Gopi Chand Vs. The Delhi
Administration  INSC 5 (20 January 1959)
DAS, SUDHI RANJAN (CJ) DAS, S.K.
CITATION: 1959 AIR 609 1959 SCR Supl. (2) 87
CITATOR INFO :
D 1960 SC 457 (18,39) R 1976 SC 714 (81) RF
1977 SC1884 (12) RF 1991 SC1117 (11)
enactment--Provision for trial of specified offences under summons procedure in
notified areas--Constitutional validity--Applicability to Proceedings Pending
on expiry of enactment--Absence of saving provision--East Punjab Public Safety
Act, 1949 (Punj. 5 of 1949), ss. 36(1), 20--Constitution of India,
Art.14--General Clauses Act, 1879 (10 of 1879), s. 6.
Section 36(1) of the East Punjab Public
Safety Act, 1949, (Punj. 5 Of 1949), which was passed in the wake of the
partition disturbances in India with a view to ensure public safety and the
maintenance of public order, provided that offences mentioned therein land
committed in the area declared to be dangerously disturbed under S. 20 Of the
Act, should be tried under the summons procedure prescribed by Ch. XX of the
Code of Criminal Procedure. By the first notification issued under s. 2o of the
Act, the whole of the Province of Delhi was declared to be a dangerously
disturbed area; subsequently the second notification purported to cancel the
first. The third notification then sought to modify the second by inserting
into it the words "except as respect things done or omitted to be done before
this notification ". The fourth and last notification issued under s.
36(1) of the Act sought to save proceedings there under pending after the
cancellation of the first notification. The appellant who was put up for trial
in three cases for offences ordinarily tribal under the warrant procedure, was
tried under the summons procedure according to s. 36(1) of the Act and the
first notification and the trials were continued even after the expiry of the
Act in respect of substantial parts of them under the same procedure and ended
in his conviction which was affirmed by the High Court in appeal. The Act was a
temporary Act and contained no provision saving pending proceedings. 'It was
contended on behalf of the appellant that the first part of S. 36(1) of the Act
in treating the disturbed areas as a class by themselves and providing a
uniform procedure for the trial of specified offences violated Art. 14 Of the
Constitution and that the continuance of the trials under the summons procedure
even after the expiry of the Act was invalid.
Held, that the two tests of the validity of
the classification made by the Legislature were, (1) that the classification
must be based on an intelligible differentia and (2) that this differentia must
be reasonably connected with the object of the legislation. Thus tested, there
could be no doubt, in the present case, that the classification on a
geographical basis made by the impugned 88 Act between areas that were
dangerously disturbed and other areas, in the interest of speedy trial of
offences, was perfectly justified.
Ram Krishna Dalmia v. justice Tendolkar,
 S.C.R. 279, relied on.
Lachmandas Kewalram Ahuja v. The State of Bombay,  S.C.R. 710, held inapplicable.
But since the impugned Act was a temporary Act
and contained no appropriate provision saving the summons procedure prescribed
by it, that procedure could not, on the expiry of the Act, apply to the cases
pending against the appellant.
Krishnan v. The State of Madras, 
S.C.R. 621, relied on.
Wicks v. Director of Public Prosecutions,
 A.C. 362, referred to.
The third and the fourth notifications,
obviously intended to cure the absence of a saving provision in the Act, were
'wholly outside the authority conferred on the delegate by s. 2o or s. 36(1) of
the Act and must be held to be invalid.
With the issue of the second notification,
therefore, the entire province of Delhi ceased to be a dangerously disturbed
It was erroneous to apply by analogy the
provisions of s. 6 of the General Clauses Act to cases governed by a temporary
Act, such as the one in question, which did not contain the appropriate saving
provision and contend that since the trials had commenced validly, their
continuance under the same procedure even after the declaration had ceased to
operate and subsequent orders of conviction and sentence passed therein were
valid as well.
Srinivasachari v. The Queen, (1883) I.L.R. 6
Mad. 336, Mukund v. Ladu, (1901) 3 Bom. L.R. 584 and Gardner v.
Lucas, (1878) 3 A.C. 582, held inapplicable.
Ram Singh v. The Crown, A.I.R. 1950 East
Punjab 25, disapproved.
Syed Qasim Razvi v. The State of Hyderabad,
 S.C.R. 589, referred to and distinguished.
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal
Appeals Nos. 25-27 of 1955.
Appeals from the judgments and order dated
February 1, 1955, of the Punjab High Court (Circuit Bench), Delhi in Cr.
