Vs. State of A.P. Tr. Princl. Sec. & ANR.
J U D G M E N T
ALTAMAS KABIR, J.
Special Leave Petition is directed against the judgment and order dated 27th August,
2008, passed by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad in Criminal Petition
No.3629 of 2008 dismissing the Petition filed by the Petitioner under Section 482
Criminal Procedure Code (`Cr.P.C.' for short) for quashing the proceedings in
Complaint Case No.307 of 2007 pending before the Additional Munsif Magistrate, Addanki.
This case raises certain interesting questions of law and to appreciate the
same, some of the facts are required to be reproduced.
Petitioner, Thota Venkateswarlu, was married to the Respondent No.2, Parvathareddy
Suneetha, on 27th November, 2005, as per Hindu traditions and customs in the Sitharama
Police Kalyana Mandapam, Ongole, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh. At the time
of marriage 12 lakhs in cash, 45 sovereigns of gold and 50,000/- as Adapaduchu Katnam
is alleged to have been given to the Accused Nos.1 to 4, who are the husband, the
mother-in-law and other relatives of the husband. According to the Respondent No.2,
the Petitioner left India for Botswana in January 2006 without taking her along
with him. However, in February, 2006, the Respondent No.2 went to Botswana to join
the Petitioner. While in Botswana, the Respondent No.2 is alleged to have been severely
ill-treated by the Petitioner and apart from the above, various demands were also
made including a demand for additional dowry of 5 lakhs.
On account of such physical
and mental torture not only by the Petitioner/husband, but also by his immediate
relatives, who continued to demand additional dowry by way of phone calls from India,
the Respondent No.2 addressed a complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Ongole,
Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh, from Botswana and the same was registered as
Case (Crl.) No.25 of 2007 under Sections 498-A and 506 Indian Penal Code (`I.P.C.'
for short) together with Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1986, by
the Station House Officer, Medarametla Police Station, on the instructions of the
Superintendent of Police, Prakasam District. Upon investigation into the complaint
filed by the Respondent No.2, the Inspector of Police, Medarametla, filed a charge-sheet
in CC No.307 of 2007 in the Court of the Additional Munsif Magistrate, Addanki,
Prakasam District, under Sections 498-A and 506 I.P.C. and Sections 3 and 4 of
the Dowry Prohibition Act against the Petitioner and his father, mother and sister,
who were named as Accused Nos.2, 3 and 4. The learned Magistrate took cognizance
of the aforesaid case and by his order dated 19th February, 2007, ordered
issuance of summons against the accused.
cognizance taken by the learned Magistrate was questioned by the Petitioner and
the other co-accused before the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Criminal Petition Nos.3629
and 2746 of 2008 respectively and a prayer was made for quashing of the same
under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The High Court by its order
dated 27th August, 2008, allowed Criminal Petition No.2746 of 2008 filed by the
Accused Nos.2 to 4 and quashed the proceedings against them. However, Criminal Petition
No.3629 of 2008 filed by the Petitioner herein was dismissed. The present Special
Leave Petition is directed against the said order of the High Court rejecting the
Petitioner's petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and declining to quash Complaint
Case No.307 of 2007 initiated against him.
submissions made by the learned counsel for the Petitioner before this Court have
raised certain important questions which warrant the attention of this Court.
has been submitted on behalf of the Petitioner that as will appear from the complaint
made by the Respondent No.2 to the Superintendent of Police, Ongole, Prakasam District,
Andhra Pradesh on 22nd March, 2007, no grounds had been made out therein to continue
with the proceedings in India, having regard to the provisions of Section 188
Cr.P.C., which provides as follows :- "188. Offence committed outside
India - When an offence is committed outside India- (a) by a citizen of India, whether
on the high seas or elsewhere; or (b) by a person, not being such citizen, on any
ship or aircraft registered in India. he may be dealt with in respect of such offence
as if it had been committed at any place within India at which he may be found:
Provided that, notwithstanding anything in any of the preceding sections of this
Chapter, no such offence shall be inquired into or tried in India except with the
previous sanction of the Central Government."
