1. This is a revision petition file by Petitioners 1 and 2, who are accused 5 and 6 respectively in C. C. No.1752 of 1953 on the file of the City Magistrate, Mysore, praying that the charges framed against them under Section 120-B and 420, I.P.C. may be quashed, on the ground that the City Magistrate, Mysore, has no territorial; jurisdiction to try them and that the evidence-adduced in the case does not warrant a charge-being framed against them.
2. The charges framed against A-5 and A-6 i.e., the Petitioners in this case, are under Sections 120-B and 420, I.P.C. According to the charges framed, these accused along with four others, criminally conspired together at Bombay and Mysore between 21-5-1952 and 11-6-1952 with the common intention of cheating p. W. 2 and that in furtherance of that common intention they dishonestly induced P. W. 2 to go to Bombay and made him part with a sum of Rs. 15,992/- after making him believe that a loan of Rs. 4,00,000/-would be granted to him, all along knowing full well that no such loan would be granted.
3. The contention urged on the side of the Petitioners is that they are residents of Bombay, that they are not parties to the offence of conspiracy under Section 120-B, I. p. c. which is alleged to have taken place in Mysore, that the offence of alleged cheating has admittedly taken place in Bombay and that under these circumstances the Courts in Mysore have no territorial jurisdiction to try these petitioners.
Section 177, Cr. P.C. was relied on in support of this contention. As against this contention the learned Assistant Advocate-General agreed that the alleged conspiracy commenced in Mysore and was completed in Bombay, that the offence under Section 420, I.P.C. took place in pursuance of the conspiracy mentioned above and that, there-tore, the Court of the City Magistrate, Mysore, had jurisdiction, and reliance was placed on Section 182 Criminal P.C.
4. Section 177, Criminal. P.C. runs thus 'Every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction it was committed.' This section is a general section which of course, has to be read subject to the provisions of the succeeding sections. The use of the word 'shall' indicates the mandatory nature of the provision, and all offences which do not come within the special provisions under the exceptions provided by the Code should be tried by a Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the offence is committed.
No doubt, under Section 182 Criminal P.C. in certain cases, an offence committed in one place may be tried in another. The circumstances under which that can be done are enumerated in the section itself, and they are:
(1) when it is uncertain in which of the several local areas an offence was committed;
(2) when an offence is committed partly in one local area and partly in another;
(3) where an offence is a continuing one and continues to be committed in more local areas than one, or
(4) where the offence consists of several acts done in different local areas.
In those cases, the offence committed may be Inquired into or tried by a Court having jurisdiction over any of such local areas. Therefore the point that arises for consideration in this case is as to within the jurisdiction of which Court or Courts the offences with which the petitioners are charged, have taken place. The City Magistrate in Mysore will have jurisdiction to try the petitioners-accused 5 and 6, only if the offences complained of or any portion of them are committed within the local jurisdiction of his Court.
5. It is common ground that these petitioners are residents of Bombay and that they never set their foot on the soil of this State untill they were produced before the Court of the learned City Magistrate under a warrant issued *y him. It is also conceded that the offence of .cheating took place in Bombay. The offence of cheating may be tried either at the place where the cheating was actually committed or at the place where the loss ensued.
In this case, both these have admittedly taken place in Bombay. Therefore, so far as the offence under Section 420, I.P.C. is concerned, it is only the Court of Bombay that will have jurisdiction to try these petitioners and the Courts in Mysore cannot have jurisdiction to try the petitioners who are permanent residents of Bombay, for offences alleged to have been committed in Bombay itself. So the other point, whether the offence of alleged conspiracy as against these petitioners can be tried in Mysore, will have to be considered.
6. There does not appear to be any truth or substance in the contention of the learned Assistant Advocate-General that the conspiracy started in Mysore and was completed in Bombay. The evidence adduced in the case does not warrant that conclusion. The case for the prosecution appears to be that accused 1 to 4 conspired together at Mysore and that, in pursuance of that conspiracy, they joined accused 5 and 6 at Bombay and cheated P. Ws. 1 and 2.