Appeals Nos. 5-D, 6-D and 13-D of 1952,
arising out of the judgments and orders dated December 22, 1951, of the 1st
Class Magistrate, New Delhi in Criminal Cases Nos. 220/2, 221/2 and 223/2 of
89 Ram Lal Anand and S. N. Anand, for the
H. J. Umrigar and T. M. Sen, for the
1959. January 20. The Judgment of the Court
was delivered by GAJENDRAGADKAR J.-These three appeals have, been filed with
certificates granted by the High Court of Punjab under Art.
134(1) (c) of the Constitution and they arise
from three criminal cases filed against the appellant. The appellant Gopi Chand
was the chief cashier, and Hukam Chand was an assistant cashier, in the United
Commercial Bank Ltd., New Delhi. They were charged with the commission of
offences under s. 409 in three separate cases. In the first case No. 223/2 of
1949, the prosecution case was that on or about April 8, 1948, both had agreed
to commit, or cause to be committed, criminal breach of trust in respect of the
funds of the Bank where they were employed; and in pursuance of the said
agreement they had committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the total
amount of Rs. 1,65,000. They were thus charged under ss. 408, 409 and 120B of
the Indian Penal Code. The appellant was convicted of the offence under s. 409
read with s. 120 and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for seven years.
Against this order of conviction and sentence he preferred an appeal to the
High Court of Punjab (No. 5-D of 1952). The High Court confirmed his conviction
but altered the sentence imposed on him by directing that he should suffer four
year's rigorous imprisonment and pay a fine of Rs. 10,000 or in default suffer
rigorous imprisonment for fifteen months. The order of conviction and sentence
thus passed gives rise to Criminal Appeal No. 25 of 1955 in this Court.
In the second case (No. 221/2 of 1949) the
appellant was charged with having committed an offence under ss. 408 and 409 of
the Indian Penal Code in that he had committed criminal breach of trust in
respect of an amount of Rs. 23,772-8-6. The trial magistrate ,convicted the
appellant of the said offence and sentenced him to suffer rigorous imprisonment
for five years.
12 90 On appeal (No. 6-D of 1952) the order
of conviction was confirmed but the sentence imposed on him was reduced to
three years' rigorous imprisonment. This order has given rise to Criminal
Appeal No. 26 of 1955 in this Court.
In the third case (No. 220/2 of 1949) the
appellant, Hukam Chand and Ganga Dayal were charged with having committed an
offence under s. 409/408 read with s. 120B of the Indian Penal Code in that all
of them had agreed to commit criminal breach of trust in respect of the sum of
Rs. 10,000 belonging to the Bank and that in pursuance of the said agreement
they had committed the criminal breach of trust in respect of the said amount.
The trial magistrate convicted the appellant of the offence charged and sentenced
him to four year's rigorous imprisonment. On appeal (No. 13-D of 1952) the High
Court confirmed the conviction but reduced the sentence to two years' rigorous
imprisonment. From this order arises Criminal Appeal No. 27 of 1955 in this
The appellant has obtained a certificate from
the High Court under Art. 134(1) (c) of the Constitution because he seeks to
challenge the validity of the order of conviction and sentence passe against
him in the three cases on the ground that the proceedings in all the said cases
are void. He contends that, whereas the charges framed against him had to be
tried according to the procedure prescribed for the trial of warrant cases, the
learned trial magistrate tried all the cases according to the procedure prescribed
for the trial of summons cases and that makes void all the proceedings
including the final orders of conviction and the sentences.
The point arises in this way. The East Punjab
Public Safety Act, 1949 (Punj. 5 of 1949), hereinafter called the Act, which
came into force on March 29, 1949, was passed to provide for special measures
to ensure public safety and maintenance of public order. It is common ground
that the offences with which the appellant was charged would normally have to
be tried under the procedure prescribed by ch. XXI of the Code of Criminal
Procedure for the trial of warrant 91 cases but in fact they have been tried
under the procedure prescribed by ch. XX for the trial of summons cases. The
summons procedure differs from the warrant procedure in some material points.
Under the former procedure a charge is not to be framed while under the latter
a charge has to be framed under s. 254 of the Code. Similarly an accused person
gets( only one chance of cross-examining the prosecution witnesses under the
summons procedure whereas under the warrant procedure he is entitled to
cross-examine the said witnesses twice, once before the framing of the charge
and again after the charge is framed. The appellant concedes that the cases
against him were tried according to the summons procedure by reason of s. 36 of
the Act and the notification issued under it; but be contends that the relevant
provisions of the Act are ultra vires and he alternatively argues that the
proceedings in respect of a substantial part were continued under the summons
procedure even after the Act had expired and the relevant notifications had
ceased to be operative. That is how the validity of the trial and of the orders
of conviction and sentence is challenged by the appellant.
