Court:Rajasthan High Court
Bench: JUSTICE R.S. Chauhan
Dinesh Kumar & Ors. Vs. State of Rajasthan & Ors. On 13 May 1994
Indian Penal Code, 1860 — Sections 406 and 498A — Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Section 177 — Criminal Breach of Trust, Cruelty — Territorial jurisdiction — All acts and omissions were done at Gwalior — Cause of action arose in Gwalior and not in Jaipur — Courts at Jaipur do not have territorial jurisdiction to try case at Jaipur — Cognizance order passed by Judicial magistrate quashed and set aside..
1. Allegedly involved in the offences under Sections 498-A and 406, IPC, the petitioners have challenged the cognizance order dated 4.12.2004 on the ground of lack of territorial jurisdiction.
2. The brief facts of the case are that respondent No. 2 – Smt. Anita Sharma, filed a criminal complaint before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jaipur against the accused petitioners wherein she claimed that on 27.11.2003 she was married to petitioner No. 1 – Dinesh Kumar Sharma at Jaipur. After the marriage, she left for her matrimonial home situated at Gwalior. She further alleged that initially she was well looked after by the petitioners. However, after some time, they started abusing her for lack of dowry. When she complained to her husband, he did not protect her. Subsequently, the husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law (Jethani), all started physically and mentally mal-treating her. She further alleged that she was locked up in a room and was not given any food by her in-laws. Her father-in-law demanded Rs. 5 lacs and told her to get the said amount from her father. She further alleged that her husband, would come back home after consuming liquor, and in a drunken state, would assault her. When she asked to be sent to her paternal place, her in-laws told her that she should not come back until and unless she bring the said amount. In January, 2004, when she was sent to her paternal place, her husband came at her paternal home. Her parents tried to reason with him. They told him that he should keep his wife with love and affection. However, the behaviour of her husband and her in-laws did not change. On 25.5.2004 when her father came to Gwalior, she was not permitted to meet him. On 19.6.2004 when her brother came to pick her up, they again demanded an amount of Rs. 5 lacs at Gwalior. On 15.9.2004, when she was packed off to her paternal home, she was told not to come back until she brings the money demanded by the in-laws. When she asked for her “Stridhan”, which were lying at Gwalior, the accused petitioners refused to deliver the same.
3. The said complaint was sent for investigation under Section 156, Cr.P.C. to the Mahila Thana South, Jaipur. A former FIR (FIR No. 122/04) was registered at the Police Mahila Thana South, Jaipur for offences under Section 498-A and 406, IPC against the accused petitioners. Subsequently, the charge sheet was filed against the accused petitioners for the aforementioned offences. Vide Order dated 4.12.2004, learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate No. 12, Jaipur City, Jaipur took cognizance of the aforementioned offences against the petitioners.
4. Mr. S.S. Bansal, learned Counsel for the petitioners, has challenged the cognizance order on the ground of territorial jurisdiction of the Court. According to him, a bare perusal of the complaint would reveal that all the acts of cruelty and the act of criminal breach of trust were committed at Gwalior and not in Jaipur. Therefore, the Courts at Jaipur do not have the territorial jurisdiction to try the case. In order to substantiate his contention, he has relied on the case of Y. Abraham Ajith & Ors. v. Inspector of Police, Chennai & Anr., II (2004) DMC 371 (SC)=V (2004) SLT 152=III (2004) CCR 30 (SC)=2004 (2) WLC (Cr.) 597 (SC)=(2004) 8 SCC 100.
