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AAFRALAM v. MAILU.P. C., Mallakam, 14,246.
Police Magistrate investigating case under chapter XVI. of the Criminal Pro-cedure Code—Witness giving false evidence—Right of Magistrate toexercise powers under s. 440.
A Police Magistrate, when inquiring into offences which he has nopower to deal with summarily, under chapter XVI. of the CriminalProcedure Code, can summarily punish a witness for giving falseevidence, as provided in section 440.
N this case the accused were charged with robbery. At thecompletion of the inquiry they were discharged, and the
complainant was called upon by the Police Magistrate “ to shew“ cause why he shpuld not be punished for giving false evidence“ in open Court in this judicial proceeding, in that he stated that“ the second accused snatched away his umbrella and the first“ accused snatched away his shawl with Its. 25 tied to it; whereas,“ in point of fact, no umbrella and no money was snatched away“ from him by the accused on the 17th April last.”
The complainant had no cause to show. The Police Magistrateadjudged him guilty of contempt of Court under section 188 ofthe Penal Code and section 440 of the Criminal Procedure Code,and sentenced him to pay a fine of Es. 25.
Fan Lfmgenberg, for appellant.—The order complained ofis wrong, because a Magistrate 'holding an inquiry has nopower to punish for contempt. James v. Lewis (Tambyab, 1).[Bonser, C.J.—See section 83 of Ordinance No. 1 of 1889, whichempowers Police Courts to exercise all powers .which they areempowered to exercise by virtue of the provisions in the Penaland Criminal Procedure Codes. Has not a Police Court power toinquire into a case?] Yes, it has. [Bonser, C.J.—Then, does
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a Police Court cease to be a Court when holding an inquiry?]Section 17 o£ the Penal Code defines judge to be not only everyperson who is designated as a judge, but also every person whois empowered by law to give in any legal proceeding a definitivejudgment. And Mr. Justice Lawrie argued that, if a committingMagistrate was not a “ judge,” he was not a “ Court,” as definedby Ordinance No. 1 of 1889, and not being a “ Court ” he couldnot punish under section 12 of Ordinance No. 9 of 1895. [Bonseb,C.J.—What does the new Criminal Procedure Code say?]
It defines “ judge ” in section 3 to be a judge of the SupremeCourt, and “ judicial proceeding ” to be any proceeding in thecourse of which evidence may be legally taken. [Bonseb, C.J.—That definition of “ judicial proceeding ” applies to the present case.James v. Lewis:, decided under a different law, does not apply.]
No appearance for respondent.
This appeal raises the important question whether a PoliceMagistrate, who is investigating a case under chapter XVI. of theCriminal Procedure Code—a case which he has no jurisdiction totry—can exercise the powers given to a court by section 440 ofthat Code.
The appellant was a witness in a case which the Magistrateof Mallhkam was investigating, and gave evidence in the courseof the inquiry in open Court. That' evidence the Magistrateconsidered to be false, and he accordingly ordered him to payBs. 25, or in default to suffer one mouth’s rigorous imprisonment.He appeals ugninst that order on the sole ground that the Magis-trate had no jurisdiction to make it. ' Mr. Van Langenberg, whoargued the appeal, relied upon the case Of James v. Lewisdecided by my brother Lawbie and reported in Tambyah 1,where it was held that- the Police Magistrate of Galle, whowas inquiring into an offence over which he had no summaryjurisdiction, was not entitled to exercise the powers given bi-section 12 of Ordinance No. 9 of 1895. As to whether that casewas rightly or wrongly decided I express no opinion, since itdoes not govern the present- case. The present case is underanother Ordinance. Section 440 of the Criminal Procedure Codeprovides that “ if any person giving evidence on any subject in” open Court- in any judicial proceeding under this Code gives,“ in the opinion of the Court before which the judicial proceeding” is held, false evidence within the meaning of section 188 of the“ Penal Code,” it shall be lawful for the Court to inflict the penaltyprescribed. Now the Criminal Procedure Code defines the term
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“ judicial proceeding ” as meaning “ proceeding in the course ofwhich evidence is or may be legally taken.” There can be noquestion that this inquiry was a judicial proceeding, and thatthe appellant gave evidence in that judicial proceeding. Mr. VanLangenberg argued that the judicial proccediug was not heldbefore a Court; but I am of opinion that that contention cannot bemaintained in the face of the provisions of the Code. Chapter XV.is headed “ Of the Commencement of Proceedings before PoliceCourts.” Section 148 provides that ” proceedings in a Police Courtshall be instituted in one of the following ways.” Then section152 provides that “ where the offence appears to be one not triable“ summarily by a Police Court, the Magistrate shall follow the“ procedure laid down in chapter XVI.” Section 155 provides“ that “ where an accused is brought before a Police Court, t.e.,“ in a case which is not summarily triable, the Magistrate is to“ proceed in the way prescribed.” Section 9 provides that “ every“ Police Court is to have jurisdiction to inquire into the commission" of offences in the manner prescribed by the Code.” It seemsto me clear beyond any doubt that a Police Magistrate, wheninquiring into offences which he has no power to deal withsummarily, can exercise the powers given to a Court by section440. I see nothing in the policy of the law which would excludethese cases. That being so, I think this appeal should be dismissed.
AMBALAM v. MAILU