Jarkhand HC : 498a Quashed on territorial jurisdiction

In the High Court of Jharkhand at Ranchi

Cr.M.P.No.1883 of 2013

1. Nayeem Hassan
Mukhtar Hassan
Razja Hassan
Gazi Hassan
Razi Hassan
Saleha Hassan @ Baby . …………………..Petitioners
VERSUS
State of Jharkhand and another…………Opposite Parties

CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE R.R.PRASAD

For the Petitioners : Mr. Manoj Tandan and Kumari Rashmi

For the State :A.P.P

For the O.P.No.2 : Mr.N.K.Chatterjee
04/ 18.02.14

Heard learned counsel appearing for the petitioners and also learned counsel appearing for the State as well as learned counsel appearing for the opposite party no.2. This application has been filed for quashing of the entire criminal proceeding of Complaint Case no.302 of 2007 including the order dated 13.5.2013 wherein prayer for dropping of the proceeding on account of lack of territorial jurisdiction was rejected. The case of the complainant is that the marriage in between the complainant and the petitioner no.1 was solemnized at Barkakana according to Muslim Rites and Rituals. After the marriage, she started living at her in- laws’ place at Nayasarai Basti, Ramgarh. There the husband as well as her relatives including father-in-law, mother-in-law and other family members started putting forth the demand of a Car as well as cash of Rs.2,10,000/-. On account of non-fulfillment of demand dowry, she was subjected to assault as well as several kind of torture. The other day she was driven out from the house and was sent to her Khala’s place at Ranchi for bringing dowry. After some days, she was taken to her in-laws’ place but the accused persons again started subjecting her to torture on account of non-fulfillment of demand of dowry.

On such allegation, a complaint was registered as Complaint Case No.302 of 2007. After holding enquiry, the court took cognizance of the offence under Sections 498A, 323 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. Thereafter the petitioners moved to this Court in Cr.M.P.No.1737 of 2007 for quashing of the order taking cognizance on the ground that the court does not have territorial jurisdiction.

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That application was disposed of directing the petitioners to raise all the grounds before the court below. Accordingly, the petitioners raised the question of territorial jurisdiction before the court below. The court, vide order dated 13.5.2013 did find that the court does have territorial jurisdiction after holding that it is the case of the prosecution that complainant having brutally assaulted by the accused persons was driven out from the house and was sent to her Khala’s place at Ranchi for bringing money and thereby it is a continuing offence.

Being aggrieved with that order, this application has been filed. Mr.Tandan,learned counsel appearing for the petitioners submits that since no cause of action has ever accrued at the place where the case was lodged, the court did commit illegality in taking cognizance of the offence, in view of the decision rendered in a case of Bhura Ram and others vs. Sate of Rajasthan and another [(2008) 11 SCC 103] and also in a case of Y. Abraham Ajith vs. Inspector of Polie [(2004) 8 SCC 100].

As against this, learned counsel appearing for the opposite party no.2 submits that it is the case of the complainant that she was subjected to torture on account of non-fulfillment of demand of dowry at Barkakana but at one point of time, she was driven out from the house and was sent back to Ranchi for bringing dowry and thereby the court at Ranchi does have jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.

Learned counsel in support of his submission has referred to a decision rendered in a case of Sunita Kumari Kashyap vs. State of Bihar and another [(2011) 11 SCC 301].

Having heard learned counsel appearing for the parties, it does appear that whatever overt acts have been alleged to have been committed constituting offence under Sections 498A, 323 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, those overt acts seem to have been committed at Bakakana outside of the jurisdiction of the court at Ranchi.

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However, it has also been the case of the complainant that the complainant was assaulted at Barkakana and was driven out of the house so that she may come to Ranchi for bringing dowry. According to learned counsel appearing for the complainant, this gives the cause of action for bringing the complainant at Ranchi.

It be stated that act of assault and driving out the complainant from the house has taken place at Barkakana whereas no allegation seems to be there about any overt act being committed at Ranchi and this fact makes whole of the difference with the fact of the case of Sunita Kumari Kashuap vs.State of Bihar and another (supra)which would appear from paragraph 18 of the said decision which reads as under:

18. “We have already adverted to the details made by the appellant in the complaint. In view of the specific assertion by the appellant wife about the ill- treatment and cruelty at the hands of the husband and his relatives at Ranchi and of the fact that because of their action, she was taken to her parental home at Gaya by her husband with a threat of dire consequence for not fulfilling their demand of dowry, we hold that in view of Sections 178 and 179 of the Code, the offence in this case was a continuing one having been committed in more local areas and one of the local areas being Gaya, the learned Magistrate at Gaya has jurisdiction to proceed with the criminal case instituted therein. In other words, as the offence was a continuing one and the episode at Gaya was only a consequence of continuing offence of harassment and ill-treatment meted out to the complainant, clause (c) of Section 178 is attracted. Further, from the allegations in the complaint, it appears to us that it is a continuing offence of ill-treatment and humiliation meted out to the appellant at the hands of all the accused persons and in such continuing offence, on some occasions all had taken part and on other occasions one of the accused, namely, the husband had taken part, therefore, undoubtedly clause (c ) of Section 178 of the Code is clearly attracted.”

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Thus, the facts which were there in the Sunita Kumari Kashyap’s case are that in that case though torture was inflicted at Ranchi, but at one point of time, the husband took his wife to parental home at Gaya where threat of dire consequence for no fulfilling their demand of dowry was extended and, therefore, Their Lordship did find that consequence in terms of sub-clause (c ) of Sections 178 and 179 of the Code ensued at Gaya and, therefore, the court at Gaya does have jurisdiction to proceed with the case.

Here in the instant case, whatever overt acts constituting offence either under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code or other offences have been alleged to have been committed, it has been committed at Barkakana whereas the case has been lodged at Ranchi where no part of cause of action seems to have fallen and therefore, the complaint at Ranchi cannot be maintained.

Accordingly, I do find that the court has committed illegality in taking cognizance of the offence. Accordingly, it is set aside.

However, the opposite party no.2 would be at liberty to invoke the provision as contained in Section 201 of the Code of Criminal Procedure by approaching the court to get the complaint returned for presentation to the proper court with an endorsement to that effect. If resort is made to that provision, necessary order be passed.

Thus, this application stands allowed.

( R. R. Prasad, J.) ND

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