HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD
Court No. – 11
Case :- APPLICATION U/S 482 No. – 25839 of 2017
Applicant :- Manohar Lal 3 Others
Opposite Party :- State Of U.P. Another
Counsel for Applicant :- Om Prakash Yadav
Counsel for Opposite Party :- G.A.
Hon’ble Shailendra Kumar Agrawal,J.
1. Heard learned counsel for the applicants, learned A.G.A. for the State and perused the record.
2. This application u/s 482 Cr.P.C. has been moved with the prayer to quash the entire proceeding, the impugned order dated 30.06.2017 passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Court No.12, Meerut in criminal revision no.225 of 2014 (Manohar Lal and others Vs. State of U.P.) and also the impugned order dated 23.04.2014 passed by the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Court No.6, Meerut in case no.683 of 2013 (State Vs. Manohar Lal and others), under Sections 498A, 323 IPC and Section 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, P.S. Hastinapur, District Meerut, pending in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Court No.6, Meerut.
3. The brief facts of the case are that the applicant no.4 Sanjay Kumar was married with the opposite party no.2 Rajrani alias Komal daughter of Somnath, resident of Hastinapur, District Meerut on 28.11.1995. The marriage was solemnized at Hastinapur, District Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. The applicant no.4, Sanjay Kumar, his father Manohar Lal (applicant no.1), brother Chaman Kumar (applicant no.2), mother Smt. Nirmala Kanta (applicant no.3) are residents of District Faridabad (Haryana). Soon after the marriage the temperamental differences took place between the complainant/ opposite party no.2 and the applicant no.4. The father of the opposite party no.2 filed a complaint before the Senior Superintendent of Police, Meerut on 14.07.1998, which culminated in case crime no.22 of 1999 and the proceedings as case no.683 of 2013 before the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Court No.6, Meerut under Sections 498A, 323, 506 IPC and the same is pending at the final stage. Upon receipt of the complaint, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Meerut made a noting on the complaint (F.I.R.) dated 14.07.1998 directing the Station Officer, P.S. Hastinapur, District Meerut that an FIR be registered and the same be forwarded to the concerned Police Station at District Faridabad (Haryana). It is also important to mention here that the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Meerut framed charge against the accused and at the time of framing charges, the court was duty bound to peruse the whole record i.e. FIR, case diary, charge sheet and other documents filed with the charge sheet. All it shows that the learned trial court took cognizance and framed charges only after perusal of all the documents on record. The charge was framed on 18.01.2001 by the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Meerut which also discloses that the incidents took place only at Faridabad (Haryana) and questions were put to the applicants under Section 313 Cr.P.C. by the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Court No.6, Meerut, which itself disclose that the incidents took place only at Faridabad (Haryana). All it shows that the court of Meerut had no jurisdiction to try the case. It has also been argued that when learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Meerut took cognizance on the charge sheet, there is no signature of the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate on the order taking cognizance, hence it cannot be said that any cognizance was taken by the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate and he applied his mind at the time of taking of cognizance. The applicants are illiterate persons and they had no knowledge about the technicalities of law or procedure. When this fact came to their knowledge, they immediately filed an application in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Meerut challenging the proceedings, which are void ab-initio for want of territorial jurisdiction, but the same was rejected by the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate vide order dated 23.04.2014. Against this order, the applicants preferred a revision, which was also dismissed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Court No.12, Meerut vide impugned order dated 30.06.2017.
4. Learned A.G.A. has argued that non-signing of the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate on the order of cognizance of charge sheet was only a human error and only a procedural lapse. Cognizance was properly taken which was never earlier challenged. Now after a lapse of such a long and considerable period, it cannot be challenged. It has also been argued by the learned A.G.A. that the trial court has full territorial jurisdiction to try this case because it is a ‘continuing offence’.
5. I have considered the above argument. It cannot be said that the then learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Meerut did not apply its mind at the time of taking cognizance. When accused appeared in the Court why they did not bring this fact to the notice of the concerned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate. This charge sheet was submitted in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate on 14.02.1999. The concerned clerk of the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate has written the word “Register” on the charge sheet. It has been slipped by the Presiding Officer to sign it on the charge sheet, but it cannot be said that the learned trial court did not take cognizance because subsequently the proceedings were going on and now even statements of the accused u/s 313 Cr.P.C. have been recorded and this fact was not challenged up till now. This ground has no force.
6. As far as the point of lack of jurisdiction is concerned, the following rulings have been cited on behalf of the applicants:-
1. Sudeep Soni Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, Laws (All) 2006 3 59;
2. Bhura Ram and others Vs. State of Rajasthan anr., Appeal (Crl.) 587 of 2008;
3. Y. Abraham Ajith others Vs. Inspector of Police, Chennai another, Appeal (Crl.) 904 of 2004; and
4. Jai Prakash Verma and others Vs. State of U.P. and another, Criminal Appeal No.522 of 2017.
7. Learned A.G.A. has also produced the following rulings in its support.
1. Neeraj Goswami Vs. State of U.P., LAWS (ALL) 2013 1 58;
2. Deepak Joshi and others Vs. State of U.P. and another, 2009(2) ALJ 252; and
3. Ajara Khatoon others Vs. State of U.P. and another, 2012(4) ALJ 471.
8. I have perused the rulings cited by the learned counsel for the applicants as well as by the learned A.G.A. for the State.
