Premkumar & Ors.
Vs. State of Kerala  INSC 2249 (19 December 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 2088 OF 2008
[Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.)No.3595 of 2008] Premkumar & Ors.
.....Appellants Versus State of Kerala .....Respondent
S.B. SINHA, J :
the deceased was married on 12.09.1998 with the first appellant herein, Dr.
Premkumar at Attingal. They had been residing at Chenkkottah, in the district of
Tenkasi in the State of Tamil Nadu. She committed suicide at her matrimonial
house which is in the State of Tamil Nadu on 14.02.2003. Appellant no.2 herein,
father-in-law of the deceased, informed the Courtallam Police about the said
unnatural death pursuant whereto a case being Crime No.64/2003 under Section
174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) was registered. The body of the
deceased was subjected to inquest by the Sub Divisional Executive Magistrate
and 2 Revenue Divisional Officer, Tenkasi and an enquiry was conducted by the
said officer and a report was submitted before the Deputy Superintendent of
Police, Tenkasi wherein, inter alia, it was stated :
"On the basis of
the inquest conducted, and on the basis of the enquiries made with the husband,
father-in-law, mother-in-law, brothers-in-law, father, mother, brothers and
sisters of the deceased, and on the basis of the evidence adduced by the
reputed locals, and viewing the position and situation of the room in which the
dead body was lying and other circumstances, I come to the conclusion that the
death of Jeeja by hanging is not one due to dowry based cruelty.
I request to make
detailed investigation as to under what circumstances Smt. Jeeja died by
The Inspector of
Police, Courtallam submitted a report before the Sub- collector and Revenue
Divisional Officer stating that Jeeja committed suicide on account of her
mental illness. The investigation pursuant to the report under Section 174,
Cr.P.C. was stopped stating :
"It is truly
evident that Jeeja, knowing that the fact of her mental illness had come to the
knowledge of her husband and parents-in-law, and that despite the homeopathy,
ayurveda and allopathic treatment the mental disease had not subsided, became
mentally depressed and as a result of the mental agony she had undergone she
came to the decision of committing suicide by hanging, and accordingly on
14.2.2003 at 9.00 AM after telling her husband that she would not speak to him,
and after the departure of her husband and father-in-law to the clinic 3 at
9.30 AM, she went to wash and dry the clothes at 10.30 AM and after that she
went into the first room at the upstairs and after locking from inside the box
lock of the wooden plank shutter of the door and placing the key on the table,
and locking from inside of the glass windows on the south, lower and north side
of the said room, she went into the bed room, and after locking the bed room
door from inside, she climbed on the small stool and the cot in the room and
after tying a nylon churidar shawl at the ceiling fan clamp at the roof by a
knot and tying the other end of the shawl around the neck by making a knot by
herself and jumped down from the cot and as a result of hanging the knot around
her throat got tightened and caused suffocation that resulted in her death.
investigation of this case is stopped and further action dropped, and this
final report is submitted."
Father of the
deceased, however, lodged a complaint with the Kadakkavoor Police in the State
of Kerala on or about 04.03.2003 on the basis whereof a First Information
Report (for short, `FIR') was lodged for an offence punishable under Section
304B read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
no.1 was arrested from his residence at Shenkottai (Tamil Nadu) and produced
before Judicial Magistrate First Class, Varkkala. A charge-sheet was filed by
Kadakkavoor Police on or about 13.04.2004.
filed an application under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C.
before the High Court
Kerala, Ernakulam, inter alia, contending that the Kadakkavoor Police Station
in the State of Kerala had no jurisdiction to conduct an investigation in view
of the provision contained in Section 177 of the Cr.P.C. and in any event one
FIR having already been lodged by appellant no.2 herein, the second FIR was not
reason of the impugned judgment, the said application having been dismissed,
the appellants are before us.