It would be relevant at this stage to refer
to the material provisions of the Act and the relevant notifications issued
under it. The Act came into force on March 29, 1949. It was passed to provide
for special measures to ensure public safety and maintenance of public order.
Section' 36 of the Act prescribes the procedure for the trial of specified
offences; under sub-s. (1) all offences under this Act or under any other law
for the time being in force in a dangerously disturbed area, and in any other
area all offences under this Act and any other offence under any other law
which the Provincial Government may certify to be triable under this Act, shall
be tried by the courts according to the procedure prescribed by the Code,
provided that in all cases the procedure prescribed for the trial of summons
cases by ch. XX of the Code shall be adopted, subject, in the case of summary
trials, to the provisions of ss. 263 to 265 of the Code. For the avoidance of
doubt subs. (2) provided that 92 the provisions of sub-s. (1) shall apply to
the trial of offences mentioned therein committed before the commencement of
this Act, and in a dangerously disturbed area committed before the date of the
notification under s. 20, in respect of it. Under s. 20 the Provincial Government
is authorised by notification to declare that the whole or any part of the
Province as may be specified in the notification to be a dangerously disturbed
Four notifications were issued under s. 20.
By the first notification issued on July 8, 1949, the whole of the Province of
Delhi was declared to be a dangerously disturbed area by the competent
authority. It appears that on September 28, 1950, the said authority issued the
second notification cancelling the first notification with effect from October
1, 1950. This notification was followed by the third notification on October 6,
1950, which purported to modify it by inserting the words " except as
respect things done or omitted to be done before the date of this notification
after the words " with effect from October 1, 1950 in other words, this
notification purported to introduce an exception to the cancellation of the
first notification caused by the second, and in effect it purported to treat
the Province of Delhi as a dangerously disturbed area in respect of things done
or omitted to be done before the date of the said notification. The last
notification was issued on April 7, 1951. This notification was issued by the
Chief Commissioner of Delhi in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-s. (1)
of s. 36 of the Act, and by it he certified as being triable under the said Act
in any area within the State of Delhi not being a dangerously disturbed area
the following offences, viz., any offence under any law other than the
aforesaid Act of which cognisance had been taken by any magistrate in Delhi
before October 1, 1950, and the trial of it according to the procedure
prescribed in ch. 4 of the said Act was pending in any court immediately before
the said date and had not concluded before the date of the certificate issued
by the notification.
Let us now mention the facts about the trial
of the 93 three cases against the appellant about which there is no dispute. ,
The First Information Report was filed against the appellant on June 30, 1948.
The trial commenced on July 18, 1949, and it was conducted according to the
procedure prescribed by ch. XX of the Code'. Some prosecution witnesses were
examined and cross-examined before January 26, 1950, and the' whole of the
prosecution evidence was recorded before August 14, 1951. The evidence for the
defence was recorded up to November 14, 1951, and the learned magistrate
pronounced his judgments in all the cases on December 22, 1951.
For the appellant, Mr. Ram Lal Anand contends
that s. 36(1) of the Act is ultra vires because it violates the fundamental
right of equality before law guaranteed by Art.
14 of the Constitution. His argument is that
since offences charged against the appellant were triable under the warrant
procedure under the Code, the adoption of summons procedure which s. 36(1)
authorised amounts to discrimination and thereby violates Art. 14. It is the
first part of sub-s. (1) of s. 36 which is impugned by the appellant. The
effect of the impugned provisions is that, after an area is declared to be
dangerously disturbed, offences specified in it would be tried according to the
summons procedure even though they have ordinarily to be tried according to
warrant procedure. The question is whether in treating the dangerously
disturbed areas as a class by themselves and in providing for one uniform
procedure for the trial of all the specified offences in such areas the
impugned provision has violated Art. 14.
The point about the construction of Art. 14
has come before this Court on numerous occasions, and it has been consistently
held that Art. 14 does not forbid reasonable classifications for the purpose of
legislation. In order that any classification made by the Legislature can be
held to be permissible or legitimate two tests have to be satisfied. The
classification must be based on an intelligible differentia which distinguishes
persons or things grouped together in one class from others left out of it, and
the differentia must have a 94 reasonable or rational nexus with the object
sought to be achieved by the said impugned provision. It is true that, in the
application of these tests uniform approach might not always have been adopted,
or, in dealing with the relevant considerations emphasis might have shifted;
but the validity of the two tests that have to be applied in determining the
vires of the impugned statute under Art. 14 cannot be doubted.