That this is so can easily be fathered from the evidence of P. Ws. 1 and 2 and their conduct. They are the persons who are actually cheated. Exhibit P-1l is the complaint given by P. W. 1 to the Hon'ble Home Minister to the Government of Mysore. This is dated 6-8-1952.
We do not find the names of the petitioners in this complaint petition. The prayer therein is that the Police may be directed to take action against H. V. R. Iyengar and Krishnappa, who are accused 1 and 3 respectively in this case, and who are residents of Mysore. Even earlier to this petition, the same P. W. 1 gave a petition as per Ex. P-12 to the Commissioner of Police, Bombay, on 1-7-1952.
In Ex. P-1l the Hon'ble Home Minister was requested to take action as against A-1 and A-3 and in Ex, p-12 the Commissioner of Police was requested to take action against A-5 and A-6 who have been living in Bombay. Prom a reading of these petitions and the evidence of P. Ws. 1 and 2, it will be clear that they too believed that the Mysore authorities had no jurisdiction to take action against A-5 and A-6.
7. To sustain a charge under Section 120-B, one of the essential ingredients that the prosecution should establish is that there was an agreement between one or more persons to do an illegal act or a legal act by an illegal means. There can be no conspiracy without an agreement in this behalf. No doubt, it is true that direct evidence in proof of conspiracy is seldom available and even when available it will be tainted, being that of an accomplice and requires corroboration.
Generally conspiracy is a matter of inference to be deduced from the criminal acts committed by the accused. Acts and declarations of conspirators in the furtherance of the common design on anything said or done or written by any one of such persons in reference to their common intention and the evidence of conduct of the accused and the surrounding circumstances, both before and after the commission of the offence, may be given in evidence to support or prove the offence of conspiracy.
8. In the present case, the evidence on the prosecution side has been over: the evidence adduced does not in any way connect the petitioners with the conspiracy that is alleged to have taken place in this case. The evidence of P. Ws. 1 and 2 goes to show that the conspiracy took place at Mysore among the other accused viz. A-1 to A-4.
As admitted by them, A-5 and. A-6 did not come to Mysore at all.
There is neither oral nor documentary evidence to connect these petitioners with the conspiracy in any manner. There is no force in the contention that the conspiracy also took place in Bombay. The charge itself is that P. W. 2 was dishonestly induced to go to Bombay in pursuance of the conspiracy that was hatched.
Further the evidence of P. Ws. 1 and 2 goes to disclose that none of the other accused mentioned the name of A-6 as the financier or the name of A-5 as the legal adviser of A-6 before they went to Bombay and that it is only after accused 1, 2 and 3 went to Bombay that a-6 was introduced as the financier who directed them to his legal adviser A-5.
When that is so, it is Impossible to believe that the petitioners could have had anything to dc with the conspiracy that is alleged to have taken place in Mysore. As pointed out already, there is not even an iota of evidence, oral or documentary, to connect these petitioners with the alleged conspiracy.
I am of opinion that the learned City Magistrate, Mysore, has no jurisdiction to try the present petitioners for the alleged offences. Section 182, Criminal P.C. is of no avail to the learned Assistant Advocate-General. None of the conditions laid down therein can be made applicable to the facts of the present case. Ordinarily this Court will be very reluctant to interfere with interlocutory orders in criminal cases, more so in quashing charges framed by the lower Courts.
It is only in cases where there is absolute paucity of evidence in support of the charge framed that a charge can be quashed and in which event the High Court will certainly interfere. It appears to me that it is not expedient in the interests of justice to continue these proceedings against these petitioners which, to my mind, appear to be quite illegal.
9. In the result, this petition is allowed, and the charges framed against the present petitioners under Sections 120-B and 420, I.P.C. are quashed and I direct that the proceedings against these petitioners be dropped. The petitioners who are stated to be undertrial prisoners in the Mysore Sub-Jail are directed to be released forthwith.