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Smt. Gulshan Kaur Bedi And Others vs State Of U.P. Thru. Secy. Home And … on 22 December, 2016

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD, LUCKNOW BENCH

A.F.R.

RESERVED

Case :- MISC. BENCH No. – 22822 of 2016

Petitioner :- Smt. Gulshan Kaur Bedi And Others

Respondent :- State Of U.P. Thru. Secy. Home And Others

Counsel for Petitioner :- V.K.Shahi

Counsel for Respondent :- Govt. Advocate,Ravindra Jaiswal

Hon’ble Ajai Lamba,J.

Hon’ble Dr. Vijay Laxmi,J.

(Delivered by Ajai Lamba, J)

1. The petition has been filed for issuance of a writ in the nature of certiorari quashing First Information Report dated 13.5.2016, lodged as Case Crime No.0144/2016, police station Alambagh, district Lucknow under Sections 498A, 323, 504, 506, 307, 313 I.P.C. and Section ¾ Dowry Prohibition Act. The impugned First Information report has been placed on record as Annexure-1.

2. It appears that petitioner No.3 Prabhjit Singh Bedi was married to respondent No.3 Smt. Daljeet Kaur Bedi on 10.3.2015. The petitioner No.1 Smt. Gulshan Kaur Bedi is the mother-in-law of respondent No.3. Petitioner No.2 is the father-in-law of respondent No.3.

3. Gist of the allegations in the impugned First Information Report is that petitioner No.3 is a resident of Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and was married to respondent No.3 on 10.3.2015 in Gurudwara Hall, Nanded, Maharashtra. Surjit Singh Hudda and his wife Vittu Hudda, residents of Nagpur, Maharashtra were the mediators.

4. Prior to marriage, the petitioners demanded dowry in the sum of Rs.20 lacs which, allegedly, was given by father of the complainant/respondent No.3 by way of selling his house located in Nagpur, Maharashtra.

5. It has been alleged that after marriage, the petitioners changed their mindset/intention and they started demanding more dowry in the sum of Rs.10 lacs. The complainant/respondent No.3, however, refused to oblige the petitioners. Thereupon, the petitioners started taunting the complainant by saying that it has been revealed that you are beggars. The complainant was also taunted by saying that in the marriage, branded goods had not been given. The petitioners addressed the complainant and her mother and father as miserly and bad people.

6. On 14.3.2015, husband of the complainant took the complainant, per force, to Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. At Hyderabad, the husband (petitioner No.3) started shouting and giving beatings to the complainant while taunting her for not giving branded goods and not bringing Rs.10 lacs. The complainant was also taunted by saying that she is less educated. The complainant was told that she would have to do the work of a maid and she was not fit to be the wife of petitioner No.3. After returning from Hyderabad, the petitioners forced the complainant to do all the household chores, the complainant was kept hungry and was asked to wash all the clothes. When the complainant wanted to go out, the door of the house was locked.

7. It has further been alleged that when the complainant told the mediators Surjit Singh Hudda and his wife Vittu Hudda about all the happenings, even they taunted the complainant by saying that all the demands of the petitioners should be met. It has further been alleged that the complainant was taken to Andman Nicobar and a number of other places per force and was ill treated at those places. The complainant was threatened with divorce in case she does not bring Rs.10 lacs as dowry. There is an allegation against petitioners 1 and 2 of saying to the complainant that she would be kept like a maid or she should leave their son. Certain proposals for marriage are coming from millionaire families.

8. It has been alleged that thereafter, the complainant became pregnant, and when the fetus was more than one month old, the petitioner No.3 gave kick blows on her stomach and in connivance with petitioners 1 and 2, against the wishes of the complainant, the fetus was aborted in Seven Hills Hospital, Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The complainant was told that she would not be kept in the family so why extend the family through her. Thereafter the complainant was again made to do all the household chores. Thereafter the complainant developed typhoid and became very weak, yet she was made to do household work and was given beatings and was shunted out of the house. The complainant would spend entire night outside and in the morning, she would be allowed to enter the house.

9. It has been alleged that in regard to harassment of the complainant, the neighbours in Vishakhapatnam called the police. Before the police could arrive, her father-in-law and mother-in-law fled. After the police came, the husband gave assurance to the police that the complainant will not be harassed. Despite such assurance, the complainant was harassed mentally, physically and emotionally.

