( 190 )
Present: Jayewardene A.J.BANDARAGE APPUHAMY v. ROMIEL et al.
201—P. C. Trincomalee, 6,045.
Village Tribunal—Jurisdiction—Offence of voluntarily causing hurt—More properly triable by Police Court—Powers of GovernmentAgent—Ordinance No. 8 of 1924, 88, -5, 64, and 66.
A Village Tribunal has jurisdiction under section 65 of OrdinanceNo. 8 of 1924 to try all offences under section 312 of the Penal Code,without qualification.
Where the offence is one which may be more appropriatelytried by the Police Court, it is open to the complainant to appealto the Attorney-General or the Government Agent to exercisethe powers conferred on them under section 64 of the Ordinance.
PPEAL by the complainant from an order by the PoliceMagistrate of Trincomalee referring him to the Village
Rajakarier, for appellant.
May 6, 1925. Jayewardene A.J.—
This is an appeal from an order referring the complainant to theVillage Tribunal. The cpmplainant charged the accused withcausing hurt, an offence under section 312 of the Penal Code and
( 191 )
punishable under section 314 of the same Code. After hearing thecomplainant’s evidence, the learned Magistrate referred him to theVillage Tribunal. The complainant appeals, and it is contendedfor him that the hurt caused is of such a nature that the accusedcannot be adequately punished by the imposition of a fine ofRs. 20—the maximum fine a Village Tribunal can impose.In addressing that argument to this Court, learned counsel hadevidently overlooked the fact that “ The Village CommunitiesOrdinance, No. 24 of 1889,” which regulated the powers of VillageTribunals in civil and criminal cases has been repealed by onepassed last year, viz., Ordinance No. 9 of 1924. Under therepealed Ordinance Village Tribunals were given the power to trycertain offences among them, the offence of “ voluntarily causinghurt as defined by section 312 of the Ceylon Penal Code ….whenever the offence is of such a nature that it may be adequatelypunished by no higher punishment than a fine of twenty rupees,or in default of payment by rigorous imprisonment for twoweeks ”
Under the new Ordinance, section 55, a Village Tribunal hasjurisdiction to try “ all offences enumerated in the schedule to thisOrdinance . . . and the qualifying words to be found inthe repealed Ordinance have not been re-enacted.
An offence under section 312 of the Penal Code is one of theoffences enumerated in the schedule. Offences under section 312are therefore offences within the jurisdiction of a Village Tribunaland section 62 of the Ordinance requires that if in any case institutedbefore a Court, civil or criminal, it shall appear at any stage of theproceedings that the case is one within the jurisdiction of a VillageTribunal, the Court shall stop further proceedings and refer theparties to the Village Tribunal. But the Ordinance (section 64)authorizes the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General, or aGovernment Agent in certain cases to direct any offence which,but for the provisions of this Ordinance, would be triable by aPolice Court, to be tried before a Police Court if such a trial ismore appropriate. A Village Tribunal itself is given the right toreport to the Government Agent cases of assault which in itsopinion cannot be adequately punished by any penalty within thepowers of the Tribunal, and all cases, criminal and civil, that mightmore appropriately be tried before a higher Court. The Govern-ment Agent is then empowered to exercise the powers vested inhim under section 64 referred to above. The new Ordinancegives a Village Tribunal jurisdiction to try cases under section 312without qualification, subject, however, to the 'right conferredon the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General, or a GovernmentAgent under section 64 of the Ordinance, and to the right of theVillage Tribunal itself to report to the Government Agent undersection 66.
Bandar ay &Appuhamyv.Bomiel
( 192 )
When the case goes before the Village Tribunal the complainantcan appeal to the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General, or theGovernment Agent, to exercise the powers confexred by section64, which I have no doubt the authority appealed to would do,if satisfied that the offence is one which cannot be adequatelypunished or appropriately tried by a Village Tribunal.
Therefore, whatever powers this Court may have had to interferewith an order of this kind under the repealed Ordinance, the newOrdinance has indicated a procedure which prevents this Courtfrom exercising that jurisdiction any longer. The offence com-plained of is one clearly within the jurisdiction of a Village Tribunal,and the Police Magistrate was bound under section 62 to referthe complainant to the Village Tribunal if there was one whichhad jurisdiction to take cognizance of the offence. The appealmust therefore be dismissed.
BANDARAGE APPUHAMY v. ROMIEL et al