counsel urged that Section 188 Cr.P.C. recognizes that when an offence is committed
outside India by a citizen of India, he would have to be dealt with as if such offence
had been committed in any place within India at which he may be found. Learned counsel,
however, laid stress on the proviso which indicates that no such offence could be
inquired into or tried in India except with the previous sanction of the Central
Government [Emphasis Supplied]. Learned counsel submitted that in respect of an
offence committed outside India, the same could not be proceeded with without
previous sanction of the Central Government and that, accordingly, even if any of
the offences was allegedly committed inside India, trial in respect of the same
could continue, but the trial in respect of the offences committed outside India
could not be continued, without the previous sanction of the Central
behalf of the Respondents it was urged that a part of the alleged offences relating
to the Dowry Prohibition Act did appear to have arisen in India, even at the initial
stage when various articles, including large sums of cash and jewellery were
given in dowry by the father of the Respondent No.2. It was submitted that since
a part of the cause of action had arisen in India on account of alleged offences
under Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1968, the learned Magistrate
trying the said complaint could also try the other offences alleged to have been
committed outside India along with the said offences. Reliance was placed on the
decision of this Court in Ajay Aggarwal vs. Union of India & Ors. [(1993) 3
SCC 609], wherein it had been held that obtaining the previous sanction of the
Central Government was not a condition precedent for taking cognizance of offences,
since sanction could be obtained before trial begins.
question which we have been called upon to consider in this case is whether in respect
of a series of offences arising out of the same transaction, some of which were
committed within India and some outside India, such offences could be tried
together, without the previous sanction of the Central Government, as envisaged
in the proviso to Section 188 Cr.P.C.
the complaint made by the Respondent No.2 in the present case, it is clear that
the cases relating to alleged offences under Section 498-A and 506 I.P.C. had been
committed outside India in Botswana, where the Petitioner and the Respondent No.2
were residing. At best it may be said that the alleged offences under Sections
3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act occurred within the territorial jurisdiction
of the Criminal Courts in India and could, therefore, be tried by the Courts in
India without having to obtain the previous sanction of the Central Government.
However, we are still left with the question as to whether in cases where the offences
are alleged to have been committed outside India, any previous sanction is required
to be taken by the prosecuting agency, before the trial can commence.
language of Section 188 Cr.P.C. is quite clear that when an offence is committed
outside India by a citizen of India, he may be dealt with in respect of such offences
as if they had been committed in India. The proviso, however, indicates that
such offences could be inquired into or tried only after having obtained the previous
sanction of the Central Government. As mentioned hereinbefore, in Ajay Aggarwal's
case (supra), it was held that sanction under Section 188 Cr.P.C. is not a condition
precedent for taking cognizance of an offence and, if need be, it could be obtained
before the trial begins. Even in his concurring judgment, R.M. Sahai, J.,
observed as follows :-
"29. Language of
the section is plain and simple. It operates where an offence is committed by a
citizen of India outside the country. Requirements are, therefore, one -- commission
of an offence; second -- by an Indian citizen; and third -- that it should have
been committed outside the country." Although the decision in Ajay Aggarwal's
case (supra) was rendered in the background of a conspiracy alleged to have been
hatched by the accused, the ratio of the decision is confined to what has been observed
hereinabove in the interpretation of Section 188 Cr.P.C.
The proviso to Section
188, which has been extracted hereinbefore, is a fetter on the powers of the investigating
authority to inquire into or try any offence mentioned in the earlier part of the
Section, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government. The fetters,
however, are imposed only when the stage of trial is reached, which clearly indicates
that no sanction in terms of Section 188 is required till commencement of the trial.
It is only after the decision to try the offender in India was felt necessary that
the previous sanction of the Central Government would be required before the
trial could commence.
upto the stage of taking cognizance, no previous sanction would be required from
the Central Government in terms of the proviso to Section 188 Cr.P.C. However, the
trial cannot proceed beyond the cognizance stage without the previous sanction of
the Central Government. The Magistrate is, therefore, free to proceed against the
accused in respect of offences having been committed in India and to complete the
trial and pass judgment therein, without being inhibited by the other alleged
offences for which sanction would be required.
may also be indicated that the provisions of the Indian Penal Code have been extended
to offences committed by any citizen of India in any place within and beyond India
by virtue of Section 4 thereof. Accordingly, offences committed in Botswana by an
Indian citizen would also be amenable to the provisions of the Indian Penal Code,
subject to the limitation imposed under the proviso to Section 188 Cr.P.C.
regard to the above, while we see no reason to interfere with the High Court's decision
to reject the petitioner's prayer for quashing of the proceedings in Complaint Case
No.307 of 2007, we also make it clear that the learned Magistrate may proceed
with the trial relating to the offences alleged to have been committed in India.
However, in respect of offences alleged to have been committed outside India, the
learned Magistrate shall not proceed with the trial without the sanction of the
Central Government as envisaged in the proviso to Section 188 Cr.P.C.
Special Leave Petition is disposed of accordingly.
(SURINDER SINGH NIJJAR)