9. It is true that Senior Superintendent of Police, Meerut directed the Station Officer, P.S. Hastinapur, District Meerut to register the FIR and send it to District Faridabad (Haryana). It transpires from the order of learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Meerut dated 23.04.2014 that in compliance of the order of the Senior Superintendent of Police, Meerut, the Station Officer, P.S. Hastinapur, District Meerut wrote a letter to the Police Superintendent, District Faridabad for sending that FIR, but that FIR was returned back with the noting that all proceedings have to be carried out from P.S. Hastinapur, District Meerut and this fact was also mentioned in the case diary.
10. FIR version is that after solemnization of marriage, the accused/ applicant started harassing and torturing the opposite party no.2 with a view to coerce her to make their unlawful demand and they also demanded Rs.50,000/- and a scooter and on denial by the father of the opposite party no.2, the opposite party no.2 was left to her parental house at Hastinapur, District Meerut. The informant/ father of the opposite party no.2 tried to persuade the applicants, but again they demanded money from the informant by saying that money is required because Sanjay has to start his business. Anyhow he managed Rs.20,000/- and went to their house at Faridabad along with Rs.20,000/- and his daughter, but the applicants again threatened that Rs.50,000/- is required and that has to be paid, otherwise the opposite party no.2 will be harassed in the same way. Again the informant paid Rs.10,000/- to the applicants, but the applicants were not satisfied and they ousted his daughter after beating her and in the end on 05.10.1998, the accused persons ousted his daughter after beating and threatened her with dire consequences if she comes without fulfilling their demands. His daughter came to Hastinapur and narrated the whole story and since then she is living at Hastinapur, District Meerut.
11. Learned A.G.A. has also argued that as per Section 178(c) of Cr.P.C. where an offence, is continuing one, and continues to be committed in more local areas than one, then enquiry or trial may be enquired into or tried by a court having jurisdiction over any of such local areas.
12. I agree with the argument of the learned A.G.A. that where offence of cruelty and harassment for dowry is committed then aggrieved wife can file FIR/ complaint either at the place where demand for dowry was made and thereafter causing cruelty for non-fulfilment of demand of dowry and also at the place where aggrieved wife was forced to live. Court where such consequence has ensued, would also have jurisdiction to try the offence. A continuing offence is one which is susceptible of continuance and is distinguishable from the one which is committed once for all. It is one of those offences which arises out of a failure to obey or comply with a rule or its requirement and which involves a penalty, the liability for which continues until the rule or its requirement is obeyed or complied with. On every occasion that such disobedience or non-compliance, occurs and recurs, there is the offence committed. It was held in Nasiruddin Vs. State AIR 1973 SC 186 that desertion is a continuing offence. An act will be a continuing offence where the act is an offence and by continuing that act from day-to-day, a fresh offence is committed by the accused.
13. In Santokh Singh 1988 Cri.LJ 1583 (MP), it was held that where the wife was sent back to her father’s house after maltreating her for dowry, the wife fell ill there due to mental shock caused by cruelty of husband and his relatives, the court within whose jurisdiction the wife resided with her father had jurisdiction to try the offence as the offence could be said to be partly committed and continued to be committed when she was maltreated by her husband in being left with her father.
14. Where there is allegation that her in-laws have thrown out her out of their house and have refused to keep her therein, therefore, the complainant is residing in the house of her parents. Thus, it cannot be said that she is living in her parental house happily with her own wish, rather it is established that she is living therein in compelling circumstances and definitely in the state of harassment, which comes under the category of offence and is termed as continuing offence. In this case also once the offence is continuing at Hastinapur, District Meerut, it can be tried by the court having jurisdiction over the local area of Meerut.
15. As cruelty includes mental as well as physical torture it would be immaterial whether the opposite party no.2 was living at her matrimonial house or at her parental house. It would be treated as continuing offence. In returning the articles or Istridhan would also constitute the mental cruelty. Where the opposite party no.2 was thrashed, maltreated and compelled to bring items demanded in dowry, in her matrimonial house situated in District Faridabad (Haryana) and finally she was made to star and was forcibly driven out of house and left for living in Hastinapur, District Meerut (Uttar Pradesh), where her father lodged this FIR, the offence would be treated of a continuing nature and court at District Meerut would have territorial jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case. I do not find any force in the contention of learned counsel for the applicants and there is no ground to interfere in the conclusion drawn by the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate or learned Additional Sessions Judge.
16. The application u/s 482 Cr.P.C. is dismissed accordingly.
17. As the incident is of the year 1998, the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Court No.6, Meerut is directed to decide the same expeditiously preferably within a period of four months from today. A copy of this order be sent to the District Judge, Meerut for compliance. It is made clear that this Court has not expressed anything on the merits and claim of both the parties and this conclusion is confined to the territorial jurisdiction of the court at district Meerut.
Order Date :- 4.10.2017