In the present case the classification has
obviously been made on a territorial or geographical basis. The Legislature
thought it expedient to provide for the speedy trial of the specified offences
in areas which were notified to be dangerously disturbed areas ; and for this
purpose the areas in the State have been put in two categories, those that are
dangerously disturbed and others. Can it be said that this classification is
not founded on an intelligible differentia.? In dealing with this question it
would be relevant to recall the tragedy of the holocaust and the savage
butchery and destruction of property which afflicted several parts of the border
State of Punjab in the wake of the partition of India. Faced with the
unprecedented problem. presented by this tragedy, the Legislature thought that
the dangerously disturbed areas had to be dealt with on a special footing; and
on this basis it provided inter alia for the trial of the specified offences in
a particular manner. That obviously is the genesis of the impugned statute.
That being the position, it is impossible to hold that the classification
between dangerously disturbed areas of the State on the one hand and the non_
disturbed areas on the other was not rational or that it was not based on an
intelligible differentia. Then again, the object of the Act was obviously to
ensure public safety and maintenance of public order; and there can be no doubt
that the speedy trial of the specified offences had an intimate rational
relation or nexus with the achievement of the said object.
There is no doubt that the procedure
prescribed for the trial of summons cases is simpler, shorter and speedier; and
so, when the dangerously disturbed areas were facing the problem of unusual
civil commotion and strife, the Legislature was justified 95 in enacting the
first part of s. 36 so that the cases against persons charged with the
commission of the specified offences could be speedily tried and disposed of.
We are, therefore, satisfied that the challenge to the vires of the first part
of sub-s. (1) of s. 36 cannot be sustained. In this connection we may refer to
the recent decision of this Court in Ram Krishna Dalmia v. Justice Tendolkar
(1). The judgment in that case has considered the previous decisions of this
Court on Art. 14, has classified and explained them, and has enumerated the
principles deducible from them. The application of the principles there deduced
clearly supports the validity of the impugned provisions.
It is, however, urged by Mr. Ram Lal Anand
that the decision of this Court in Lachmandas Kewalram Ahuja v. The State of
Bombay (2) supports his contention that s. 36(1) is invalid.
We are not impressed by this argument. In
Ahuja's case (2) the objects of the impugned Act were the expediency of
consolidating and amending the law relating to the security of the State,
maintenance of public order and maintenance of supplies and services essential
to the community in the State of Bombay. These considerations applied equally
to both categories of cases, those referred to the Special Judge and those not
so referred; and so, on the date when the Constitution came into force, the
classification on which s. 12 was based became fanciful and without any
rational basis at all. That is why, according to the majority decision s. 12
contravened Art. 14 of the Constitution and as such was ultra vires.
It is difficult to see how this decision can
help the appellant's case. The impugned provision in the present case makes no
distinction between one class of cases and another, much less between cases
directed to be tried according to the summons procedure before January 26,
1950, and those not so directed. The summons procedure is made applicable to
all offences under the Act or under any other law for the time being in force;
in other words, all criminal offences are ordered to be tried according to the
summons procedure in the dangerously disturbed areas. That being (1) A.I.R.
1958 S.C. 538.
(2)  S.C.R. 710, 731.
96 so, we do not think that the decision in
Ahuja's case (1) has any application at all. Thus we feel no difficulty in
holding that the impugned provision contained in the first part of s. 36(1) is
constitutional and valid.
Then it is urged that the Act which came into
force on March 29, 1949, was due to expire and did expire on August 14, 1951,
and so the proceedings taken against the appellant under the summons procedure
after the expiration of the temporary Act were invaid. It is argued that, in
dealing with this point, it would not be permissible to invoke the provisions
of s. 6 of the General Clauses Act because the said section deals with the
effect of repeal of permanent statutes. This argument no doubt is well-founded.
As Craies has observed, " as a general rule, unless it contains some
special provisions to the contrary, after a temporary Act has expired no
proceedings can be taken upon it and it ceases to have any further effect
" (2). This principle has been accepted by this Court in Krishnan v. The
State of Madras (3). " The general rule in regard to a temporary statute
is ", observed Patanjali Sastri J., " that, in the absence of special
provision to the contrary, proceedings which are being taken against a person
under it will ipso facto terminate as soon as the statute expires". It is
true that the Legislature can and often enough does avoid such an anomalous
consequence by enacting in the temporary statute a saving provision, and the
effect of such a saving provision is in some respects similar to the effect of
the provisions of s. 6 of the General Clauses Act. As an illustration, we may
refer to the decision in Wicks v. Director of Public Prosecutions (4). In that
case ail offence against Defence (General) Regulations made under the Emergency
Powers (Defence) Act, 1939, was committed during the currency of the Act and
the offender was prosecuted and convicted after the expiry of the Act. The
contention raised by the offender that his prosecution and conviction were
invalid because, at the relevant time, the temporary (1)  S.C.R. 710,
(2) Craies on " Statute Law ", 5th
Ed., P. 377.
