Section 498A Jurisdiction

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS

DATED : 20.08.2008
CORAM : THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K.N. BASHA

Crl.O.P.No.18774 of 2005
& Crl.M.P.No.5527 of 2005

1. Balchand & Poonam Chand Chhaparwal
2. Chanda Devi Chhaparwal
3. Krishna Jhanwar
4. Gopal Chhaparwal .. Petitioners/Accused
Vs.
1. State rep. by
Inspector of Police,All Women Police Station (C),Coimbatore City. .. Respondent/Complainant
2. Kanchan @ Kanchan Devi .. Respondent
Impleaded as per the order of this Court dated 3.2.2007 in M.P.No.93 of 2007
* * *

Prayer : Criminal Original Petition filed under section 482 of Cr.P.C. to call for the records relating to
C.C.No.1202 of 2005 on the file of the Judicial Magistrate No.III, Coimbatore, and quash the same. * * *
For Petitioners : Mr.S.Ashok Kumar, SC for M/s.Giridhar Associates
For Respondent-1 : Mr.Babu Muthu Meeran
Additional Public Prosecutor
For Respondent-2 : Mr.M.Subramani

O R D E R
The petitioners have come forward with this petition seeking for the relief of quashing the proceedings initiated against them in C.C.No.1202 of 2005 on the file of the learned Judicial Magistrate No.III,Coimbatore, for the offences under Sections 498-A and 406 IPC and under Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.

2. Mr.S.Ashok Kumar, learned senior counsel for the petitioners mainly contended that the entire allegations
contained in the complaint and other materials available on record clearly shows that the petitioners said to
have committed the offences only at Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh State and no cause of action arises within
the State of Tamil Nadu and as such the learned Judicial Magistrate No.III, Coimbatore, ought not to have
taken cognizance of the case and the entire proceedings is liable to be quashed on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction. In support of his contention, the learned senior counsel for the petitioners placed reliance on the
following decisions of the Hon’ble Apex Court : (1)Ramesh V. State of T.N. reported in (2005) 3 SCC 507 ;
and (2)Manish Ratan v. State of M.P. reported in (2007) 1 SCC 262 ;

3. Per contra, learned counsel for the defacto complainant, who has impleaded as second respondent,
contended that a complaint was preferred before the Madhya Pradesh State police and on the basis of the
compromise, action was dropped. It is further submitted that thereafter the second respondent/defacto
complainant came back to her parental house and again the petitioners/accused said to have caused cruelty to
the defacto complainant by contacting over the phone. It is submitted even assuming that the offence was
alleged to have taken place at Madhya Pradesh the proceedings are not liable to be quashed and on the other
hand, the case may be transferred to the competent Court at Madhya Pradesh. The learned counsel for the
defacto complainant placed reliance on the decision of the Hon’ble Apex Court in State of M.P. V. Suresh
Kaushal reported in (2003) 11 SCC 126 in support of his contention.

4. The learned Additional Public Prosecutor fairly submitted that as per the materials available on record the
petitioners alleged to have committed the offences within the jurisdiction of Madhya Pradesh Court as the
allegation levelled against the petitioners shows that the defacto complainant was subjected to cruelty while
she was residing at Madhya Pradesh. The learned Additional Public Prosecutor submitted that the defacto
complainant is entitled to initiate proceedings before the concerned competent Court at Madhya Pradesh.

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5. I have carefully considered the rival contentions put forward by either side and also perused the materials
available on record including the complaint and the charge sheet and other statements of witnesses recorded
under Section 161 Cr.P.C.

6. The undisputed fact remains that the defacto complainant was residing along with her husband namely, the
first accused at Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh State and the perusal of the entire materials available on record
clearly discloses that the defacto complainant, the second respondent was subjected to cruelty only while she
was residing at Madhya Pradesh State. Therefore, it is crystal clear that only Madhya Pradesh Court is having
jurisdiction to entertain the case.

7. The learned senior counsel rightly placed reliance on the decision of the Hon’ble Apex Court in Ramesh V.
State of T.N. reported in (2005) 3 SCC 507. The Hon’ble Apex Court has held in that decision that, “10. The
next controversy arising in the case is about the territorial jurisdiction of the Magistrate’s Court at
Tiruchirapalli to try the cases. As already noted, the High Court was of the view that the questions raised in
the petition cannot be decided before trial. It is contended by the learned counsel for the appellants that the
issue relating to the place of trial can be decided even at this stage without going beyond the averments in the
complaint filed by the respondents and the High Court should have, therefore, decided this point of
jurisdiction, when it is raised before the trial has commenced. Our attention has been drawn to a recent
decision of this Court in Y.Abraham Ajith V. Inspector of Police [(2004) SCC (Cri.) 2134]. In that case, the
Madras High Court refused to interfere under Section 482 CrPC when the issue of territorial jurisdiction of the
Magistrate concerned to take cognizance of the offence was raised. This Court did not endorse the approach of
the High Court for not recording the finding on the question of jurisdiction. On reading the allegations in the
complaint, the Court came to the conclusion that no part of the cause of action arose in Chennai and therefore
the Metropolitan Magistrate at Chennai could not have taken cognizance and issued summons. On this
ground, the criminal proceedings were quashed and the complaint was directed to be returned to the
respondent who was given liberty to file the same in an appropriate court. That was also a case of complaint
for an offence under Sections 498-A and 406 IPC filed by the wife against the appellant therein.

