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Smt. Sujata Mukherjee Vs. Prashant Kumar Mukherjee [1997] INSC 484 (30 April 1997)

G.N. RAY, G.T. NANAVATI

ACT:

HEADNOTE:

Present:

Hon'bleMr. Justice G.N. Ray Hon'bleMr. Justice G.T. Nanavati S.K. Gambhir, Adv. for the appellant Anoop Chaudhary, Sakesh Kumar, Uma Nath Singh, Advs. for State of M.P. for the Respondent K.M.K. Nair, and S.K. Mehta, Advs. for the Respondent O R D E R The following order of the Court was delivered:

These twoappealsare directed against the order dated 31.8.89passed by the Madhya Pradesh High Courtdisposing of Criminal Revision No. 481 of 1989 and CriminalRevision No. 463/89.Criminal Revision No.481/89 was preferred by all the five respondents against refusal by the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Raipur to transferthe case from Raipur to Raigarh. Criminal RevisionNo. 463/89 waspreferred by four of the respondents challenging the assumption of jurisdiction ofthe Chief judicial magistrate, Raipur in the complaint madeby theappellant for offences under Section 498 Aand 506 B and 323 of Indian Penal Code. The respondents arethe husband, parents-in-law andtwo sisters- in-law of the appellant Sujata Mukherjee. The gist of the allegation of the appellant, Sujata Mukherjee is that on accountof dowry demands, she had been Maltreated and humiliated notonly in the house of the in-laws at Raigarh but asa consequence of suchevents,the husband of the appellant had also come to the house of her parents at Raipur and had also assaulted her.

The respondents contended before the learned chief Judicial Magistrate Raipur that the criminalcase was not maintainable before the said learned Chief Judicial Magistrate because thecauseof action took place only at raigarhwhich was outside theterritorial jurisdiction of the learned Magistrateat Raipur. A Prayer wasalso made to quash the summons issued by the learned Chief judicial Magistrate byentertaining the said complaint of Smt. Mukherjee. As the ChiefJudicial Magistrate wasnot inclined either to quashthe summons or to transfer the criminalcase to thecompetent Court at Raigarh, the aforesaid criminal revision petitions were filed; one by all thefive respondents andanotherby fourof the respondents excluding the husband presumably because there was specific allegation againstthe husband that the husbandthat the husband had also gone to Raipur an had assaultedthe appellant and as such husbandcould not plead want of territorial jurisdiction. Both thesaid criminal revisions casehave been disposed of by a common order dated 31.8.89 by theHigh Court. The high Courthaving held that excepting against the husband, the complaint against other respondents related to the incidents taking place at Raigarh. Hence, the criminal caseon the basisof complaint made by the appellant wasnot maintainable against the said other respondents atRaipur but suchcase was maintainable so far as the husband of the appellant, namely, Sri S.S. Mukherjee is concerned.

Atthe hearing of theseappeals, Mr. Gambhir, the learnedcounsel appearing forthe appellant has submitted that it willbe evident from thecomplaint that the appellant has alleged that she had been subjected to cruel treatment persistentlyat Raigarh andalso at Raipur and incident taking place at Raipur is not an isolated event, but consequential to the seriesof incidents taking place at Raigarh. Therefore, theHigh Court was wrong inappreciating the scope of the complaint and proceeded on thefootingthat severalisolated events had been place at Raigarh and on isolated incident had taken place at Raipur. Hence the Criminal case filed in the court ofthe Chief Judicial Magistrate, Raipur was only maintainableagainst the respondent husband against whom some over act at Raipur was alleged. But such case was not maintainableagainst the other respondents.

Inthis connection, Mr. Gambhir has drawn our attention to Section 178 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in particular clauses [b]and [c] of Section 178 clauses [b] envisages that'where an offence is committed partly in one local area andpartly in another" suchoffencecan be tried by a Court having jurisdiction over any suchlocal areas.

Clause c contemplates that 'where an offence isa continuing one, and continues to be committed in more local areas:then such offence can be tried by a Court havingjurisdiction over any of such local areas.

Mr. Gambhir has submitted that complaint made by the appellant Sujata Mukherjee discloses offence committed partly in one local area and partly in another local area.

The complaint also discloses that the offence was continuing one having beencommitted in more localareas and one of the local areas being Raipur, thelearnedMagistrate at Raipur had jurisdiction toproceed withthe criminalcase instituted in such court.

Mr. AnoopChoudhary, learned senior counsel appearing for the State has submitted that clause [b] of Section 178 is not attracted but ifthis Court is inclined to accept the submission of Mr. Gambhir that the offence was continuing on and the episode at Raipur was onlya sequence of the continuing offence of harassment and ill treatment meted out to thecomplainant, clause [c] of the Section 178 may be attracted. Mr. Choudhary has submitted that from the complaint it cannot bereasonably heldthat all the accused had committed the offence partly in one area and partly in anotherlocal area. Therefore, it will not be appropriate to apply; clause [b] of Section 178 of the Code of Criminal procedure. In our view,there is force in such submission of Mr. Choudhary.

Despite servicebeing effected on the private respondents, no one has appeared for any of of the accused respondents. Wehave taken intoconsideration the complaint filed by the appellant and it appears to us that the complaint reveals a continuingoffenceof mal treatment and humiliation meted out to the appellant in thehands of all the accused respondents and in such continuing offence, on some occasionsall the respondents had takenpart and on other occasion, one of the respondents hadtaken part.

Therefore, clause [c] of Section 178 ofthe code of Criminal Procedure is clearly attracted.We, therefore, set aside the impugned orderof theHigh Court anddirectthe learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Raipur to proceed with the criminal case.Since the matter is pending for long, steps should be taken to expedite the hearing. The appeals are accordingly allowed.

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