K.V. Viswanathan, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellants
would contend :
(i) As the entire
cause of action arose within the jurisdiction of the Police Station Courtallam
in the State of Tamil Nadu, the impugned order cannot be sustained;
(ii) By reason of
insertion of Section 304B of the IPC, a legal fiction having been raised,
before a person can be prosecuted under the said provision all ingredients
thereof must be strictly proved;
(iii) All crime being
local, the provisions of Section 177, Cr.P.C. subject to the exceptions
contained in Sections 178, 179 etc., must ordinarily be followed; and (iv) In
any view of the matter, the second FIR in the State of Kerala was not
P.V. Dinesh, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State of Kerala,
however, would contend that the report made under Section 174, Cr.P.C. cannot
be said to be a First Information Report within the meaning of Section 154
thereof as the same was meant to hold an inquest and submission of a report in
respect thereof by an Executive Magistrate. The learned counsel would contend
that one of the ingredients of an offence under Section 304B of the IPC being
demand of dowry and/or harassment of the deceased by her husband or relatives
of the husband and a part thereof having taken place in the State of Kerala,
the Kerala Police had also jurisdiction to investigate into the said offence.
to make an enquiry and trial is laid down in Chaptaer XIII of Cr.P.C. Section
177 thereof provides that every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and
tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed. Section 178,
however, inter alia, provides 6 that when it is uncertain in which of the
local areas an offence was committed or where an offence is committed partly in
one local area and partly in another or where an offence is continuing one, and
continues to be committed in more local areas than one, it may be inquired into
or tried by a court having jurisdiction over any of such local areas.
word, `ordinarily' occurring in Section 177, Cr.P.C. must be given its natural
meaning. The provisions contained in Section 178 and other provisions would be
attracted when Section 177 cannot be given effect to. These provisions in the
Code governing the field emanate from the doctrine that all crimes are local.
Investigation into a crime, the witnesses who are required to be examined for
the purpose of proving the commission thereof and other relevant factors which
are required to be taken for consideration thereof lead to the aforementioned
inference. For the purpose of finding out in regard to the place, where the
enquiry or trial should be conducted, would be that the offence has taken place
wholly or partly in the jurisdiction of one police station or wholly or partly
in the jurisdiction of another police station and, thus, would depend upon the
fact situation obtaining in each case.
provisions of the Penal Code under which the accused is charged will also play
an important role. Appellants have been charged for commission of an offence
under Section 304B of the IPC. The said provision was inserted by Act 43 of
1986 with effect from 19.11.1986. By reason thereof a new offence was created.
A new procedure for trial has been laid down. The ingredients of the said
offence must be proved for bringing home a charge, namely, that the accused had
killed the deceased for not satisfying his demand of dowry and she was
subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of his for or
in connection with demand for dowry. By reason of the said provision, a legal
fiction has been created. What is, therefore, necessary is that such cruelty or
harassment for or in connection with any demand for dowry must have been made
`soon before her death'. The said words do not lead to fixation of a
time-frame. It will depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case. In
support of the case of the State, Mr. P.V. Dinesh has drawn our attention to
paragraphs 7 and 8 of the First Information Report lodged by the father of the
deceased which is in the following terms :
"7. Three months
after the delivery, the petitioners daughter and child were again taken to
made by the 2nd counter petitioner alleging that the petitioner and the family
members have misappropriated some gold ornaments gifted to the child 8 by
close relatives. Thereafter there were not much communications and the
petitioner was under an impression that things were going on smoothly.
8. During December
2002 the counter petitioners along with the daughter of the petitioner came to
their residence at Trivandrum and stayed there for some days.
During this period,
the counter petitioners again made a demand for sale of the property stands in
the name of the daughter of the petitioner and to hand over the sale proceeds
to them. This demand was negatived by the petitioners daughter and she was
manhandled by the counter petitioners and she was harassed repeatedly and even
she was deprived of food for a day or two in this connection. She could not
with stand the harassment for longer period during last week of January 2003,
the 1st counter petitioner along with Jeeja and child came to the petitioners
residence. She came there agreeing the 1st counter petitioner to discuss this
issue with the petitioner, but ignoring the said agreement, she did not speak
much about the sale of property is sold and the amount is paid to the counter
petitioners. The petitioner advised her to relax and stay here for some days.
