Court:HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
Bench: JUSTICE M. Sharan
Vijay Kumar and Anr. vs. Sunita and Ors.
Offence of criminal breach of trust might be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed.
1. This is a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, invoking the inherent jurisdiction of this Court, filed by the petitioners for getting quashed the proceedings of Criminal Case No. 55/96, pending in the Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Pichore, District-Shivpuri.
2. The facts of the case leading to filing of this petition may be summarised thus : The respondent No. 1 Sunita was married to the petitioner No. 1 Vijay Kumar on 9-12-1993 at Pichore, District-Shivpuri. The petitioner No. 2 Hari Shankar and respondent No. 2 Ajay Kumar are father-in-law and brother-in-law (‘Jeth’) of the respondent No. 1 Smt. Sunita. The respondent No. 1 Smt. Sunita filed a private complaint for the offence under Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code against the petitioners and respondent No. 2, alleging therein that at the time of marriage sue was given cash, silver and golden ornaments and other articles by her parents and other relations, as narrated in paras 2 and 3 of the petition, and thus, the said property was her Stridhan. It was further alleged by her that the said property was entrusted, for the sake of safe custody, to the accused persons, namely, petitioners and respondent No. 2 at Jhansi, the place of her ‘in-laws’. She further alleged in her complaint that thereafter, with the connivance of her mother-in-law and sister-in-law (‘Jethani’) her duly aforesaid entrusted Stridhan property was misappropriated by the petitioners and respondent No. 2 and, thus, they had committed the offence of Criminal breach of trust, punishable under Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code. The said private complaint was registered in the Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Pichore, District-Shivpuri as Crime No. 55/96. The petitioners and respondent No. 2 were summoned.
3. On the basis of the above facts the petitioners have approached this Court, invoking its inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and prayed for the relief stated above. I have heard the learned counsel on both the sides at length, and have gone through the papers filed by the parties.
4. The main argument advanced by learned counsel for the petitioners is that the Court at Pichore, District-Shivpuri had no jurisdiction to entertain the private complaint filed by the respondent No. 1 on the basis of the facts alleged therein, obviously because the alleged offence of Criminal breach of trust was not committed within the local jurisdiction of that Court. On the other hand the main thrust of the learned counsel for the respondent No. 1 is that since the property was given at Pichore, District-Shivpuri, hence the offence would be taken to have arisen at Pichore. For the proper appraisal of the offence of criminal breach of trust, the relevant provision engrafted under Section 405 of the Indian Penal Code is reproduced as below :
“Criminal breach of trust
405. Whoever, being in any manner entrusted with property, or with any dominion over property dishonestly misappropriates or converts to his own use that property, or dishonestly uses or disposes of that property in violation of any direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged, or of any legal contract, express or implied, which he has made touching the discharge of such trust, or wilfully suffers any other person so to do, commits “criminal breach of trust.”
Explanation 1. **** **** ****
Explanation 2. **** **** ****
Looking to the above provision it is but clear that, firstly, the property must be entrusted by one person to another and later on it should be dishonestly misappropriated by the person entrusted with the property; until dishonest misappropriation is there, it could not be said that the offence was complete. Thus, the gravamen of the offence of criminal breach of trust lies in dishonest misappropriation. Mere entrustment, with no dishonest misappropriation, would not make the offence complete. Therefore, in the instant case, the offence would be taken to have been committed only at Jhansi (U.P.) where the alleged dishonest misappropriation of the entrusted property was done.
5. So far as the jurisdiction of the Criminal Court in this regard is concerned, Section 181(4) is the relevant provision, which runs thus :–
“181. Place of trial in case of certain offences
(1) **** **** ****
(2) **** **** ****
(3) **** **** ****
(4) Any offence of criminal misappropriation or of criminal breach of trust may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed or any part of the property which is the subject of the offence was received or retained, or was required to be returned or accounted for, by the accused person.
(5) **** **** ****”
The above provision indicates that the offence of criminal breach of trust may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed. In the instant case, as observed above, the offence was committed at Jhansi (U.P.). The natural corollary, therefore, follows that the jurisdiction would lie at Jhansi (U.P.) and not at Pichore, District-Shivpuri.
6. In view of the aforesaid discussion, it is very clear that the filing and registration of the alleged private complaint in the Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Pichore, District-Shivpuri was apparently an abuse of the process of the Court. Consequently, this petition is allowed and the proceedings in case No. 55/96 pending in the Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Pichore, District-Shivpuri are hereby quashed.
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