Ranchi HC-IPC 498A/406 Quashed-No Territorial Jurisdiction
Jharkhand High Court
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JHARKHAND, RANCHI
Cr.M.P. No.813 of 2008
1. Sunil Kumar Choudhary
2. Suman Prakash Choudhary @ Anil Kumar
3. Sudhir Kumar Choudhary @ Sudhir Kumar
4. Kaushal Kumar Choudhary @ Kaushal Kumar @ Kaushal Kishore Choudhary
5. Sunita Kumari
6. Sujanti Kumari
7. Madan Mohan Choudhary @ Bishu Choudhary
8. Shakuntala Devi
9. Sudha Devi @ Sudha Kumari
10. Kanhaiya @ Kanhaiya Choudhary- — – — – —Petitioners Versus
1. The State of Jharkhand
2. Pushplata Choudhary– — – — – — – — –Opposite Parties
CORAM : THE HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE D.K. SINHA
For the Petitioners : Mr. R.S. Mazumdar, Sr. Advocate M/s. Rishav Dev & Rajesh Kumar, Advocates
For the State : Mr. D.K. Prasad, A.P.P. For the Opp. Party No.2 : M/s. Manoj Kr. Sah & Md. Imteyaz Ashrad, Advocates
Reserved on: 6-1-2011 Pronounced on: 04 – 02-2011
D.K. Sinha, J. The petitioners have invoked the inherent jurisdiction of this Court under Section 482 Code of Criminal Procedure for quashment of the entire criminal prosecution arising out of Complaint Case No.664 /07 pending before the S.D.J.M., Ranchi including the order impugned dated 19.5.2008 by which cognizance of the offence was taken under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.
2. Prosecution story in short was that the opposite party No.2 was married to the accused-petitioner No.1 on 21.6.1999 according to Hindu rites and customs prevalent at Dumka where her father was posted there during service. After her marriage, she went to her matrimonial home at Maksudpur in the district of Patna. It was alleged in the complaint that within a month of her marriage, the accused persons started extending torture and subjecting her to inhumane behaviour and cruelty and they started demanding Rs.5,00,000/- to be brought from her parental home in spite of the fact that valuable gifts were presented to her on the eve of her marriage. As the parents of the complainant had financial constraints to meet out such unreasonable demand, they tried their sincere efforts to 2
persuade the accused persons to keep the complainant properly and humanely but of no avail. It was alleged that the complainant at times was kept confined in the room without food and water and used to be assaulted at their hands. Yet, the father of the complainant used to make over certain amounts to the husband-petitioner No.1 from time to time but it did not satisfy the greed of the accused persons. When the complainant became pregnant, she was sent back to Ranchi where her father was posted on transfer from Dumka. She delivered a male child at Ranchi but none of them including her husband-petitioner No.1 ever cared to see or to take care of either the complainant or newly born child. After some time, she returned back to her matrimonial home where she was again subjected to cruelty and mental harassment. Although she tried to cope with the situation but all the accused humiliated by putting remarks that she had illicit relation with one Sudhir Kumar Choudhary, who was the accused No.3 in the complaint case and ultimately, she was driven out from her matrimonial home in the month of January, 2004 and that finding no way out, she took shelter at her parental home. But prior to that, her almirah was broken open by the accused persons and all her valuable belongings and jewelleries were removed by them. On 15.5.2004, she returned back to her matrimonial home with one Shayam Babu Choudhary but she was asked to bring Rs.5,00,000/- for her entry in the matrimonial home. They further refused to return back her jewelleries and other valuables. Finding no way out, she lodged a Complaint Case No.691/04 before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ranchi for the alleged offence under Sections 498A/406 Indian Penal Code against the accused. Simultaneously, she initiated a proceeding under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure against her husband petitioner No.1 in the court of Principal Judge, Family Court, Ranchi being Maintenance Case No.64/2004. During pendency of both the cases, husband-petitioner No.1 came to Ranchi and offered to resolve the dispute with the complainant on his assurance and undertaking that he would properly behave with her and would not demand anything from her parents. Husband-petitioner further undertook that none of his relatives would extend cruelty to her in any manner. Upon such assurance given by her husband-petitioner No.1 Sunil Kumar Choudhary in presence of the accused No.10 Kanhaiya, she expressed her willingness to accompany her husband to Patna and in that process, compromise petition was filed before the Principal Judge, Family Court, Ranchi which was accepted and thereafter, Complain Case No.691/04, which she had filed for the alleged offence under Sections 498A/406 of the Indian Penal Code was withdrawn. She was then taken to her matrimonial home at Maksudpur but the accused persons with the little pause again started similar behaviour to her by extending mental and 3
physical torture. She was then taken to Anisabad and from there to Patliputra Colony, Patna, but her miseries did not end here and she had been pressurized to bring money from her parental home, lest her father would be responsible for the consequences which would may happen in future with her. It was further alleged that petitioner No. 2 and petitioner No.5 forcibly tried to send her to Ranchi but she refused. However, on 2.2.2007 she was informed that her husband was at Ranchi, who wanted her to be there to finalize certain issues with her father at Ranchi and on such pretext, she was taken to Ranchi by the accused persons, who left her at the bus stand, asking that she would not be accepted by her husband and in-laws until she would carry Rs.5,00,000/-. Her minor son was forcibly retained by the accused persons. That apart, it was seriously alleged that her husband insisted her to live with accused No.3 Sudhir Kumar Choudhary and thereby extreme form of cruelty was demonstrated.