10. It has been alleged that on 1.1.2016 at about 2 O’ Clock at night, when the complainant was sleeping, her husband tried to suffocate her with a pillow so as to kill her, however, he was not successful. Next day, the complainant escaped from the clutches of her husband and came to her maternal home. The complainant informed her parents about all that had happened. Parents of the complainant went to Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, to request husband of the complainant and in-laws not to cause harassment to their daughter. However, the in-laws abused and insulted the parents of the complainant and again demanded Rs.10 lacs and asked them to leave their house on 22.1.2016.

11. It has been alleged that even thereafter, in-laws of the complainant and mediators Surjit Singh Hudda and his wife Vittu Hudda have been threatening not to make a complaint to the police.

12. It is also alleged that husband of the complainant had induced the complainant through making sweet talk; and also forcibly made certain objectionable videos and sound recordings on the basis of which they can demonstrate their innocence.

13. It has been alleged that the husband and in-laws of the complainant have a greed for dowry and are cruel people. In case the complainant had stayed for more time with her in-laws, she would have lost her life because in-laws of the complainant are giving threats. The complainant is unable to go to the police. Under the circumstances, First Information Report be registered forthwith.

14. Essentially, it has been argued by learned counsel for the petitioners that in the alleged string of incidents, none of the incidents occurred in Lucknow.

It has been argued that none of the incidents having occurred in Lucknow, effective and fair investigation in Lucknow is not possible. It is only to influence the police agency that First Information Report has been registered in Lucknow. Enquiry, investigation or trial in Lucknow, under the circumstances, would be, out of territorial jurisdiction of Lucknow.

15. Learned counsel for the petitioners has relied on judgment rendered by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Manish Ratan and others versus State of Madhya Pradesh and another 2007(1) SCC 262.

16. Learned counsel appearing for the complainant has argued that after the complainant was deserted, she came to Lucknow to live and therefore, the investigation and trial can be conducted within the territorial jurisdiction of Lucknow.

17. Counter affidavit has been filed on behalf of investigating agency in Court. In regard to territorial jurisdiction, it has been stated that complainant is having an ancestral house from her maternal side in Anand Nagar, Bauha Road, Alambagh, Lucknow. The complainant also has a maternal house in Chandar Nagar, Alambagh, Lucknow. In defence of the territorial jurisdiction of Lucknow, the following has been pleaded :

“After the incident the victim returned to her maternal house, situated in Chandar Nagar, Alambagh, Lucknow and started to live there in the portion of her mother.”

18. Gist of the contention on behalf of complainant and the prosecuting agency is that after separation from husband, the complainant is living in portion of a house that apparently had fallen to the share of her mother from her maternal side and therefore, territorial jurisdiction in Lucknow can be invoked.

19. Having heard learned counsel for the parities, we have considered the law on the issue in context of relevant provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure.

20. The issue that arises for consideration of this Court, in context of the contents of the impugned First Information Report is, whether a complainant can invoke jurisdiction for enquiry and trial of a criminal case at a place, only because he/she at the time of registration of the crime is living at that place ?

21. In Manish Ratan’s case (supra), it appears that father-in-law of appellant No.1 lodged a complaint with police station Jabalpur alleging that the appellants have been ill-treating his daughter and they demanded dowry. Evidently, First Information Report was not lodged in Jabalpur.

22. Meena, the alleged victim, lodged First Information Report against the appellants in police station Datia, on a subsequent date whereupon a criminal case was registered. In the said complaint, place of incident is stated to be in Jabalpur. The period during which the incident took place was said to be November, 1995 till 25th August, 1997. It was alleged that subsequent to the ill-treatment etc, she left her house and saved her life somehow and reached in her maternal-uncle’s house (Mama) in Bhopal and from there, she reached her house and since then, she had been living with her father. It appears that the residence of the father was in Datia.

23. A criminal revision was filed by the appellants questioning the jurisdiction of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Datia. Revisional Court/ High Court held that offence was a continuing one and the revision petition accordingly was dismissed. The territorial jurisdiction of Datia Court, accordingly, was upheld.

24. Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in consideration of the above skeleton of facts held that the revisional Court/High Court did not consider the question on the touch-stone of Sections 177 and 178 CrPC. In that context, Hon’ble Supreme Court has considered as to what is a “continuing offence”. The following needs to be noticed (relevant portion) from the judgment rendered in Manish Ratan’s case (supra) :

“6. By a curious process of reasoning, however, it was held:

“……..They demanded a sum of Rs. 7 lakhs and forced her to write a letter to her parents in that regard. She was beaten and kept starving. Somehow she managed to escape and went to her Mama’s place at Bhopal and from there she went to her father’s place and was living there. Thus these facts go to show that she was forced to go to her father’s place on account of the fact that she was maltreated; as demand of Rs. 7 lakhs was not fulfilled. As laid down in the aforesaid decision of this Court, the word ‘cruelty’ is not only the physical cruelty, the lady was forced to live at her father’s place on account of the torture of the in-laws and as such it can safely be said that there was also a mental cruelty. The cruelty and the terror of the in-laws continued even at the place of the father where she was living. In this view of the matter, it can safely be said that the harassment continued at the place where she was residing with her father. In view of the provision of Section 178 CrPC, the offence may be inquired into and tried by a Court where the physical harassment, marpeet had taken place i.e. the in-laws’ place and also where the harassment continued i.e. the place where she was residing. Thus in view of the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid authority with which I respectfully agree, the Court at Datia had also jurisdiction to try the case.”

7. It is not denied or disputed that no part of cause of action arose within the territorial limits of the jurisdiction of the Datia Court. Section 177 of the Code ordains that every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed.

8. Interpretation of the term “ordinarily” will have to be considered having regard to the provisions contained in Section 178 thereof which reads as under:

“178. Place of inquiry or trial.(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 such local areas.”

9. Clause (c) of the said provision, thus, has been applied in the instant case.

10. Whether the allegations made in the complaint petition would constitute a continuing offence, thus, is the core question.

11. In a case of this nature, an offence cannot be held to be a continuing one, only because the complainant is forced to leave her matrimonial home.

12. In State of Bihar v. Deokaran Nenshi (1972)2 SCC 890), it was stated : (SCC p. 892, para 5)

“A continuing offence is one which is susceptible of continuance and is distinguishable from the one which is committed once and 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 reoccurs, there is the offence committed. The distinction between the two kinds of offences is between an act or omission which constitutes an offence once and for all and an act or omission which continues, and therefore, constitutes a fresh offence every time or occasion on which it continues. In the case of a continuing offence, there is thus the ingredient of continuance of the offence which is absent in the case of an offence which takes place when an act or omission is committed once and for all.”

(Emphasised by us)

13. In Sujata Mukherjee this Court held the offence to be a continuing one as specific allegations had been made against the husband that he had also gone to Raipur where the complaint was filed and had assaulted the appellant therein. It was in the aforementioned fact situation, this Court set aside the judgment of the High Court holding that the incident at Raipur was not an isolated event stating: (SCC pp. 31-32, para 3)

“At the hearing of these appeals, Mr Gambhir, the learned counsel appearing for the appellant, has submitted that it will be evident from the complaint that the appellant has alleged that she had been subjected to cruel treatment persistently at Raigarh and also at Raipur and incident taking place at Raipur is not an isolated event, but consequential to the series of incidents taking place at Raigarh. Therefore, the High Court was wrong in appreciating the scope of the complaint and proceeding on the footing that several isolated events had taken place at Raigarh and one isolated incident had taken place at Raipur. Hence, the criminal case filed in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Raipur was only maintainable against the respondent husband against whom some overt act at Raipur was alleged. But such case was not maintainable against the other respondents.”

14. This Court having regard to the peculiar fact situation obtaining therein held: (SCC p. 32, para 7)

“We have taken into consideration the complaint filed by the appellant and it appears to us that the complaint reveals a continuing offence of maltreatment and humiliation meted out to the appellant in the hands of all the accused respondents and in such continuing offence, on some occasions all the respondents had taken part and on other occasion, one of the respondents had taken part. Therefore, clause (c) of Section 178 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is clearly attracted. We, therefore, set aside the impugned order of the High Court and direct the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Raipur to proceed with the criminal case.”

15. Sujata Mukherjee was distinguished by a Division Bench of this Court in Y. Abraham Ajith v. Inspector of Police (2004)8 SCC 100 where noticing the interpretation of the expression “cause of action”, it was held that the expression “ordinarily” need not be limited to those specially provided for by the law and exceptions may be provided by law on consideration or may be implied from the provisions of law permitting joint trial of offences by the same Court. In that case the complaint itself disclosed that after 15-4-1997, the respondent left Nagercoil and went to Chennai and was staying there. Thus, having regard to the fact that all allegations according to the complainant took place at Nagercoil, it was held that the courts at Chennai did not have the jurisdiction to deal with the matter. It was held: (Y. Abraham Ajith case, SCC p.104, para 11)

“This Court held in that factual background that clause (c) of Section 178 was attracted. But in the present case the factual position is different and the complainant herself left the house of the husband on 15-4-1997 on account of alleged dowry demands by the husband and his relations. There is thereafter not even a whisper of allegations about any demand of dowry or commission of any act constituting an offence much less at Chennai. That being so, the logic of Section 178 (c) of the Code relating to continuance of the offences cannot be applied.”