(3)  S.C.R. 621, 628.
(4)  A.C. 362.
97 Act had expired was rejected in view of
the provisions of.,;. 11, sub-s. 3 of the Act. This sub-section had provided
that the expiry of the Act shall not affect the operation thereof as respects
things previously done or omitted to be done. The House of Lords agreed with
the view expressed by the Court of Criminal Appeal and held that it was clear
that Parliament( did not intend sub-s. 3 to expire with the rest of the Act and
that its presence in the statute is a provision which preserved the right to
prosecute after the date of its expiry. Since the impugned Act does not contain
an appropriate saving section the appellant would be entitled to contend that,
after the expiration of the Act, the procedure laid down in it could no longer
be invoked in the cases then pending against the appellant. We would like to
add that, in the present case, we are not called upon to consider whether
offences created by a temporary statute cease to be punishable on its
For the respondent, Mr. Umrigar, however,
contends that the appellant is wrong in assuming that the Act in fact expired
on August 14, 1951. He has invited our attention to the provisions of Act No. I
of 1951 by which the President extended some of the provisions of the earlier
temporary Act in exercise of the powers conferred by s. 3 of the Punjab State
Legislature (Delegation of Powers) Act, 1951 (46 of 1951), The provisions of
that Act extended to the whole of the State of Punjab and came into force on
September 13, 1951. Mr. Umrigar relied on s. 16 of Act 46 of 1951 which
repealed the East Punjab Public Safety Act, 1949 (Punj. 5 of 1949) and the East
Punjab Safety (Amendment) Ordinance, 1951 (5 of 1951) but provided that
notwithstanding such repeal any order made, notification or direction issued,
appointment made or action taken under the said Act and in force immediately
before the commencement of this Act shall, in so far as it is not inconsistent
therewith, continue in force and be deemed to have been made, issued or taken
under the corresponding provisions of this Act. It must, however, be pointed
out that this 13 98 Act does not continue the material provisions of the
impugned Act such ass. 20 and s. 36 ; and so s. 16 cannot be invoked for the
purpose of validating the continuation of the subsequent proceedings against
the appellant in the cases then pending against him.
Besides, it is necessary to recall that s.
36(1) of the Act prescribed the application of the summons procedure in the
trial of specified offences only in dangerously disturbed areas; and so, unless
it is shown that the relevant area could be treated as a dangerously disturbed
area at the material time, s. 36(1) would be inapplicable. In other words, the
adoption of the summons procedure would be justified only so long as the area
in question could be validly treated ,as a dangerously disturbed area and it is
therefore pertinent to enquire whether at the relevant time the area in
question was duly and validly notified to be a dangerously disturbed area.
We have already referred to the four
notifications issued by the competent authority. The second notification
purported to cancel with effect from October 1, 1950, the first notification
which had declared the whole of the Province of Delhi as a dangerously
disturbed area. A week thereafter, the third notification sought to introduce
an exception to the cancellation as notified by the second notification.
Apart from the question as to whether, after
the lapse of a week, it was competent to the authority to modify the second
notification, it is difficult to understand how it was within the jurisdiction
of the notifying authority to say that the whole of the Province of Delhi had
ceased to be a dangerously disturbed area " except as respects things done
or omitted to be done before the date of this notification ". Section 20
of the Act under which this notification has been issued authorised the
Provincial Government to declare that the whole or any part of the Province was
a dangerously disturbed area. The notification could declare either the whole
or a part of the Province as a dangerously disturbed area; but s. 20 does not
empower the notifying authority to treat any area as being dangerously
disturbed in respect of certain things and not dangerously disturbed 99 in
regard to others. Authority to' declare areas as dangerously disturbed has no
doubt been validly delegated to the Provincial Government; but no authority has
been conferred on the delegate to treat any area as disturbed for certain
things and not disturbed for others. We have, therefore, no doubt that in
introducing the exception to the cancellation effected by the second
notification the third notification has gone outside the authority conferred by
20 and is clearly invalid. If that be so, it
must be held that the whole of the Province of Delhi ceased to be a dangerously
disturbed area as from October, 1, 1950.
It was probably realised that the-third
notification would be invalid and hence the fourth notification was issued on
April 7, 1951. This purports to be a certificate issued by the competent
authority under the second part of s. 36, subs. (1). This certificate seeks to
achieve the same result by declaring that though the State of Delhi was not a
dangerously disturbed area, the offences specified in the notification would
nevertheless continue to be tried according to the summons procedure.
