Sunday, 6 March 2016

Right of wife to prosecute case U/S 498A of IPC v Territorial jurisdiction of court in offence U/S 498A of IPC

There is no dispute at the Bar that Section 498A is a continuing offence. Being unable to bear the alleged cruelty or 'torture, the wife has to go back to her parents place for shelter and in case, she is asked to prosecute her case under Section 498AIPC, at her matrimonial place, in our opinion, it will amount to deprivation of right to prosecute the case as a deserted lady will not be able to prosecute the same properly. The learned counsel for the respondent has referred to the case of Satvinder Kaur v. State (Government of NCT of Delhi) and Anr., reported in (1999) 8 SCC 728. Although the facts of the above case are identical, the matter relates to investigation only and the Apex Court refused to interfere with investigation.
Gauhati High Court
Bina Dey And Ors. vs Pratibha Dey (Baidya) on 10 April, 2003
Equivalent citations: 2003 CriLJ 3618, I (2004) DMC 725, (2003) 3 GLR 16

Bench: P Agarwal


1. Heard Mr. B.C. Das, learned counsel for the petitioners and Mr. S. Dasgupta and Mr. I.A. Talukdar, learned counsel for the respondent.
2. In this revision, under Section 482, Cr.PC, the petitioners have prayed for quashing of the complaint in C.R. Case No. 2035/2000 pending in the court of SDJM, Silchar. This is a complaint under Section 498AIPC filed by the wife. The quashing has been sought mainly on the ground that the court at Silchar has got no jurisdiction to try the matter as at the relevant time the parties were living at Mariani in the District of Jorhat. It is submitted that as the alleged incident of cruelty took place in the District of Jorhat, in view of the provisions of Section 181 Cr.PC, the court at Silchar has got no jurisdiction to try the matter. In support of the submission, learned counsel has placed reliance on a decision of the Delhi High Court in the case of Mohan Lal v. State, reported in 2000 Cri. LJ 3762, wherein the court held that as the alleged act or act of cruelty had taken place in Himachal Pradesh, the court at Delhi where the wife is residing at present, has no territorial jurisdiction to try the offence.
3. The learned counsel for the respondent on the other had placed reliance on a decision of the Allahabad High Court in the case of Vijai Ratan Sharma and Ors. v. State of U. P., reported in 1988 Cri. LJ 1581. Asimilar view was taken by the Rajasthan High Court considering that an offence under Section 498AIPC is a continuing offence. In the case of Jagdish and Ors. v. State of Rajasthan, reported in 1998 Cri. LJ 554, the Hon'ble Rajasthan High Court held as follows :
"7. If repeated demand for dowry is made and harassment is meted out to a woman which may be physical or mental is an act of cruelty. It is not necessary that the husband or his relatives must be present at the time when the housewife is subjected to cruelty. If their act or conduct, omission or commission is of such a nature which results in mental and physical harassment it will amount to an act of cruelty to a woman and it is immaterial that the woman is living at that relevant time at her matrimonial house or at her parents house. The offence under Section 498Ais a continuing offence and if the act of cruelty continues even while, the woman is living at her parents house, the offence is triable by both the Courts in whose territorial jurisdiction the act of continuing offence of cruelty has been committed at matrimonial house or the parents house. In the instant case, prima facie it has been shown that Narayani was subjected to cruelty at her matrimonial home Binjbayala and she was compelled to leave the matrimonial home due to the threats given by the petitioners. It has been further stated that when she was living at her parents house the petitioners insisted on their demand for Rs. One lakh failing which she will have to remain at her parents house. This prima facie at this stage shows that the petitioners continued to cause harassment to Narayani with a view to coerce her to satisfy their unlawful demand, i.e., to compel her to live at her parents house. Therefore, prima facie it appears that she has been subjected to cruelty at Manak Khedi within the definition of "cruelty' given in the explanation ofSection 498AIPC."
4. There is no dispute at the Bar that Section 498A is a continuing offence. Being unable to bear the alleged cruelty or 'torture, the wife has to go back to her parents place for shelter and in case, she is asked to prosecute her case under Section 498AIPC, at her matrimonial place, in our opinion, it will amount to deprivation of right to prosecute the case as a deserted lady will not be able to prosecute the same properly. The learned counsel for the respondent has referred to the case of Satvinder Kaur v. State (Government of NCT of Delhi) and Anr., reported in (1999) 8 SCC 728. Although the facts of the above case are identical, the matter relates to investigation only and the Apex Court refused to interfere with investigation.
5. Considering the provisions of law, we are of the view that the ratio of law laid down by the Allahabad High Court and Rajasthan High Court as quoted above, will be correct question of law. We do not agree with the proposition of law laid down by the Delhi High Court. It is therefore held that in an offence under Section 498AIPC, the place where the wife is forced to take shelter has the jurisdiction to try the offence under Section 498AIPC.

6. In view of the above, we find no merit in this revision petition and the revision petition stands dismissed. The petitioners and the complainant shall appear before the Court of SDJM, Cachar, Silchar on 27.5.2003. Send down the records.
Print Page

No comments:

Post a Comment