16. Yet again in Ramesh v. State of T.N., (2005)3 SCC 507, Abraham Ajith was followed by this Court stating: (SCC pp. 512-13, paras 11-12)

“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 at its face value, the offences alleged cannot be said to have been committed wholly or partly within the local jurisdiction of the Magistrates 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.

(Emphasised by us)

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.”

The said decisions are squarely applicable to the facts of the present case.

17. Our attention was drawn to the fact that no criminal case was lodged at Jabalpur. Our attention was further drawn to the fact that the investigation of the case is complete.

18. We, therefore, are of the opinion that, interest of justice would be subserved, while setting aside the order of the High Court, if in exercise of our jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, we direct transfer of the criminal case pending in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Datia to the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jabalpur. We accordingly do so.”

25. From the judgment rendered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Manish Ratan’s case (supra), it is gathered that the revisional court/High court did not deal with the issue of territorial jurisdiction in context of provisions of Sections 177 and 178 CrPC. Rather; the Court allowed continuance of proceedings at Datia because the complainant was living at Datia when the crime was registered. The revisional Court/High Court did not consider that none of the incidents on account of which the crime was registered had occurred in Datia. It has thus been held that even though it was a ”continuing offence’, no part of the offence had been committed in Datia. Consequently, judgment rendered by the revisional Court/High Court was set aside.

26. The issue that has cropped up before this Court for adjudication, also, is whether the police in Lucknow would have the jurisdiction to conduct investigation; and consequent trial can go on in Lucknow. For appropriate adjudication, specific reference is required to be made to the relevant provisions from the Code of Criminal Procedure, i.e. Sections 177 and 178 CrPC.

27. Sections 177 and 178 of Code of Criminal Procedure are relevant in regard to territorial jurisdiction of the Court. Sections 177 and 178 CrPC read as under :

“Section 177: Ordinary place of inquiry and trial: Every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed.

Section 178: Place of inquiry or trial.

(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 a 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 such local areas.”

28. Provisions of Section 177 CrPC inhere that ”every offence’ shall be ”inquired’ and ”tried’ by a court within whose ”local jurisdiction’ it was committed’.

29. The provisions of Section 178 CrPC provide that where it is uncertain in which of the several local areas, an offence was committed; or where an offence is committed partially in one local area and partially in another; or where an offence is continuing one, and continues to be committed in more local areas than one or 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 such local areas.’ The case in hand is required to be considered in the light of provisions of Section 178 CrPC.

30. We have made a detailed reference to the allegations made in the impugned First Information Report for the reason that territorial jurisdiction in regard to the ”offence’ is required to be considered by this Court. This Court is required to consider the territorial jurisdiction for the purposes of “enquiry” and “trial” in context of area where the offence has been committed, partly or in whole.

31. Investigation has been defined by this Court by a Bench of which one of us (Ajai Lamba, J) was a member in Writ Petition No.7590(M/B) of 2015 Madhuri Devi versus The State of U.P. and others vide judgment dated 21.8.2015. Relevant portion from the judgment passed in Madhuri Devi’s case (supra) is given herebelow :

“11. “Investigation” and “Offence” have been defined as under.

12. “Investigation” is a term defined under Section 2 (h) of the CrPC in the following terms:

“(h)”investigation” includes all the proceedings under this Code for the collection of evidence conducted by a police officer or by any person (other than a Magistrate) who is authorised by a Magistrate in this behalf;”

13. The dictionary meaning of investigation as per The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language is “an examination for the purpose of discovering information about something”.

14. As per Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, investigation is “an official examination of the facts about a situation, crime, etc”.

15. “Investigate” has been defined in Oxford Dictionary (supra) as, “to carefully examine the facts of a situation, an event, a crime etc to find out the truth about it or how it happened.”

16. “Offence” has been defined under Section 2(n) of the CrPC in the following terms:

“(n)”offence”means any act or omission made punishable by any law for the time being in force and includes any act in respect of which a complaint may be made under Section 20 of the Cattle Trespass Act, 1871 (1 of 1871 );”

17. “Cognizable Offence” has been defined in Section 2(c) CrPC as under:

“(c) “cognizable offence” means an offence for which, and “cognizable case” means a case in which, a police officer may, in accordance with the First Schedule or under any other law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant.

35. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in AIR 1964 SC 221, State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Bhagwant Kishore Joshi at para 17 ( relevant portion) of the judgement has said as follows:-

“17……………………….Investigation, in substance, means collection of evidence relating to the commission of the offence. The Investigating Officer is, for this purpose, entitled to question persons who, in this opinion, are able to throw light on the offence which has been committed and is likewise entitled to question the suspect and is entitled to reduce the statements of persons questioned by him to writing. He is also entitled to search the place of the offence and to search other places with the object of seizing articles connected with the offence. No doubt, for this purpose he has to proceed to the spot where the offence was committed and do various other things. But the main object of investigation being to bring home the offence to the offender the essential part of the duties of an investigating officer in this connection is, apart from arresting the offender, to collect all material necessary for establishing the accusation against the offender. Merely making some preliminary enquire upon receipt of information from an anonymous source or a source of doubtful reliability for checking up the correctness of the information does not amount to collection of evidence and so cannot be regarded as investigation…………”

[Emphasis supplied by us]

36. In the same context, a reference may also be made to para 48 of judgment rendered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Vinay Tyagi Vs. Irshad Ali @ Deepak and others, (2013) 5 SCC 762:-

“48. What ultimately is the aim or significance of the expression “fair and proper investigation” in criminal jurisprudence? It has a twin purpose ; Firstly, the investigation must be unbiased, honest, just and in accordance with law ; secondly, the entire emphasis on a fair investigation has to be to bring out the truth of the case before the court of competent jurisdiction. Once these twin paradigms of fair investigation are satisfied, there will be the least requirement for the court of law to interfere with the investigation, much less quash the same, or transfer it to another agency. Bringing out the truth by fair and investigative means in accordance with law would essentially repel the very basis of an unfair, tainted investigation or cases of false implication. Thus, it is inevitable for a court of law to pass a specific order as to the fate of the investigation, which in its opinion is unfair, tainted and in violation of the settled principles of investigative canons.”

[Emphasis supplied by us]

44. As per the definition of ‘investigation’, given in earlier part of the judgement and what has been said by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Bhagwant Kishore Joshi’s case (supra), it becomes evident that the investigation is not confined to looking into or examining only the case brought out by the complainant/informant. In the said judgement, it has been suggested that The Investigating Officer is, for this purpose, entitled to question persons who, in this opinion, are able to throw light on the offence which has been committed and is likewise entitled to question the suspect and is entitled to reduce the statements of persons questioned by him to writing. Rather there have been a number of cases wherein a complainant, after committing offence, has gone ahead in registering a crime indicating culpability of others. In case scope of investigation is confined to the examination of the story given by the complainant only, it shall cause manifest injustice as the very purpose of investigation would be lost and frustrated. It would result in partial and prejudiced investigation resulting in unfair results.

[Emphasis supplied by us]

45. From the definition of ‘investigation’ provided under Section 2 (h) of CrPC, it is evident that it includes all proceedings for the ‘collection of evidence’. The provision does not even envisage that only the version given by the complainant/informant is to be inquired or investigated.

46. Thus, the investigating officer is required to examine the facts of a ‘situation’ or an event/transaction/crime.”

32. From the above extracted portion from the judgment rendered in Madhuri Devi’s case (supra), it is evident that an investigation is in context of an ”incident” or a ”transaction’. Investigation, in substance, means collection of evidence relating to the commission of the offence. The investigating officer is, for this purpose, entitled to question the persons who, in his opinion, are able to throw light on the offence which has been committed and is likewise entitled to question the suspect and is entitled to reduce the statements of persons questioned by him to writing. Under the circumstances, the appropriate authority, viz the investigating agency for the purposes of enquiry or investigation and the Court for the purposes of trial of the offence is required to consider as to within which ”local jurisdiction’, the ”incident’ took place.

33. As is evident from the above extracted portion, offence is a term that has been defined under Section 2(n) of Code of Criminal Procedure to mean ”any act’ or ”omission’ made punishable by any law. Any act or omission apparently refers to an incident or a transaction, as the case may be.

34. First Information Report is registered under the provisions of Section 154 CrPC and also refers to information relating to commission of a ”cognizable offence’, viz an act or omission committed by the suspect.

35. In the spirit of the above extracted portion of the judgment from Manish Ratan’s case (supra), we are required to examine as to within which local area, the incidents took place; and offence has been committed.

