( 202 )
Present : Lyall Grant J.
BANDA ARATCHI v. MADAR SAIBO et at.
605—P. C. Anuradhapuni, 67,104.
Village Tribunal—Exception in favour of public officers—Operation ofproviso—Ordinance No. 9 of 1924, s. 62.
The proviso to section 01 ol the Village Communities Ordinance
docs not exclude from, its operation cases in. which the public
officer prosecuting is the. party injured.
PPEAL from a conviction by the Police Magistrate ofAnuradhapura.
Rajakdriert for accused, appellant.
October 25, 1929. Lyall Grant J.—
In this .case*, the. accused were charged with various offences.The last1 three were acquitted and no question arises in regard to.them.
( 203 )
The first accused was charged with (1) voluntarily obstructing apublic servant in the discharge of his public duties, an offencepunishable under section 183 of the Ceylon Penal Code, and (2)using criminal force on a public- servant with intent to prevent himfrom discharging his duty as such public servant, &c., an offencepunishable under section 344 of the Ceylon Penal Code.
The second and third accused were charged with (1) intentionallyinsulting and giving provocation to the complainant intendingor knowing it to be likely that such provocation would cause himto break the public peace, an offence punishable under section 484of the Ceylon Penal Code, and (2) voluntarily obstructing the saidpublic servant in t.he discharge of his public functions, an offencepunishable under section 183 of the Ceylon Penal Code.
In the course of the trial a charge of common assault was addedagainst the first accused, an offence punishable under section 343of the Ceylon Penal Code.
The first accused was convicted of assault under section 343.and the second and third accused of insult under section 484.
At the end of the prosecution the defence took the objectionthat the charges against the accused were triable exclusively bythe Village Tribunal.
The objection was overruled.. The defence called no evidenceand the accused were convicted.
The only point argued in appeal was that the case was oneexclusively triable by the Village Tribunal.
The Magistrate, in overruling the objection, referred to section 61of Ordinance. No. 9 of 1924 and apparently considered that he hadpower to-try the case as the complainant was a public officer.
Section 61 provides that nothing in the section shall preclude apublic officer from prosecuting in a Police Court any offence whichbut for the provisions of the Ordinance would be cognizable by aPolice Court.
The complainant is undoubtedly a public servant and a complaintwas made of obstruction and abuse of himself when engaged in theperformance of public duties.
The facts of the case are that the complainant in the courseof his public duties had seized some goats which had come from arinderpest area.
The first accused attempted to drive some other goats into thebuilding where the quarantined goats were. By orders of thecomplainant this attempt was frustrated. Thereafter the firstaccused assaulted the complainant and the other accused abusedhim.
BandaAratcM v.Madar Scribe.
BandaAratchi v.Maldar Saibo
( 204 )
I think .that the ease falls within the provisions of section 61.That* section restricts the ordinary jurisdiction of the Police Court.It excepts from this restriction prosecutions by public officers.
' I hove not been referred to any definition of the expression“ public officer /' but presumably it is equivalent to 11 publicservant.
It might be argued that the exception is not intended to applyto j^qblic officers prosecuting in cases where they are the personsinjured, but I see no reason why the proviso should be read in sucha restricted sense.
The section is one removing certain, cases from the jurisdictionof the ordinary Court of the land.
The proviso leaves intact the jurisdiction in a certain wide classof cases. I do not see any reason why the Legislature should bepresumed to have intended to take a certain class of these cases,viz., those where the prosecuting officer is also the person injured,out of the jurisdiction when this is not expressly provided for;at any rate where as in the present case the assault was a directconsequence of action taken by the complainant .in pursuance* ofhis duties as a public officer.
In the absence of authority on the point—none was quoted tome—I hold that the plea to the jurisdiction of the Court fails asthe prosecutor is a public officer.'
For another reason I am unable to say that the Court has nojurisdiction. No evidence has been led to show that the offencewas committed within the limits »f a Village Tribunal and I do. notthink that in the absence of proof I should be entitled to makesuch an assumption.
If this objection stood, alone the case might be sent back forevidence on the point, but as I think the plea to the jurisdictionfails on other grounds, it is not necessary to do so.
I see no reason to interfere with the sentence on the first accused.
As the. offence committed by the- second accused is not one forwhich he ..could be bound over, the order to that effect, so far ashe is concerned, is set aside, and the case remitted back for sentenceon the second accused.
On ithi^.poipt see &ufy-In$pector p/; Police v. Silva1 and Silva v.Fernando.2
With this exception the appeals are dismissed..
110 C. L. R. p. 6.
* 4 C. W. R. 260. •