Bhawani Singh, J.
1. This petition is directed against the order of Sessions Judge, Shimla, dated 24th August, 1993 whereby the order of Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Rural), Shimla, in proceedings under Sections 107/150 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has been set aside and a direction has been issued for continuing the same afresh. The matter rises in the circumstances being set out briefly hereafter.
2. The security proceedings were started on 15-7-1991 at the instance of the first respondent. Notices to the petitioners were issued for 29-7-1991 under Section 111 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. They appeared before the Court on this date, though they filed their reply on 20-8-1991. The proceedings were adjourned to 9-9-1991 for the evidence of the first respondent. On this date, the witnesses were not present and adjournment was sought for and was granted. On 23-9-1991, the Presiding Officer could not deal with the matter being busy in law and order duty and the case was adjourned to 4-10-1991 for the evidence of the first respondent. On this date, the witnesses were present but the petitioners were not present, hence the case was adjourned to 22-10-1991. On this date, adjournment was sought by the petitioners and on the next date the evidence was to be procured by them at their own responsibility. On 12-11-1991, the Presiding Officer was on tour and the case was adjourned to 17-12-1991. On this date, the case was listed for further orders. The witnesses were not present, therefore, the case was adjourned to 8-1-1992. No witness was present on this date and the case was adjourned to 24-2-1992 and the witnesses were summoned through notices. On this date, the Presiding Officer was on leave and the matter was adjourned to 4-3-1992 for further orders. On 4-3-1992, no one was present and summons were issued to the petitioners for 23-3-1992. On this date, the petitioners were not present and they were summoned for 7-4-1992. Again, they were not present on this date and were summoned through bailable warrants for 16-4-1992 on which date the petitioners were not present, though the Presiding Officer was also busy with some other work and the case could not be taken up. It was listed for 24-4-1992 for further orders. On this date also, the petitioners were not present and they were directed to appear on 28-4-1992 by way of notices. The matter was taken on 19-11-1992 by another Presiding Officer and the parties were summoned for 30-12-1992 when the case was again adjourned to 15-1-1993. On 15-1-1993, the Presiding Officer ordered the closure of the proceedings for lapse of six months' period. He also recorded that he did not find cogent reasons to proceed with the matter.
3. The order was challenged before the learned Sessions Judge who came to the conclusion that the Magistrate did not apply his mind to the facts, particularly to the fact that the case had been adjourned on various dates on the request of the petitioners and not for any fault of the first respondent. The fault was with the Magistrate for not concluding the proceedings within time. In these circumstances, the order has been set aside and a direction for dealing with the matter afresh was given to the Magistrate.
4. Petitioners have assailed this decision through the present petition. Learned counsel for the parties were heard. Record perused. Shri R. K. Bawa learned counsel for the petitioners, submitted that the order of the Sessions Judge setting aside the order of Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Rural), Shimla, is erroneous being against the statutory provisions as well as the facts on the record of the case. According to the learned counsel, the proceedings ought to have been completed within a period of six months from the commencement thereof. These proceedings, if not completed within this statutory period, lapse automatically, unless for special reasons the Magistrate dealing with the matter continues the same. There were no special reasons nor the facts warranted continuing of the proceedings beyond this period and the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Rural), Shimla, has clearly pointed out that he did not find cogent reasons to proceed With the matter after the lapse of six months. In order to buttress this submission, reliance was placed on reported decisions like AIR 1980 Pat 257 (FB), Sitaram Singh v. State of Bihar, 1984 (1) Crimes 1055 : (1985 Cri LJ 436), Ramdeo Yadav v. State of Bihar, 1985 (1) Crimes 649 (Cal), Kedar Nath Shaw v. Smt. Nirmala Devi and State, 1975 Cri LR 250, Kuldip Singh v. Union Territory, Chandigarh, 1975 Cri LR 571, Balbir Singh v. State of Haryana, 1979 Cri. LJ 225 (All), Subas Rai v. State.
5. I see great substance in the submissions of Shri R. K. Bawa. It is undeniable that these are security proceedings, object where of is preventive and not punitive in nature. It was in keeping with the nature of the proceedings that the Legislature wanted that they should be completed as early as possible and also that they should not be extended beyond a particular period. Sub-section (6) of Section 116 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that an inquiry under Chapter-VIII of the Code shall be completed within a period of six months from the date of commencement. It further provides that if such an inquiry is not so completed, the proceedings shall stand terminated on completion of this period unless for special reasons, to be recorded in writing, the Magistrate otherwise directs. What are these special reasons to be recorded? The Legislature has left the same to the trying Magistrate but it is clear that the Legislature intended that the reasons for the extension of these proceedings should be special and not ordinary reasons, therefore, without being exhaustive the special reasons may be that the apprehension of the breach of peace between the parties was still existing and such instances were placed before the Court of Magistrate by the parties praying for the extension of these proceedings. The question is whether these special reasons are subject to review by the higher courts. I am of the considered opinion that the reasons recorded in this behalf are subject to scrutiny by the higher Courts since the statutory provisions have not debarred such an inquiry nor can the same be left to the absolute discretion of the Magistrate recording these reasons howsoever perverse or unreasonable they may be. The opinion of the learned single Judge of the Delhi High Court in J.C. Mehta v. State, 1982 Cri LJ 1488, is also in consonance with the aforesaid decisions laying down that on the expiry of the statutory period of six months, the proceedings lapse and are dead and no life can be instilled into it by the Magistrate. However, the learned Judge has gone beyond this by holding that the decision of closure of proceedings recorded by the Magistrate is not open to revision by the Sessions Judge. With respect, I do not agree on this aspect of the question. It would be wrong to vest the final discretion with the Magistrate closing the proceedings and not allowing the special reasons to be scrutinised by the higher Courts in revisional jurisdiction despite there being no prohibition in the statute and the jurisdiction of the higher Courts on the revisional side being plenary in nature. Turning to the facts of this case, I am of the opinion that the reasons recorded by the Magistrate are quite cogent and convincing. The learned Sessions Judge has not appreciated the matter in tune with the legal principles. Even if the matter was adjourned for one or the other reason, that did not mean that the time ought to have been extended for that reason. The fundamental question to be seen was whether there existed apprehension of breach of peace between the parties on the basis of fresh incidents taking place during the continuance of these proceedings. There was no such evidence before him. In these circumstances, Sub-section (6) of Section 116 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is applicable and the proceedings stand terminated by lapse of six months commencing from 29-7-1991.
6. The result, therefore, is that there is merit in this petition and the same is accordingly allowed. The impugned order is set aside and the security proceedings pending between the parties are hereby quashed.