498A and Jurisdiction

THE HON’BLE Dr. JUSTICE G. YETHIRAJULU

Criminal Petition No.5079 of 2006 dt 26-04-2007

Kalaparthy Ranjit Kumar,
S/o Bhaskar Rao, Age:29 years,Telephone Office, Junior Telecom Officer, Mahaboobnagar and two others.
vs
The State of A.P. rep. by the Public Prosecutor,Hyderabad and another

Counsel for petitioners: Sri P.Vinod Kumar
Counsel for respondent No.1: Public Prosecutor
Counsel for respondent No.2: G.L.Nageswara Rao

:ORDER:
The petitioners are A.1 to A.3 in C.C.No.241 of 2006 on the file of V Additional Judicial First Class Magistrate, Guntur, filed for the offence punishable under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code.

2) The complaint was filed before the said trial Court at Guntur. The parents of the complainant were residing
at Guntur. The accused are residents of Vijayawada. After the marriage, the complainant joined A.1 and led
marital life for some time and she gave birth to a female child. She was at Mahaboobnagar for some time
when A.1 was working at Mahaboobnagar. The marriage was also performed at Vijayawada. Therefore, the
petitioners contended that though the complainant contended that the petitioners harassed her by pointing out
that she is black and demanded to bring more dowry, none of the cause of actions arose at Guntur, therefore,
the Court at Guntur has no jurisdiction to entertain the complaint and to proceed with the trial. Therefore, the
prosecution is liable to be quashed. In support of his contention, the learned counsel for the petitioners relied
on certain judgments.
i) In Y. Abraham Ajith and others v. Inspector of Police, Chennai and another1, the Supreme Court while
considering the crucial question covered by Sections 177 and 178 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 held
as hereunder: “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. 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. It is settled law that cause of action consists of 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. The expression ’cause of action’ has acquired a judicially settled meaning. In the
restricted sense cause of action means the circumstances forming the infraction of the right or the immediate
occasion for the action. In the wider sense, it means the necessary conditions for the maintenance of the
proceeding including not only the alleged infraction, but also the infraction coupled with the right itself.
Compendiously the expression means every fact, which it would be necessary for the complainant to prove, if
traversed, in order to support his right or grievance to the judgment of the Court. Every fact, which is
necessary to prove such fact, comprises in ’cause of action’.”
The Supreme Court by making the above observations held that the concerned Magistrate at Chennai has no
jurisdiction to deal with the matter. Therefore, the proceedings were quashed and the complaint is directed to
be returned to the complainant, but if so chooses, she may file the same in the appropriate Court to be dealt
with in accordance with law.
ii) In T. Balaji Rao v. State of A.P. and another2 a learned single of this Court, by applying the principle laid down in Y. Abraham Ajith’s case, also held that the Magistrate in that case has no jurisdiction to try the case.
The proceedings before the Magistrate are liable to be quashed and gave liberty to the de facto complainant to move the appropriate Court for redressal of her grievance.

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3) The learned counsel for the petitioners relying on the above judgments submitted that since the Magistrate at Guntur has no jurisdiction to try the offence, the prosecution is liable to be quashed.

4) However, the Supreme Court in Y. Abraham Ajith’s case held that after quashing the proceedings, the complaint was directed to be returned to the de facto complainant to present it before the appropriate Court to be dealt with in accordance with law.

5) On the other hand, the learned counsel for the second respondent/complainant relied on certain judgments by contending that the complaint is maintainable and it is not liable to be quashed before the Magistrate at Guntur.
i) In Sistu Pullam Raju and another v. State of A.P. and another3 a learned single judge of this Court while dealing with Sections 177 and 178 of Cr.P.C. held that trial in a wrong place is not vitiated when the accused is not prejudiced as per the constitutional bench of the Apex Court in Mangaldas v. Maharashtra State4 wherein it was held that if the objection as regards lack of territorial jurisdiction is not raised at trial, it would be legitimate to presume that the accused suffered no prejudice. It was further observed that the provisions of the Sections 177 and 179 Cr.P.C. do not trammel the powers of any court to take cognizance of the offence.
The only restriction contained in Section 190 for the Court to take cognizance is subject to the provisions of that Chapter wherein section 190 occurs.
ii) In Nasiruddin Khan v. State of Bihar5 the Supreme Court held thus: “According to the scheme of the code
trial within a wrong territorial jurisdiction does not by itself vitiate it.”
iii) In Trisuns Chemical Industry v. Rajesh Agarwal6 the Court held thus: “It is an erroneous view that the Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence must necessarily have territorial jurisdiction to try the case as well.”

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6) From the decisions cited by the learned counsel for the second respondent also, it indicates that the
prosecution does not vitiate for want of territorial jurisdiction and the complaint can be returned for
presentation before the appropriate Court, which has territorial jurisdiction to try the offence. The decision
rendered by the Supreme Court makes it clear that when the Court comes to a conclusion that a particular
Magistrate has no territorial jurisdiction to try the offence, the proceedings before that Court can be quashed
by returning the complaint to the de facto complainant to present it before the appropriate Court.

7) After going through the complaint, I am made to understand that the Judicial Magistrate of First Class at Guntur as no part of cause of action arisen at Guntur, therefore, the learned Magistrate at Guntur has no jurisdiction to entertain the complaint. Therefore, the proceedings pending before him shall not be allowed to continue and they are directed to be returned to the complainant for presentation before the Court, which has territorial jurisdiction to try the matter according to law.

8) With the above observations and directions, the Criminal Petition is allowed.
1 2004 (2) ALD (Crl.) 491 (SC)
2 2006 (2) ALT (Crl.) 62 (A.P.)
3 2005 (3) ALT (Crl.) 153 (A.P.)
4 AIR 1966 SC 128
5 AIR 1973 SC 186
6 1999 (2) ALT (Crl.) 405 (SC) = (1999) 8 SCC 686

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