This notification is clearly not authorised
by the powers conferred by the second part of s. 36, sub-s. (1). What the
Provincial Government is authorised to do by the second part of s. 36(1) is to
direct that in areas other than those which are dangerously disturbed all
offences under the Act and any other offence under any other law should be
tried according to the summons procedure. It is clear that the notification
which the Provincial Government is authorised to issue in this behalf must
relate to all offences under the Act and any other offence under any other law.
In other words, it is the offences indicated which can be ordered to be tried
under the summons procedure by the notification issued by the Provincial Government.
The Provincial Government is not authorised to issue a notification in regard
to the trial of any specified case or cases; and since it is clear that the
notification in question covers only pending cases and has no reference to
offences or class of offences under the Indian Penal Code,, it is outside the
100 authority conferred by the second part of s. 36(1). It is obvious that the
third and the fourth notifications attempted to cure the anomaly which it was
apprehended would follow in regard to pending cases in the absence of a saving
section in the Act. If through inadvertence or otherwise the Act did not
contain an appropriate saving section, the defect could not be cured by the
notifications issued either under s. 20 or under s. 36(1) of the Act. In
issuing the said notifications the competent authority was taking upon itself
the functions of the Legislature and that clearly was outside its authority as
a delegate either under s. 20 or under s. 36(1) of the Act.
Mr. Umrigar, then, argues that the competent
authority was entitled to modify the notification issued by it because the
power to issue a notification must also involve the power either to cancel,
vary or modify the same; and in support of this argument Mr. Umrigar relies on
the provisions of s. 19 of the Punjab General Clauses Act, 1898 (Punj. 1 of
1898) which in substance corresponds to cl. 21 of the General Clauses Act, 1897
(10 of 1897). In our opinion, this argument is not well-founded. Section 19 of
the Punjab General Clauses Act, like s. 21 of the General Clauses Act, embodies
a rule of construction, the nature and extent of the application of which must
inevitably be governed by the relevant provisions of the statute which confers
the power to issue the notification. The power to cancel the notification can
be easily conceded to the competent authority and so also the power to modify
or vary it be likewise conceded; but the said power must inevitably be
exercised within the limits prescribed by the provision conferring the said
power. Now s. 20 empowers the Provincial Government to declare the whole or any
part of the Province to be a dangerously disturbed area; and if a notification
is issued in respect of the whole or any part of the Province it may be either
cancelled wholly or may be modified restricting the declaration to -a specified
part of the Province. The power to cancel or modify must be exercised in
reference to the areas of the Province which it is competent for the Provincial
101 Government to specify as dangerously disturbed. The power to modify cannot
obviously include the power to treat the same area as dangerously disturbed for
persons accused of crimes committed in the past and not disturbed for others
accused of the same or similar A, offences committed later.
That clearly is a legislative function which
is wholly outside the authority conferred on the delegate by s. 20 or s. 36(1).
We must, therefore, hold that the third and the fourth notifications are
invalid and as a result of the second notification the whole of the Province of
Delhi ceased to be a dangerously disturbed area from October 1, 1950.
This position immediately raises the question
about the validity of the proceedings continued against the appellant in the
three cases pending against him under the summons procedure. So long as the
State of Delhi was validly notified to be a dangerously disturbed area the
adoption of the summons procedure was no doubt justified and its validity Could
not be impeached; but, with the cancellation of the relevant notification s.
36(1) of the Act ceased to apply and it was necessary that as from the stage at
which the cases against the appellant then stood the warrant procedure should
have been adopted; and since it has not been adopted the trial of the three
cases is invalid and so the orders of conviction and sentence imposed against
him are void. That in brief is the alternative contention raised before us by
Mr. Ram Lal Anand.
Mr. Umrigar, urges that since the trial had
validly commenced under the summons procedure, it was unnecessary to change the
procedure after October 1, 1950, and his case is that the trial is not
defective in any manner and the challenge to the validity of the impugned
orders of conviction and sentence should not be upheld. In support of his
argument Mr.Umrigar has invited our attention to some decisions which may now
be considered. In Srinivasachari v.
The Queen (1) the accused was tried by a
Court of Sessions in December 1882 on charges some of which were triable by
assessors and others by jury. Before the trial was concluded the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1882, came into force (1)  I.L.R. 6 Mad. 336.
102 and under s. 269 of the Code all the said
charges became triable by jury. Section 558 of the Code had provided that the
provisions of the new Code had to be applied, as far as may be, to all cases
pending in any criminal court on January 1, 1883. The case against the accused
which was pending on the date when the new Act came into force was submitted to
the High Court for orders; and the High Court directed that by virtue of s. 6
of the General Clauses Act the trial must be conducted under the rules of
procedure in force at the commencement of the trial. It is clear that the
decision of the High Court was based both on the specific provisions of s. 558
which provided for the application of the new Code to pending cases only as far
as may be and on the principles laid down in s. 6 of the General Clauses Act.