36. Allegedly, offence under Section 498-A – (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), has been committed. Even if all the allegations made in the impugned First Information Report are considered to be correct, it is evident that none of the incidents in regard to Section 498-A I.P.C. was committed within the territorial jurisdiction of Lucknow.

37. Likewise, no incident in context of offence under Section 323 – (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) took place within the territorial jurisdiction of Lucknow.

38. Similarly, neither of the incidents in connection with Sections 504, 506, 307, 313 I.P.C. or Section ¾ Dowry Prohibition Act took place within the jurisdiction of Lucknow. This aspect of the matter has neither been denied by learned counsel for the investigating agency nor by learned counsel for the complainant. Bare perusal of the impugned First Information Report also makes this factual position evident.

39. It appears that because the complainant, harassed by her in-laws came to settle down in Lucknow, in an ancestral house from the maternal side, the crime has been registered in Lucknow. This is also apparent from the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the investigating agency, portion of which has been extracted above.

40. “Continuing Offence” has been defined as one which is susceptible of continuance and is distinguishable from the one which is committed once and for all. In the case of a “continuing offence”, there is thus the ingredient of continuance of the offence; which is absent in the case of an offence which takes place when an act or omission is committed once and for all. On every occasion that such disobedience or non-compliance occurs and reoccurs, there is the offence committed. The distinction between the two kinds of offences is between an act or omission which constitutes an offence once and for all; and an act or omission which continues, and therefore, constitutes a fresh offence every time or occasion on which it continues.

41. Offence, in the considered opinion of the Court, is required to be considered in context of the ingredients of the offence that has allegedly been committed, in this case under Sections 498-A, 323, 504, 506, 307, 313 I.P.C. and Section ¾ Dowry Prohibition Act. None of such acts or omissions, in relation to the allegations in the impugned First Information Report, have taken place within the territorial jurisdiction of Lucknow, as is evident on bare perusal of the impugned First Information Report. Evidently, the complainant was not engaged or married in Lucknow. At no point in time, in the entire duration of their married life, the couple stayed or even visited Lucknow. Even if all the allegations made in the First Information Report are considered to be true, the incident, as alleged, occurred either in Vishakhapatnam or Hyderabad or Andaman Nicobar Islands.

42. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, law on the issue laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Manish Ratan’s case (supra), we have no hesitation in holding that the impugned criminal proceedings have been initiated in Lucknow only because after separating from husband, the complainant is living in Lucknow. None of the string of incidents which constitute offence took place within the area of Lucknow. Clearly, the jurisdiction in Lucknow has been invoked in abuse of process of the law and in violation of Sections 177 and 178 CrPC.

43. Registration of the case in Lucknow in regard to incidents in other States is clearly without jurisdiction because investigation in regard to the alleged offences cannot be conducted by the police in Lucknow, and offence cannot be tried by the Courts having jurisdiction in Lucknow.

44. There is another aspect to the matter. As explained in Madhuri Devi’s case (supra), this Court has taken note of the scope of investigation. For the purposes of investigation, evidence is required to be collected relating to commission of the offence. The investigating officer for the said purpose is required to question the persons who can throw light on the incidents or omissions on account of which it is alleged that offence has been committed. Likewise, the investigating officer is entitled to question the suspect (s). The investigating officer is also entitled to search the place of the offence and other places with the object of seizing articles connected with the offence. In the interest of fair and effective investigation, in context of this case, if the enquiry is allowed to continue by the police of Lucknow, the investigator would be required to conduct the entire investigation outside the State of Uttar Pradesh, viz in Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad and/or Andaman Nicobar Islands. In the interest of fair and effective investigation also, therefore, it would not be legally and practically feasible to allow the investigation to continue by the police of Lucknow.

45. In view of the above, this petition is disposed of with the direction that investigation of the case in Case Crime No. 0144/2016 under Sections 498A, 323, 504, 506, 307, 313 I.P.C. and Section ¾ Dowry Prohibition Act, P.S. Alambagh, district Lucknow, be transferred to the appropriate place/State where the offence has been committed.

December 22,2016

Kkb/

 

 

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We handle Women Centric biased laws like False Sectioin 498A IPC, Domestic Violence(DV ACT), Divorce, Maintenance, Alimony, Child Custody, HMA 24, 125 CrPc, 307, 312, 313, 323, 354, 376, 377, 406, 420, 497, 506, 509; TEP, RTI and many more…

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