Ram Narain Singh & Ors Vs. State of
Bihar  INSC 156 (28 July 1972)
KHANNA, HANS RAJ KHANNA, HANS RAJ DUA, I.D.
CITATION: 1972 AIR 2225 1973 SCR (1) 738
Code of Criminal Procedure (Act 5 of 1898),
s. 107-Lapse of time between date of incident and disposal of proceedings-
Danger of breach of peace non-existent-Expediency of requiring bonds under
Section 107, Cr. P. C. is designed to enable
the Magistrate to take measures with a view to prevent commission of offences
involving breach of peace or disturbance of public tranquillity. it is not
correct to say that once the period for which the bond was ordered to be
executed had expired the order becomes nugatory, because, it would lead to the
result that the proceedings under the section would have to be dropped if the
person proceeded against succeeds in protracting the proceedings even though
the apprehension of breach of peace or disturbance of public tranquillity still
persists. [740B-F] But the court is not precluded from taking into account
subsequent events. If the material on record discloses that the danger of
breach of peace has disappeared the Court can.
drop the proceedings and discharge the person
proceeded against. Even in the absence of positive evidence of reconciliation
between the opposing parties. if the Court finds that since the date of the
incident complained of, a very long period had elapsed during which nothing_
untoward had happened the Court may draw the inference that the danger of
breach of peace has vanished. [740F-H] In the present case, the appellants were
ordered in 1959 to furnish bonds under the section. The amount of the bonds was
reduced by the appellate court. A revision by the appellants to the High Court
against the order to furnish the bonds was dismissed. The bonds, however, were
not executed because of stay orders passed by the courts. The appeal ,against
the High Court's order was disposed of by this Court in 1972, and during the 13
years that the matter was pending in the lower Courts and this Court, the
appellants had not done anything which may cause apprehension of breach of
peace. [740H; 741A-B] Therefore, it was not expedient to compel them to execute
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Criminal
Appeal No. 63 (N) of 1968.
Appeal from the judgmen and order dated July
10, 1967 of the Patna High Court in Criminal Revision No. 932 of 1967.
U. P. Singh, for the appellants.
N. S. Bindra and R. C. Prasad, for the
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Khanna, J.--This is an appeal by special leave by Ram Narain Singh and six
others against the judgment of Patna High Court, whereby their revision
petition was dismissed in limine.
There was a dispute between the appellants on
the one side and Ram Prasad and others on the opposite side in respect of 739
plot No. 23 situated in village Deayapur in District Patna.
Proceedings under section 144 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure were taken in September, 1958 because of that dispute. In
October, 1959 dispute again arose between the parties because of the alleged
breaking of the idol of Durga by some of the appellants. The idol was stated to
have been installed by Ram Prasad. The breaking of the idol gave rise to a
criminal case against Ram Narain Singh and Arjan Singh.
The accused were, however, stated to have
been acquitted in that case. On May 7, 1959 Ram Prasad filed an application
before the Sub Divisional Magistrate Dinapur against the appellants and some
others for taking action under section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
In that application it was stated that there was a good mango crop in the land
of Ram Prasad and the appellants and their companions wanted to cause loss to
Ram Prasad. The appellants. it was further stated, used to carry lathes and
held out threats to Ram Prasad. The learned magistrate sent that application to
the police. The police then submitted a report and two cross cases were started
against the opposite parties under section 107 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure. Notices were thereafter issued to the parties to furnish bond. The
appellants denied the allegations against them and stated that they were peace
loving citizens. They denied having held out any threat to Ram, Prasad or
having or removed. his mango fruits. The learned magistrate ordered the
appellants to furnish bonds in the sum of Rs. 2,000 with two sureties each for
the same amount for one year, and in default to undergo simple imprisonment for
a period of nine months.
On appeal the Additional Sessions Judge Patna
reduced the amount of bond to Rs. 1,000 with the sureties of Rs. 500 each for a
period of one year. In default each of the appellants was ordered to undergo
simple imprisonment for a period of nine months. The appeal of one Arjan Singh,
who had also been ordered to be bound down, was allowed. The High Court
dismissed in limine the criminal revision filed by the appellants.
Mr. U. P. Singh on behalf of the appellants
has contended in this Court that as the matter relates to the year 1959, it
would not be approver to bind down the appellants in the year 1972. It is
pointed out that because of the stay orders granted by the different courts, no
bond has so far been furnished by the appellants. As against that, Mr. Bindra
on behalf of the State has urged that this Court should not interfere with the
order of the courts below.
Under section 107 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure, a Presidency Magistrate, District Magistrate, Sub-divisional
Magistrate or Magistrate of the first class may require a person to show cause
740 why he should not be ordered to execute a bond, with or without sureties,
for keeping the peace for a period not exceeding one year as the Magistrate
thinks fit to fix, if such Magistrate is informed that the said person is
likely to commit breach, of peace or disturb public tranquillity or to do any
wrongful act that may occasion breach of peace, or disturb public tranquillity
and if the Magistrate. is further of the opinion that there is sufficient
ground for proceeding against that person. The underlying object of the section
is preventive and not penal. The section is designed to enable the magistrate
to take measures with a view to prevent commission of offences involving breach
of peace or disturbance of public transquillity. Wide powers have been
conferred on the magistrates specified in this section and as the matter
affects the, liberty of the subject who has not been found guilty of an
offence, it is essential that the power should be exercised strictly in
accordance with law.
The question with which we are, concerned in
this appeal is whether because of an incident which took place in 1959, the
appellants should be compelled in 1972 to furnish bonds for keeping the peace,
for that would be the necessary, consequence of the dismissal of the appeal. We
may at the outset state that we find it difficult to accede to the submission
made by Mr. Singh that once the period for which bond was ordered to be
executed has expired, the order becomes nugatory and the proceedings under
section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure must be dropped. The proceedings
under section 107 of the Code, in our opinion, can continue despite the fact
that the period for which the bond was required to be executed has expired. To
hold otherwise would lead to the result that the proceedings under the section
would have, to be dropped if the person proceeded against succeeds in
protecting the proceedings, even though the apprehension of breach of peace or
disturbance of public tranquillity still persists. At, the same time, the court
is not precluded from taking into account,, the subsequent events. If the
material on record discloses that though there was a danger of breach of peace
it one time, because, of the happening of a subsequent event the danger of
breach of peace has disappeared, the court can drop the proceedings and
discharge the person proceeded against. Even in the absence, of some positive
evidence of reconciliation between the opposing parties, if the court finds
that since, the date of incident complained of, a very long period has elapsed
during the course of which nothing untoward has happened. the court may well
draw the inference that the danger of breach of peace has vanished.
In the present case the proceedings against
the appellants were initiated in 1959. The proceedings relate to an incident
also of 1959. There is nothing to show that during the period of 13 741 years
since then, the appellants have done anything as may cause apprehension of
breach of peace. In the context of the above circumstances, we, are of the
opinion that it would not be expedient or essential to compel the appellants to
execute bonds under section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the year
1972. We therefore accept the appeal and discharge the appellants.
V. P. S. Appeal allowed.