That is why that decision cannot assist the respondent since s. 6 of the General
Clauses Act is inapplicable in the present case.
The decision on Mukund v. Ladu (1) is also
inapplicable for the same reasons. It was a case where one act was repealed by
another and so the question as to the applicability of the provisions of the
latter act had to be considered in the light of the provisions of s. 6 of the General
The judgment in terms does not refer to s. 6
but the decision is obviously based on the principles of the said section.
Then Mr.Umrigar relied on Gardner v. Lucas
(2). In that case s. 39 of the Conveyancing (Scotland) Act, 1874, with which
the court was dealing affected not only the procedure but also substantive
rights; and so it was held that the said section was not retrospective in
operation. This decision is wholly inapplicable and cannot give us any
assistance in the present case.
Mr. Umrigar also placed strong reliance on a
decision of the Full Bench of the Punjab High Court in Ram Singh v. The Crown
(3). That decision does lend support to Mr. Umrigar's contention that the
continuation of the trial under the summons procedure did not introduce any infirmity
and was in fact appropriate (1)  3 Bom. L.R. 584. (2)  3 A.C. 582.
(3) A.I.R. 1950 East Punjab 25.
103 and regular. The case against Ram Singh
had been sent to the Court of Session under the provisions of s. 37 (1) of the
Punjab Public Safety Act, 1948 (Punj. 2 of 1948) at a time when Luahiana
District was declared to be a dangerously disturbed area; before, however, the
trial in the Court of Session actually commenced the District ceased to be a'
dangerously disturbed area. Even so, it was held that the Sessions Judge should
continue with the trial under the provisions of s. 37 (1) of the Act and not
under the ordinary provisions of the Code regarding sessions trial, and should
follow the procedure prescribed for the trial of summons cases. It appears that
the judgment in the case proceeded on the assumption that the principles
enacted by s. 6 of the General Clauses Act were applicable, and so, since at
the commencement of the proceedings the adoption of the summons procedure was
justified under s. 37 (1) of the Act, the trial could continue under the same
procedure even after the area had ceased to be a dangerously disturbed area. In
our opinion, it is erroneous to apply by analogy the provisions of s. 6 of the General
Clauses Act to cases governed by the provisions of a temporary Act when the
said Act does not contain the appropriate saving section.
Failure to recognise the difference between
cases to which s. 6 of the General Clauses Act applies and those which are
governed by the provisions of a temporary Act which does not contain the
appropriate saving section has introduced an infirmity in the reasoning adopted
in the judgment.
Besides, the learned judges, with respect,
were in error in holding that the application of the ordinary criminal
procedure was inadmissible or impossible after the area ceased to be
dangerously disturbed. No doubt the learned judges recognised the fact that
ordinarily the procedural law is retrospective in operation, but they thought
that there were some good reasons against applying the ordinary procedural law
to the case, and that is what influenced them in coming to the conclusion that
the summons procedure had to be continued even after the area ceased to be
dangerously disturbed. In this connection the learned 104 judges referred to
the observation in Maxwell that " the general principle, however, seems to
be that alterations in procedure are retrospective, unless there be some good
reason against it (1) ; and they also relied on the decision of the Privy
Council in Delhi Cloth and General Mills Co., Ltd. v. Income-tax Commissioner,
Delhi (2) in which their Lordships have referred with approval to their earlier
statement of the law in the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. v. Irving (3) that
" while provisions of a statute dealing merely with matters of procedure
may properly, unless that construction be textually inadmissible, have
retrospective effect attributed to them". The learned judges took the view
that these principles justified their conclusion that "where the
provisions of a statute dealing with matters of procedure are inapplicable to a
certain proceeding pending at the time the statute came into force, they must
be regarded as textually inadmissible so far as those proceedings are concerned
". We are disposed to think that this view is not sound. We do not think
that the adoption of the ordinary warrant procedure was either inadmissible or
inapplicable at the stage where the trial stood in the case against Ram Singh
(4). It was wrong to assume that the sessions procedure would be inapplicable
for the reason that the provisions of the Code in regard to the commitment of
the case to the Court of Session had not been complied with.
With respect, the learned judges failed to
consider the fact that the procedure adopted in sending the case to the Court
of Session under s. 37(1) of the relevant Act was valid and the only question
which they had to decide was what procedure should be adopted after Ludhiana
ceased to be a dangerously disturbed area. Besides, it was really not a case of
retrospective operation of the procedural law; it was in fact a case where the
ordinary procedure which had become inapplicable by the provisions of the
temporary statute became applicable as soon as the area in question ceased to
be dangerously disturbed.
