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Jurisdiction in Section 498A

Madhya Pradesh High Court

Nirasha Sharma


The State Of Madhya Pradesh on 1 December, 2014



Shri Devendra Sharma, Advocate, for the Petitioner.
Ku. Nutan Saxena, Public Prosecutor, for the respondent No.1/State.
Shri Alok Sharma, Advocate, for the respondent No.2.

This petition has been filed under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. for quashing the FIR as well as charge- sheet registered at Crime No.547/13 for the offence under Section 498-A/34 of IPC at Police Station Ambah, District Morena.

Brief facts of this case are as follows:- The marriage of respondent no.2 was solemnized with Manoj Sharma, S/o Santoshilal Sharma. The petitioner Nirasha Sharma, is the sister-in-law of the Complainant Smt.Ravi Sharma. On the basis of the written complaint dated 17.09.2013 lodged by Smt. Ravi Sharma at Police Station Ambah, a Crime No.547/13 under Section 498-A/34 of IPC was registered on 23.09.2014 against the petitioner Nirasha Sharma (the sister- in-law), Manoj Sharma (the husband), Santoshilal Sharma (father-in-law) and Munni Sharma, (the mother-in-law).

M.Cr.C.3164/2014 In the report, the respondent No.2 Smt. Ravi Sharma has alleged that after her marriage, she resided with her in-laws at Bye-pass Road, Modiakheda, Police Station Civil Line, Morena. She was subjected to harassment and cruelty. Her earlier report was not entertained at Police Station Ambah. She gave a written complainant to the Superintendent of Police, Morena. Superintendent of Police, Morena, marked the S.H.O., Ambah, to register the case.

On behalf of the petitioner it is alleged that no offence has been committed under the jurisdiction of Police Station, Ambah. Therefore, registering the case at Police Station Ambah is a gross violation of the provisions and it is a glaring example of the fact how the law has been misused.

Keeping in mind the allegations have committed under the jurisdiction of Police Station Morena, it is the only Police Station empowered to investigate the offence. It has been investigated wrongly by the Police Station Ambah, which is not permissible under law. Written application dated 17.09.2013 itself is self-explanatory, hence, it is requested to quash the proceedings as prayed above.

M.Cr.C.3164/2014 On behalf of the respondent No.1/State, the application is opposed.

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The respondent No.2, opposing the same it is submitted that as the respondent No.2/complainant is a lady and she is unable to go to Police Station Civil Line Morena, apprehending danger to her life. The accused persons may pressurize her for entering into compromise, she requested the Superintendent of Police, Morena, to direct the Police Station, Ambah for lodging her report. The respondent No.2 is a woman and is helpless, therefore, the registration of crime at Police Station Ambah is proper and no interference is called for.

A plain reading of the complaint clearly shows that the so called “harassment and cruelty” committed with the respondent No.2 was committed at her in-law’s house situated at Bye- pass road, Civil Lines, under the Police Station, Morena. The allegations do not show that any part of the offence was committed at the matrimonial house of respondent No.2 which is under the jurisdiction of Police Station, Ambah.

In this regard, Section 177 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is reproduced for better M.Cr.C.3164/2014 understanding of the provision:-

“S. 177. Every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed.”
The words “ordinarily” in Section 177 of Cr.P.C. indicates that the rule is not invariable in all cases. The use of the word “ordinarily” indicates that the provision is a general one and must be subject to special provisions contained in the Criminal Procedure Code. The exceptions implied by the word “ordinarily” need not be limited to those specially provided for by the law and exceptions may be provided by law on considerations of convenience or may be implied from other provisions of law permitting joint trial of offences of the same Court.

