1. This is a reference by the Sessions Judge, Central Saurashtra Division, Rajkot, and for the reasons stated therein we accept it.
2. The opponent Prabhaben Amratlal had filed an application under Section 488, Criminal P.C., for maintenance against her husband Vyas Jesukhlal Bhaishanker in the Court of the First Class Magistrate, Rajkot. A preliminary question of jurisdiction was raised that as the parties last resided at Sadakvala Pipalia in the jurisdiction of the First Class Magistrate, Gondal, and where the opponent still continued to reside, the Rajkot Magistrate had no jurisdiction and that the proceedings should have been filed in the Court of the First Class Magistrate at Gondal.
3. The learned Sessions Judge has gone minutely in the case and considered the provisions of Clause (8) of Section 488, which reads as under:
Proceedings under this Section may be taken against any person in any district where he resides or is, or where he last re-sided with his wife, or, as the case may be, the mother of the illegitimate child.
It was contended on behalf of the wife that as both Gondal and Rajkot are within the district of Central Saurashtra, the Rajkot Magistrate had also jurisdiction. The learned Sessions Judge has considered this question care fully and the rulings of the different High Courts on the subject. But the matter appears to us very simple. Section 12, Criminal P.C authorises the Government to appoint as many persons as they think fit, besides the District Magistrate, to be Magistrates of the first, second or third class in any District and the Government or the District Magistrate subject to the control of the Government may, from time to time define local areas within which such persons may exercise all or any of the powers with which they may be respectively invested under the Code. Clause (2) of the Section states that except as otherwise provided by such definition, the jurisdiction and powers of such persons shall extend throughout such district. The Saurashtra Government have in fact prescribed the local limits of the jurisdiction of the First Class Magistrate, Rajkot, as also of the First Class Magistrate, Gondal. The place of residence of the husband which is also the place where the couple last resided was within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the First Class Magistrate, Gondal, and the application under Section 488, Criminal P.C., should have been filed in his Court.
4. We accordingly accept the reference and direct that the proceedings be transferred to the First Class Magistrate, Gondal.