(1) Maxwell on " Interpretation of
Statutes ", 9th Ed.,P. 226.
(2)  9 Lah. 284. (3)  A.C. 369.
(4) A.I.R. (1950) East Punjab 25.
105 In this connection it is relevant to
refer to the decision of this Court in Syed Qasim Razvi v. The State of
Hyderabad (1). In that case this Court was dealing with the regulation called
the Special Tribunal Regulation (V of 1358 Fasli) which had been promulgated by
the Military Governor of the Hyderabad State. The said regulation had provided
that the( Military Governor may, by general or special order, direct that any
offence or class of offences should be tried by such tribunal, and the
procedure for trial laid down by it differed from the provisions of the
Hyderabad Criminal Procedure Code in several material particulars.
The cases against the accused were directed
to be tried by the Special Tribunal on October 6, 1949. The accused were
convicted in September 1950 and their conviction on some of the charges was
upheld by the High Court in appeal in April, 1951. The accused then appealed to
this Court and also applied under Art. 32 of the Constitution for quashing the
orders of conviction and sentence on the ground that the Special Tribunal
Regulation became void on January 26, 1950, as its provisions contravened Arts.
14 and 21 of the Constitution which came into force on that date, and the
continuation of the trial and conviction of the accused after that date was
illegal. It is true that the final decision in the case, according to the
majority view, proceeded on the footing that the accused had substantially the
benefit of a normal trial though there were deviations in certain particulars
and so his conviction could not be set aside merely because the Constitution of
India came into force before the termination of the trial. As we will presently
point out, the relevant facts in this case in regard to the deviation from the
normal procedure are different from those in Syed Qasim Razvi's case (1), but
that is another matter. What is important for our purpose is the view expressed
by this Court that the regulation issued by the Military Governor of Hyderabad
State could not be impeached and so the Special Tribunal must be deemed to have
taken cognisance of (1)  S.C.R. 589.
14 106 the case quite properly and its
proceedings up to the date of the coming in of the Constitution would also have
to be regarded as valid. Dealing with this point, Mukherjea, J., who delivered
the judgment of the Court, quoted with approval the observations made in
Lachmandas Kewalram Ahuja v. The State of Bombay(1) that ,as the Act was valid
in its entirety before the date of the Constitution, that part of the
proceedings before the Special Judge, which, up to that date had been regulated
by the special procedure cannot be questioned ". Unfortunately this aspect
of the matter was not properly placed before the Full Bench of the Punjab High
Court in the case of Ram Singh (2). If the learned judges had proceeded to deal
with the question referred to them on the basis that the initial submission of
the case to the Court of Session under s. 37(1) of the Act was valid they would
not have come to the conclusion that the sessions procedure was inadmissible or
inapplicable to the continuation of the case after Ludhiana had ceased to be a
dangerously disturbed area. That is why we think that the view taken by the
Full Bench is erroneous.
The position then is that as from October 1,
1950, the three cases against the appellant should have been tried according to
the warrant procedure. It is clear that, at the stage where the trial stood on
the material date, the whole of the prosecution evidence had not been led and
so there was no difficulty in framing charges against the appellant in the
respective cases and thereafter continuing the trial according to the warrant
procedure. Having regard to the nature of the charges framed and the character
and volume of evidence led, it is difficult to resist the appellant's argument
that the failure to frame charges has led to prejudice; and it is not at all
easy to accept the respondent's contention that the double opportunity to
cross-examine the prosecution witnesses which is available to an accused person
under the warrant procedure is not a matter of substantive and valuable benefit
to him. The denial of this opportunity must, (1)  S.C.R. 710, 731, (2)
A.I.R. 1950 East Punjab 25.
107 in the circumstances of the present
cases, be held to have caused prejudice to him. We must accordingly hold that
the continuation of the trial of the three cases against the appellant
according to the summons procedure subsequent to October 1, 1950, has vitiated the trial and has rendered the final orders of conviction and sentence invalid.
We must accordingly set aside the orders of conviction and sentence passed
against the appellant in all the three cases.
That takes us to the question as to the final
order which should be passed in the present appeals. The offences with which
the appellant stands charged are of a very serious, nature; and though it is
true that he has had to undergo the ordeal of a trial and has suffered rigorous
imprisonment for some time that would not justify his prayer that we should not
order his retrial. In our opinion, having regard to the gravity of the offences
charged against the appellant, the ends of justice require that we should
direct that he should be tried for the said offences de novo according to law.
We also direct that the proceedings to be taken against the appellant hereafter
should be commenced without delay and should be disposed of as expeditiously as