The provision regarding place of enquiry under Section 178 Cr.P.C. is also reproduced for better understanding of the same:-

“S. 178 (a) When it is uncertain in which of several local areas an offence was committed, or
(b) where an offence is committed partly in one local area and partly in another, or
(c) where an offence is continuing one, and continues to be committed in more local areas than one, or
(d) where it consists of several acts done in different local areas, it may be inquired into or tried by a Court having jurisdiction over any of M.Cr.C.3164/2014 such local areas.”
In the present case, no act alleged to have been committed at her matrimonial home i.e. under the Police Station, Ambah.

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In catena of cases, Hon’ble the Apex Court has given the findings as regarding jurisdiction in such matrimonial cases.

In Y. Abraham Ajith and others, Vs. Inspector of Police, Chennai and another reported in AIR 2004 SC 4286, it held that, “Criminal P.C.(2 of 1974) . Ss. 178, 482-Place of trial-Complaint alleging offfences under Ss. 498A, 406 etc. of Penal Code – Acts complained of alleged to have taken place at place ‘N’- Complaint filed before Court at place ‘M’- Complainant had left her husband’s place at ‘N’ went to place ‘M’ -But complaint does not disclose any demand of dowry or commission of any act constituting an offence at place ‘M’ – Logic of S.178(c) relating to continuing offences therefore does not apply–No part of cause of action arose at ‘M”- Court at ‘M’ therefore had no jurisdiction – Proceedings liable to be quashed.

In Gurmeet Singh Vs. state of M.P., 2006 (1) M.P.L.J., 250, the High Court of M.P. propounded that, “Criminal Procedure Code (2 of 1974), S. 178 © and Penal Code S.498-A- Complainant was subjected to cruelty and harassment and demand of dowry was made at Asansole (West Bengal)– Complainant left matrimonial M.Cr.C.3164/2014 home and lodged F.I.R. under sections 498-A, 406 and 506, Indian Penal Code at Mahila Police Station, Indore (M.P.) — No act of harassment or demand of dowry has been committed at Indore or was in contiunance – Court at Indore has no territorial jurisdiction to try the offences against the applicant”.

In a similar case, Bhura Ram and others Vs. State of Rajasthan and another reported as 2008(4) M.P.H.T. 15 (SC), it is held that, “Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), Sections 177 and 178–Penal Code (45-1860), Sections 498-A– Offence of subjecting a married woman to cruelty–Is not a continuing offence– All the alleged acts of cruelty upon the married woman had taken place at her husband’s place in Punjab–After the death of the husband, the woman started to reside in a place in Rajasthan with her maternal relations–Held, that the offence of cruelty under Section 498-A IPC is not a continuing offence– The Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in Rajasthan had no jurisdiction to deal with the matter– The proceedings before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate were quashed– The complaint was directed to be returned to the complainant/woman to file it, if she so wished, in the appropriate Court in Punjab.”

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The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed in Preeti Gupta and another Vs. State of Jharkhand and another, (2010) 7 S.C.C.667, held that, “It is a matter of common knowledge that unfortunately matrimonial litigation is rapidly increasing in our country. All the courts in our country including the Supreme M.Cr.C.3164/2014 Court are flooded with matrimonial cases. This clearly demonstrates discontent and unrest in the family life of a large number of people of society. It is a matter of common experience that most of these complaints under Section 498-A IPC are filed in the heat of the moment over trivial issues without proper deliberations. It is seen that a large number of such complaints are not even bonafide and are filed with oblique motive. At the same time, rapid increase in the number of genuine cases of dowry harassment is also a matter of serious concern.”

Keeping in view the above discussions and the legal position, it is very clear that Police Station, Morena, has the jurisdiction to entertain the matter as the offence has alleged to have been committed at the matrimonial home of respondent No.2 at Bye-pass Road, Morena. As a result, the present Crime registered at Crime No.547/13 dated 23.09.2014 under Section 498-A/34, registered at Police Station Ambah, District Morena is quashed. However, it is made clear that the complaint lodged at Police Station Ambah may be transferred to the Police Station Civil Line, Morena, District Morena for taking action as per law.

This petition stands disposed of.

(S.K. Palo)

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