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K. Ramanujan Nair Vs. S. Sarojini Amma and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1971CriLJ565
AppellantK. Ramanujan Nair
RespondentS. Sarojini Amma and anr.
Cases ReferredM. N. Adhikari v. Food Inspector
Excerpt:
- - in a case like the one before u3 where another court of the same state is said to have jurisdiction, the position is different;.....section 177 is pointed out. the supreme court has pointed out that the jurisdiction of courts for trial of offences is of two kinds, one regarding the power of the courts to try particular kinds of offences and the other what is called territorial jurisdiction. the supreme court has also pointed out that the former type of jurisdiction goes to the root of the matter, and if a court not era. powered to try a particular offence does try it, the entire trial is void, and that such importance is not attached to lack of territorial jurisdiction. the supreme court has pointed out further that territorial jurisdiction is 'a matter of convenience, keeping in mind the administrative point of view with respect to the work of a particular court, the convenience of the accused who will have to meet.....
Judgment:

T.C. Raghavan, J.

1. The criminal revision petition arises in rather special circumstances.

2. The petitioner is the husband and the first respondent the wife. On the allegation that the petitioner married a second time when the marriage between the petitioner and the first respondent was still subsisting, the first respondent filed a complaint against the petitioner Under Section 494 of the Penal Code. The second wife and three others who were said to have abetted the second marriage were also made accused persons. The complaint was filed before the Additional First Class Magistrate's Court, Trivandrum. All the prosecution witnesses were examined; and on 12th September 1989 the Magistrate discharged accused persons 2 to 5 and adjourned the case for defence evidence of the petitioner to 13thFebruary 1970. Thereafter, the petitioner filed a petition questioning the territorial jurisdiction of the Court to try the offence. It was on that petition that the impugned order was passed, the Magistrate holding that the petition was belated and that the Court had jurisdiction to proceed with the trial. The revision petition has been placed before a Division Bench by a learned Judge of this Court since he felt that the question involved was one of importance.

3. Three decisions have been brought to our notice by the counsel appearing in the case. Two of them are decisions of the Supreme Court: Narumal v. State of Bombay A.I.R. 11J6O B C 1329 and Purushottamdas Dalmia v. State of West Bengal : 1961CriLJ728 . And the third decision is the dockion of this Court by Govinda Menon J. in M. N. Adhikari v. Food Inspector, Kunnamkulam Municipality : AIR1965Ker295 .

4. Section 177 of the Criminal P.C., provides that every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the offense was committed. The contention now is that the second marriage, the offence in the present case, was committed within the local limits of the Qailon Court and since the complaint was filed in the Trivandrum Court, the latter Court hag no territorial jurisdiction to try the offence. The Supreme Court has said is Narumal's case that the word 'ordinarily' in Section 177 of the Criminal P.C. means ' except where provided otherwise in the Code'. From this it is contended by the counsel of the petitioner that, since there is no other provision contra in the Code or even in any other law, the proper Court having jurisdiction to try the ease is the Oourt whiob should ordinarily try the case, namely, the Court at Quilon. In the other decision of the Supreme Court the salutary principle behind Section 177 is pointed out. The Supreme Court has pointed out that the jurisdiction of Courts for trial of offences is of two kinds, one regarding the power of the Courts to try particular kinds of offences and the other what is called territorial jurisdiction. The Supreme Court has also pointed out that the former type of jurisdiction goes to the root of the matter, and if a Court not era. powered to try a particular offence does try it, the entire trial is void, and that such importance is not attached to lack of territorial jurisdiction. The Supreme Court has pointed out further that territorial jurisdiction is 'a matter of convenience, keeping in mind the administrative point of view with respect to the work of a particular Court, the convenience of the accused who will have to meet the charge levelled against him and the convenience of the witnesses who have to appear before the Court'. Thua, the Supreme Court has pointed out, Section 177 lays down a rule which does not go to the root of the matter and which does not make the trial by a Court having no territorial jurisdiction a nullity. It is not as if the Additional First Class Magistrate's Court at Trivandrum is lacking in jurisdiction to try a case Under Section 494 of the Penal Code: the lack of jurisdiction is only because the alleged second marriage is said to have taken place outside its territorial jurisdiction, in other words, the Trivandrum Court hag no lack of inherent jurisdiction to try an offence of the kind, but its Jack of jurisdiction is only lack of territorial jurisdiction.

5. In the special circumstances we have already pointed out at the commencement of this judgment, namely, that the petitioner did not take the objection of lack of territorial jurisdiction until the entire prosecution evidence was over and even until four of the five accused persona were discharged, we feel that this ease may be taken out of the expression 'ordinarily' in K 177 of the Criminal P.C. The petitioner has not even alleged that he is prejudiced by the trial being continued before the Court at Trivandrum: in fact, the circumstances pointed out at the bar indicate that the trial of the case in the Trivandrum Court might probably be more convenient to the petitioner.

6. The counsel of the petitioner then relies on she third decision by Govinda Menon J. It may be noted that tbftt was a case where the offence was committed outside the State of Kerala and the trial took place before a Sub-Divisional Magistrate in Kerala, the Magistrate not noting that the offence wa3 committed outside the State. That case must stand on a different footing; and to such a case Section 531 of the Criminal P.C. cannot have any application. In a case like the one before U3 where another Court of the same State is said to have jurisdiction, the position is different; and the decision of Govinda Menon J. cannot apply to such a case.

7. The revision petition is dismissed.


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