3. Mr. R.S. Mazumdar, the learned Sr. Counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioners, at the outset submitted that the entire criminal proceedings against the petitioners as well as the order by which cognizance of the offence was taken by the Chief Judicial Magistrate was bad in law as the same was lacking territorial jurisdiction in view of the fact that no part of the cause of action took place within the territorial jurisdiction of the C.J.M./ S.D.J.M., Ranchi. Learned Sr. Counsel further submitted that the offence under which the cognizance was taken by the court was not a continuing offence, as such, the same could not be tried at Ranchi. Cognizance of the offence under Sections 498A/406/120-B of the Indian Penal Code was taken mechanically as the territorial jurisdiction of the court was not examined since the contents of the complaint reflected that no part of occurrence took place within the territorial jurisdiction of C.J.M., Ranchi and therefore, the entire criminal prosecution of the petitioners was liable to be quashed.
4. In Bhura Ram and others versus State of Rajasthan and another, reported in (2008)11 Supreme Court Cases 103, the Apex Court of India held, “The facts stated in the complaint disclose that the complainant left the place where she was residing with her husband and in-laws and came to the city of Sri Ganganagar, State of Rajasthan and that all the alleged acts as per the complaint had taken place in the State of Punjab. The court at Rajasthan does not have the jurisdiction to deal with the matter. On the basis of the factual scenario disclosed by the complainant in the complaint, the inevitable conclusion is that no part of cause of action arose in Rajasthan and, therefore, the Magistrate concerned has no jurisdiction to deal with the matter. As a consequence thereof, the proceedings before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sri Ganganagar are quashed. The complaint be returned to the complainant and if she so wishes she may file the same in the appropriate court to be dealt with in accordance with law.”
5. Learned counsel, Mr. Manoj Kr. Sah, appearing on behalf of the opposite party No.2, did not dispute the legal position except by stating that the opposite party No.2 having been forced to leave her matrimonial home preceded by torture and demand of money would come within the purview of mental cruelty and harassment which continued even at the place where she returned back to her father at Ranchi and therefore, no error was caused by the C.J.M., Ranchi while taking cognizance of the offence and the learned S.D.J.M., Ranchi found prima facie case against the accused petitioners for the alleged offence under Sections 498A/406/120- B of the Indian Penal Code.
6. Supreme Court of India in Manish Ratan and others versus State of M.P. and another, reported in (2007) 1 Supreme Court Cases 262 held, “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 read 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 compliant 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.”
7. In view of the legal and factual position, this petition is allowed. The order impugned, by which the learned S.D.J.M., Ranchi found a prima facie case against the petitioners for the alleged offence under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code cannot be sustained under law as the same was recorded without considering that no part of the alleged act did take place in his territorial jurisdiction. Accordingly, such order and the entire criminal prosecution of the petitioners in Complaint Case No.664 /07 are set aside, however, with the liberty to the complainant-opposite party No.2 to file any such complaint in the court of competent territorial jurisdiction.
(D.K. Sinha, J.)