Report No. 152
It is interesting to note that in the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1898 (predecessor of the present Code), the corresponding words in section 197, (before that section was amended in 1923), were "is accused as such judge or public servant of any offence". This gave rise to a conflict of decisions, as to the precise scope of those words. While one view was that these words covered only cases where the offence was such that the fact of the offender being a public servant was an essential ingredient of the offence as defined in law, a contrary view also came to be taken.
Thus, according to the first view, if a judge used defamatory language while trying a case, section 197 of the 1898 Code did not apply.1. On the other hand, according to the wider view, the section would cover all cases where the offence had some connection with the official duty. The amending Act of 1923 substituted the words "while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duties", for the words "as such judge or public servant". Courts have usually regarded this amendment as widening the scope of the section.2-3
1. Nandu Lai Barak v. N.N. Mitter, 1899 ILR 26 Cal 853 (861, 862).
2. R.P. Kapur v. Ch. Darya° Singh, (1965) 1 Cr LJ 593.
3. Hemendra Nath Gupta v. Emperor, AIR 1937 Pat 160 (162).