The wife of the petitioner was ailing as she underwent an operation and that may
be reason why the demand of the counter petitioners was not exactly disclosed
to the petitioner. While she was staying at the petitioners house she was taken
by the first counter petitioner a week prior to 14-2-03, disregarding the
petitioners request to retain her at the petitioners house."
Court in the case of Vidhya Devi & Anr. v. State of Haryana reported in
(2004) 9 SCC 476 observed as under :
"6. ..... The
expression "soon before" is a relative term which requires to be
construed in the context of specific 9 circumstances of each case and no
hard-and-fast rule of any universal application can be laid down by fixing any
this case nothing happened even a week prior to her death.
torture or harassment had taken place in regard to demand of sale of land in
her favour. However, that may be a subject-matter of proof.
We are making these
observations only for the purpose of disposal of this application.
far as the jurisdiction of Kadakkavoor Police Station vis-`-vis the provisions
of Section 177, Cr.P.C. is concerned, we may notice that in the case of Y.
Abraham Ajith & Ors. v. Inspector of Police, Chennai & Anr.
(2004) 8 SCC 100 this
Court in a case arising under Sections 498A and 406 as well as Section 4 of the
Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 held as under :
crime is local, the jurisdiction over the crime belongs to the country where
the crime is committed", as observed by Blackstone. A significant word
used in Section 177 of the Code is "ordinarily". Use of the word
indicates that the provision is a general one and must be read subject to the
special provisions contained in the code. As observed by the Court in
Purushottamdas Dalmia v. State of W.B. AIR 1961 SC 1589 : (1962) 2 SCR 101,
L.N. Mukherjee v. State of Madras AIR 1961 SC 1601 : (1962) 2 SCR 116,
Banwarilal Jhunjhunwala v. Union of India AIR 1963 SC 1620 : 1963 Supp.(2) 10
SCR 338 and Mohan Baitha v. State of Bihar (2001) 4 SCC 350 exception implied
by the word "ordinarily"
need not be provided
by law on consideration or may be implied from the provisions of law permitting
joint trial of offences by the same court. No such exception is applicable to
the case at hand."
therefore, which is required to be posed was as to whether any part of the
cause of action arose within the jurisdiction of the Court concerned.
Court applied the meaning of the expression `cause of action' to hold :
expression "cause of action" is generally understood to mean a
situation or state of facts that entitles a party to maintain an action in a
court or a tribunal; a group of operative facts giving rise to one or more
bases for sitting; a factual situation that entitles one person to obtain a
remedy in court from another person.
In Black's Law Dictionary
a "cause of action" is stated to be the entire set of facts that
gives rise to an enforceable claim; the phrase comprises every fact, which, if
traversed, the plaintiff must prove in order to obtain judgment. In Words and
Phrases (4th Edn.), the meaning attributed to the phrase "cause of
action" in common legal parlance is existence of those facts, which give a
party a right to judicial interference on his behalf."
identical question recently came up for consideration in the case of Asit Bhattacharjee
v. M/s. Hanuman Prasad Ojha & Ors. 2007(7) SCALE 241 wherein this Court in
the peculiar facts obtaining therein although opined that a part of cause of
action arose within the territorial jurisdiction of the Metropolitan
Magistrate, Kolkata as a larger part arose in U.P. directed as under :
therefore, are of the opinion that interest of justice would be subserved if
this appeal is disposed of with the following directions :
investigation shall be carried out by C.B.C.I.D. of the State of Uttar Pradesh.
Accused/respondents shall surrender before the Chief Judicial Magistrate,
Allahabad and their applications for grant of bail, if any, may be considered
by the said court on its own merits.
accused/respondent shall render all cooperation with the Investigating Officer.