5. On the other hand, Mr. Prahlad Sharma, learned Counsel for the respondent No. 2, has argued that offences under Sections 498-A and 406, IPC are continuing offences. Therefore, part of the offence had occurred in Jaipur itself. Hence, the Courts at Jaipur do have the territorial jurisdiction to try the case. In order to substantiate his contention, he has relied on certain judgments of the Apex Court and of this Court, State of Madhya Pradesh v. Suresh Kaushal & Anr., II (2001) DMC 102 (SC)=IV (2001) SLT 607=II (2001) CCR 333 (SC)=2001 (3) Crimes 314 (SC); Smt. Sujata Mukherjee v. Prashant Kumar Mukherjee, II (1997) CCR 117 (SC)=AIR 1997 SC 2465; and Jagdish & Ors. v. State of Rajasthan & Anr., 1998 RCC 9. Learned Public Prosecutor has also supported the impugned order.
6. We have heard learned Counsel for the parties and perused the impugned order and have also considered the relevant case law submitted by the Counsel at the Bar.
7. A bare perusal of the complaint filed by the respondent No. 2 clearly reveals that all the acts of cruelty and the act of criminal breach of trust were committed at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. Not a single act of cruelty is alleged to have been committed at Jaipur. The complainant was allegedly locked up in a room and denied food at Gwalior; the alleged demand of dowry of Rs. 5 lacs by the father-in-law was made at Gwalior; when the complainant’s father came to Gwalior, she was denied the right to meet him at Gwalior; when the complainant came back with her brother, she was denied the right to enter the house. Therefore, prima facie all the acts of cruelty were committed at Gwalior. The dowry articles given by the complainant’s family and in-laws were lying in the matrimonial home at Gwalior. The refusal to deliver the Stridhan was made at Gwalior. Thus, even the alleged commission of breach of trust was at Gwalior. Therefore, both the offences under Sections 498A and 406, IPC were committed at Gwalior and not at Jaipur.
8. According to Section 177, Cr.P.C., “every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by the Court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed”. Since, all the acts of the alleged crime were committed at Gwalior, the Courts at Gwalior have the jurisdiction to enquire into and try the said case. Since, neither of the two offences were committed at Jaipur, the Courts at Jaipur do not have the territorial jurisdiction to try the same. In the case of Smt. Sujata Mukherjee v. Prashant Kumar Mukherjee (supra), the appellant Smt. Sujata Mukherjee was tortured by her in-laws at her matrimonial home and was assaulted by her husband at her paternal home. Thus, a part of the offence also occurred at the place of the paternal home of Smt. Sujata Mukherjee. Therefore, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that since the part of the offence had occurred at the place of the paternal home of the complainant, the Local Magistrate had the jurisdiction to try the case under Section 178-C. But the case of Smt. Sujata Mukherjee (supra) is distinguishable from the present case as no part of the offence is alleged to have been committed at Jaipur. While considering the case of Smt. Sujata Mukherjee (supra) and distinguishing it on the facts of the case, in Y. Abraham Ajith (supra), the Hon’ble Apex Court has clearly held that the crucial question is “whether any part of the cause of action arose within the jurisdiction of the concerned Court. In terms of Section 177 of the Code, it is the place where the offence was committed. In essence it is the cause of action for initiation of the proceedings against the accused. It further held that the expression “cause of action” is, therefore, not a stranger to criminal cases. The cause of action consists of a bundle of facts, which give cause to enforce the legal inquiry for redress in a Court of Law. In other words, it is a bundle of facts, which taken with the law applicable to them, gives the allegedly affected party a right to claim relief against the opponent. It must include some act done by the latter since in the absence of such an act no cause of action would possibly accrue or would arise”.
9. In the instant case, since all the acts and omissions were done at Gwalior, therefore, the cause of action arose in Gwalior and not in Jaipur. Hence, relying on, the principle of law as enunciated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Y. Abraham Ajith (supra), we are of the opinion that the Courts at Jaipur do not have the territorial jurisdiction to try the case at Jaipur. Hence, the cognizance order dated 4.12.2004 passed by the Judicial Magistrate is quashed and set aside. However, the respondent No. 2 is free to initiate criminal proceedings against the petitioners in a competent Court at Gwalior.
10. With these observations, this petition is allowed.
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