Section 147 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) – Explained!

The proceedings under this section are quasi civil in nature. The Magistrate has jurisdiction to pass only prohibitory order which is generally negative in form. But in order to make a prohibitory order effective he may pass a positive order as well such as removal of an obstruction etc.

It is well settled by a number of decisions of various High Courts that since right to worship cannot be regarded as something entirely different from the place of worship and its user, therefore disputes relating to such right clearly fall within the ambit of this section.

The Kerala High Court, in P.P.P.A. Thangal v. V.T. Lakshadweep has observed that the dispute regarding use of mosque should attract the provisions of Section 147 and not Section 145 because it does not involve dispute regarding land or boundaries.

Similarly, the disputes as to right to bury in a burial ground, or performance of a religious ceremony, in a mosque or taking out religious procession from a public way, etc. fall within the scope of Section 147 and the Magistrate may even issue interlocutory order in order to prevent hardship to any party or to avoid unpleasant happenings.

The provisions of Section 147 can be invoked only when the right to user (in dispute) was exercised within three months of the receipt of information or police report in cases of rights exercisable at all times of the year or was exercised at the last particular occasion or season in case of periodically recurring rights.

Where proceeding was dropped on the basis of inquiry report on being satisfied that obstruction of wall had been removed. Therefore, it was held that subsequent order by Magistrate in respect of drainage which was not the subject matter of the proceedings was illegal, being without jurisdiction.

In the case of Hari Narayan Mahli v. State of Jharkhand, proceedings under Section 147 were initiated on application by first party and on the basis of enquiry report and notices were issued. But subsequently, the first party filed an application that he had sold the suit land to some other person and, therefore, his name be deleted as he did not want to continue with the proceedings.

At the same time the purchaser of land filed application as party intervener to be impleaded as first party. The order deleting the name of original first party and impleading the name of subsequent purchase as first party was proper and, therefore, the proceeding under Section 147 was not liable to be quashed at the instance of opposite party.

The Magistrate is empowered to pass interim orders under Section ’47 in order to prevent hardship to any party.

The final order made by the Magistrate under Section 147 must contain the point or points for determination, the decision as also the reasons for the decision as required by Section 354 (6) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.