They shall appear before the Investigating Officer as and when directed, if
released on bail.
shall be carried out inter alia on the premise that the jurisdiction to make
investigation shall be subject to the ultimate decision of the Court of the
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Calcutta as if investigations are being carried
out by the C.B.C.I.D. of the State of Uttar Pradesh in continuation of the
investigation made by the Officer-in-charge of the Shakespeare Sarani Police
Station. The Chief 12 Metropolitan Magistrate, Allahabad shall be entitled to
pass appropriate orders from time to time in this behalf.
(v) The Report on
completion of the investigation shall be forwarded to the Chief Metropolitan
Magistrate, Calcutta who shall determine the question of his own jurisdiction
at an appropriate stage.
(vi) This order, it
is made clear, is being passed in exercise of our extra-ordinary jurisdiction
under Article 142 of the Constitution of India. All concerned authorities are
directed to carry out these directions."
recently in the case of Naresh Kavarchand Khatri v. State of Gujarat & Anr.
(2008) 8 SCC 300 this Court directed as under :
Sorabjee, learned Senior Counsel and Mr. Huzffa Ahmadi, appearing for
Respondent 2 in each of the appeals, however, brought to our notice that
charge- sheet has already been submitted. It was contended that proper
investigation has been carried out in the matter and even the
respondent-accused had been taken into custody and, thus, this Court, in a
situation of this nature, should not exercise its jurisdiction under Article
136 of the Constitution of India.
12. Investigation has
been carried out by the officer in charge of Police Station Waghodia only
pursuant to the order of the High Court. If the order of the High Court is to
be set aside, the investigation must be held to have been carried out without
any jurisdiction. We are not herein concerned with the quality of the
investigation but the effect of the order passed by the High Court. We do not
know as to whether (sic the issue of) proper 13 investigation as contended,
has in fact been considered by the court or not.
13. The first
information report was lodged on 23-12- 2006. The High Court appears to have
been approached within a few days, namely, 26-12-2006. The impugned order has
been passed on 28-12-2006. The first information report prima facie shows that
a part of cause of jurisdiction arose within the territorial jurisdiction of
Vadodara Police Station. We fail to understand as to how at such an early
stage, the investigation should have been directed to be transferred, having
regard to the fact that Waghodia Police Station where the "institution"
in question is situated is within the jurisdiction of Vadodara (District) and
is, therefore, not a case where the accused would have been even otherwise
gravely prejudiced in joining investigation.
14. We, therefore,
are of the opinion that it is not a case where we should refuse to exercise
jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. We, therefore, set
aside the impugned orders. Consequently, the charge-sheets filed by Waghodia
Police Station stand set aside. The police officer concerned of Vadodara Police
Station would initiate appropriate investigation in the matter in accordance
with law. Any document collected as also the statements of any witnesses
recorded by the officer in charge of Waghodia Police Station, however, may be
sent to the incharge of Vadodara Police Station."
a case of this nature and following the aforementioned decisions and
particularly in view of the fact that the police at Courtallam, Tamil Nadu had
already been informed, although stricto sensu, the same cannot be construed to
be an FIR within the meaning of provisions of Section 154, 14 Cr.P.C., and,
thus, F.I.R. lodged at Kadakkavoor Police Station was maintainable, we are of
the opinion that the interest of justice would be subserved if the
investigation and consequent trial is transferred to Police Officer in charge
of Courtallam Police Station, Tamil Nadu. All the materials collected by
Kadakkavoor Police Station, Kerala shall be transferred to the officer incharge
of Courtallam Police Station, Tamil Nadu.
The officer incharge
of Kadakkavoor Police Station, Kerala, must ensure that in the event a
charge-sheet is filed and cognizance of offence under Section 304B, IPC is
taken, witnesses who are available within his jurisdiction shall be produced.
We have passed this
unusual order keeping in view the specific defence raised by the appellants
that the deceased had been suffering from some mental illness. However, with a
view that a fair investigation is carried out we would direct that the
Superintendent of Police of the concerned district at Tamil Nadu shall himself
make an investigation and/or cause the same to be made by a highly responsible
appeal stands allowed to the aforementioned extent accordingly.