of view of the defence the statement, I did not pay any rent to Beni Bai," was a quibble or evasion, intended to keep the actual facts as to payment of rent for 1319 Fasli, if possible, from the knowledge of the Court. If it was intended to make that statement hereafter the basis of a prosecutiou for perjury, it was highly incumbent on the defence to cross-examine the witness in such a manner as would close all avenues of escape behind him, if he was wilfully lying, or would bring the facts clearly to his recollection if he was speaking hastily and in forgetfulness of the precise facts. The importance of paving the way for a subsequent prosecution by a careful and intelligent use of the right of crossexamination seems to be very imperfectly understood in many Subordinate Courts in this country. Ram Raja Dat's next statement requiring to be considered is, "I was not her sub-tenant." This is not altogether a pure statement of fact. From one point of view it is a mixed proposition of fact and of law. One thing known for certain at the present stage of this litigation is that the only Court competent by law to pronounce on the correctness of this proposition, which has hitherto dealt with the matter, has given a decision in Ram Raja Dat's favour. The third statement to be considered is that on the money order coupon already referred to Ram Raja Dat wrote himself down as a sub-tenant "dhoka se" that is to say, by mistake, or through some misunderstanding from any possible point of view this assertion seems to me to be not a false statement but a plain truism. I do not think this is a suitable case for a prosecution and I revoke the order of sanction passed by the Court below.
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Title

Ram Raja Dat vs Sheo Dayal

Court

High Court Of Judicature at Allahabad

JudgmentDate
30 April, 1915
Judges
  • Piggott