(1) Vasanatha krishnaswami has filed a compliant of bigamy against her husband, Krishnaswami, under Section 494, I.P.C. The compliant alleged that she was married validly under the Hindu law sometimes in 1960. Thereafter her husband married a girl called Virija, on 11th November 1964 at Avalur in North Arcot district. The compliant was filed in the court of the Fourth Presidency Magistrate, G. T. Madras, who took the case on files. The complainant's first witness, P.W. I. was examined. He deposed that he was present at the second marriage at Avalur where it was performed under the Hindu rites. At that state a petition was filed by the husband, the accused, stating that the compliant should have been instituted in the court having jurisdiction over Avalur, and not in the City of Madras, and therefore the Presidency Magistrate has no jurisdiction to proceed with the case. S. 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code was relied upon. The learned Presidency Magistrate upheld this technical objection and directed the return of the compliant to the complainant under S. 201 of the Criminal Procedure Code, for being filed in the court of proper jurisdiction. Against this direction, the complainant has filed the present revision case in this court.
(2) It is the complainant's case, supported by her witness, that the alleged second marriage took place outside the Madras City at Avalur in North Arcot district, Section 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, declares that any marriage between two Hindus solemnised after the Act would be void if on the date of such marriage either party had a husband or a wife living and the provisions of Ss. 494 and 495, I.P.C. shall apply. It is clear therefore that the alleged Offence of bigamy was committed on the date of the second marriage, at the place of the second marriage. It is not a continuing offence. The jurisdiction to deal with such an offence will be governed by Section 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which says that every offence shall ordinary be enquired into and tried by the court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction it was committed.
For dealing with civil petitions claiming relief's under the Hindu Marriage Act, Section 19 of the Act gives a wider jurisdiction by conferring it on the court in which the place of marriage is situated, as well as the court having jurisdiction over the place where the husband and the wife resided, or last resided together. But for a criminal offence under Section 17 read with Section 494 or S. 495 I.P.C. there is no such provision enlarging the jurisdiction. Therefore the ordinary rule about jurisdiction prescribed in S. 177 Crl. P. C. has to apply, and the venue of trials is the court having jurisdiction over the place of the second marriage.
(3) Learned counsel for the petitioner referred to well known English case of the Trial of Earl Russell, 1901 A. C. 446 where the House of Lords held that Earl Russell could be tried for bigamy in England for his marriage with a second wife of America; but the concerned offence on that case was under the offence against the Persons Act of 1861 which had a special clause 'Where the second marriage shall have taken place in England or Ireland or elsewhere'. The House of Lords gave the ordinary meaning to the term 'elsewhere' in the above claim and construed it as giving jurisdiction to the court in England to try the offence committed by Earl Russell, in America. But there is no such provision in the Statue for enlarging the jurisdiction of the court of the trial of bigamy under the Indian Law, and as mentioned already, Section 177 Crl P. C. has to be applied in all ordinary cases, where no other provision comes in to modify its application, by way of exception.
(4) learned counsel for the petitioner referred to the Supreme Court decision in Purshottamadas Dalmai v. State of West Bengal, : 1961CriLJ728 . There are observation in the judgment to the effect that Section 177 Crl. P. C. can have exceptions, and that Section 179 to Section 185 and Section 188 do not exhaust them. The Supreme Court in the above case was concerned with extending the exception to a trial where several accused and several offences were clubbed together for joint trial under Section 235 Crl. P. C. They said that the provision 177 Crl. P. C. enlarged the jurisdiction beyond what was provided in Section 177 Crl. P. C. But no such situation has arisen here. I am fortified in my view by the view of Chandra Reddy J. (as he then was) in Venkatarama v. Pushkalammal, : AIR1950Mad823 , where the learned Judge has taken a similar view about the scope of S. 177 Cri. P. C. in regard to the jurisdiction and trial of a case of bigamy.
(5) I therefore hold that the order of the lower court is right and dismiss the revision petition. Any period of time for the presentation implicit in the order of lower court, will stand excused. by reason of the pendency of the revision petition in this court.
(6) Revision dismissed.