11. In the view we are taking, it is not necessary for us to delve into the question of territorial jurisdiction of
the Court at Trichy in detail. Suffice it to say that on looking at the complaint as its face value, the offences
alleged cannot be said to have been committed wholly or partly within the local jurisdiction of the
Magistrate’s Court at Trichy. Prima facie, none of the ingredients constituting the offence can be said to have
occurred within the local jurisdiction of that court. Almost all the allegations pertain to acts of cruelty for the
purpose of extracting additional property as dowry while she was in the matrimonial home at Mumbai and the
alleged acts of misappropriation of her movable property at Mumbai. However, there is one allegation
relevant to Section 498-A from which it could be inferred that one of the acts giving rise to the offence under
the said section had taken place in Chennai. It is alleged that when the relations of the informant met her
in-laws at a hotel in Chennai where they were staying on 13-10-1998, there was again a demand for dowry
and a threat to torture her in case she was sent back to Mumbai without the money and articles demanded.

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12. Thus the alleged acts which according to the petitioner constitute the offences under Sections 498-A and
406 were done by the accused mostly in Mumbai and partly in Chennai. Prima facie, there is nothing in the
entire complaint which goes to show that any acts constituting the alleged offences were at all committed at
Trichy.”

8. In the above said decision, the Hon’ble Apex Court ultimately transferred the case from Trichy to Chennai
holding that part of cause of action arises at Chennai. In yet another decision as relied by the senior counsel
for the petitioners in Manish Ratan v. State of M.P. reported in (2007) 1 SCC 262, the Hon’ble Apex Court
has taken a similar view by placing reliance on the decision of Ramesh V. State of T.N. reported in (2005) 3
SCC 507, as cited supra.

9. In the decision relied by the learned counsel for the second respondent/defacto complainant in State of M.P.
V. Suresh Kaushal reported in (2003) 11 SCC 126 also the Hon’ble Apex Court has held that once there is
lack of jurisdiction for a particular Court to entertain or to take cognizance of a case, the said case is to be
transferred to the concerned jurisdiction Court. It is to be seen that in the decision cited supra, the other
competent jurisdiction Court comes well within the State of Madhya Pradesh.

10. In the instant case, as already pointed out, the entire cause of action arises only at the State of Madhya
Pradesh and as such there is a total lack of jurisdiction on the part of the Court of Judicial Magistrate No.III,
Coimbatore. It is pertinent to be noted that this Court while exercising the power under Section 482 Cr.P.C.
cannot transfer the instant case pending on the file of the learned Judicial Magistrate No.III, Coimbatore, to
the competent Court at Madhya Pradesh.

11. At this juncture, it is relevant to refer the decision of the Hon’ble Apex Court in Y.Abraham Ajith V.
Inspector of Police reported in (2004) SCC (Cri.) 2134. In that decision, the Hon’ble Apex Court has held in
paragraphs 12 & 13 as follows : “..

12.The crucial question is whether any part of the cause of action arose within the jurisdiction of the court
concerned. 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. 13.While in civil cases, normally
the expression “cause of action” is used, in criminal cases as stated in section 177 of the Code, reference is to
the local jurisdiction where the offence is committed. These variations in etymological expression do not
really make the position different. The expression “cause of action”, is therefore, not a stranger to criminal cases.”

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12. The Hon’ble Apex Court has ultimately held in paragraph 19 as follows :”…
19.When the aforesaid legal principles are applied, to the factual scenario disclosed by the complainant in the
complaint petition, the inevitable conclusion is that no part of cause of action arose in Chennai, and therefore,
the Magistrate concerned had no jurisdiction to deal with the matter. The proceedings are quashed. The
complaint be returned to respondent 2 who, is she so chooses, may file the same in the appropriate court to be
dealt with in accordance with law.”

13. In yet another decision in Bhura Ram V. State of Rajasthan reported in 2008 AIR SCW 4449 the Hon’ble
Apex Court has held that, “4. The facts stated in the complaint disclose that the complainant left the place
where she was residing with her husband and in-laws and came to the city of Sri Ganganagar, State of
Rajasthan and that all the alleged acts as per the complaint had taken place in the State of Punjab. The Court at
Rajasthan does not have the jurisdiction to deal with the matter. On the basis of the factual scenario disclosed
by the complainant in the complaint, the inevitable conclusion is that no part of cause of action arose in
Rajasthan and, therefore, the Magistrate concerned has no jurisdiction to deal with the matter. As a
consequence thereof, the proceedings before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sri Ganganagar are
quashed. The complaint be returned to the complainant and if she so wishes she may file the same in the
appropriate court to be dealt with in accordance with law.”

14. The principles laid down by the Hon’ble Apex Court in the decisions cited supra are squarely applicable to
the facts of the instant case. As already pointed out that the entire cause of action arose only at the State of
Madhya Pradesh and as such there is total lack of jurisdiction on the part of the Court of Judicial Magistrate
No.III, Coimbatore. As such this Court is left with inevitable conclusion that the proceedings initiated against
the petitioners is liable to be quashed and accordingly, the proceedings initiated against the petitioners in
C.C.No.1202 of 2005 on the file of the Judicial Magistrate No.III, Coimbatore, is hereby quashed.

15. The learned Magistrate is directed to furnish certified copies of the relevant documents available on record
including the statements of witnesses in the event of second respondent/defacto complainant filing such
application for certified copies. It is made clear that the second respondent/defacto complainant is at liberty to
prefer a complaint before the concerned jurisdiction police at Madhya Pradesh State, if he so desires.

16. This petition is ordered accordingly. Connected M.P. is closed.

To
1. The Judicial Magistrate No.III,Coimbatore.
2. The Inspector of Police,All Women Police Station (C),Coimbatore City.
3. The Public Prosecutor,

High Court,
Madras

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