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T.N. Venkataraman and ors. Vs. Pushkalammal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Misc. Petn. No. 3181 of 1949
Judge
Reported inAIR1950Mad823; (1950)IIMLJ171
ActsMadras Hindu (Bigamy Prevention and Divorce) Act, 1949 - Sections 4; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 177
AppellantT.N. Venkataraman and ors.
RespondentPushkalammal
Appellant Advocate G.M. Alagirisami, Adv.; for S. Ramachandra Aiyar, Adv.
Respondent Advocate G. Gopalaswami, Adv ;Assistant Public Prosecutor
Cases ReferredRamnarain v. Emperor
Excerpt:
criminal - jurisdiction - section 4 of madras hindu (bigamy prevention and divorce) act, 1949 and section 177 of criminal procedure code, 1898 - in view of precedent it is only court within whose jurisdiction offence of bigamy committed could try accused charged with that offence - residence of offender does not confer jurisdiction upon court to try offence that took place outside its jurisdiction. - .....at the time of the second marriage void. but it does not provide for the venue of the trial of the offence committed thereunder nor is there any other provision in the act which deals with the jurisdiction of courts to try offences committed under the act. we have therefore to turn to the provisions of the criminal procedure code for this purpose.3. the relevant provisions of the code which deal with the jurisdiction of courts to try offences are contained in chap. xv of the code. section 177 of the code provides that 'every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction it was committed.' the only other section relevant for the purpose of this case is section 188 which is in the following words:'when a subject of an indian.....
Judgment:

Chandra Reddi, J.

1. This petition raises a question relating to jurisdiction of the First Additional First Class Magistrate of Trichinopoly to try an offence under Section 4 of Madras Act, VI [6] of 1949 said to have been committed at Trivandrum. The complainant is the first wife of accused 1, accused 4 being his second wife while accused 2 and 3 are his paternal uncle and aunt respectively. The first wife filed a complaint in the Court of the First Additional First Class Magistrate alleging that accused 1 married her on 25th May 1942, that ha subsequently abandoned her and married accused 4 who belongs to Travancore State at Trivandrum on 30th June 1949 and thereby committed an offence under Section. 4 of the said Act and that accused 2 and 3 abetted accused l and 4 in the commission of the said offence.

2. The petitioners herein raised an objection before the trial Magistrate that he had no jurisdiction to try the case as the offence of bigamy is alleged to have been committed at Trivandrum. This objection was overruled by the trial Magistrate on the ground that the case falls within the exception to the general rule that every offence shall ordinarily be enquired into and tried by the Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction it was committed. Section 4 of Act VI [6] of 1949 reads thus:

'Notwithstanding any rule of law, custom or usage to the contrary, any marriage solemnised after the commencement of this Act between a man and woman either of whom has a spouse living at the time of such solemnisation shall be void, whether the marriage is solemnised within or outside the Province of Madras.'

This section declares the second marriage of a man or woman either of whose spouse is living at the time of the second marriage void. But it does not provide for the venue of the trial of the offence committed thereunder nor is there any other provision in the Act which deals with the jurisdiction of Courts to try offences committed under the Act. We have therefore to turn to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code for this purpose.

3. The relevant provisions of the Code which deal with the jurisdiction of Courts to try offences are contained in chap. XV of the Code. Section 177 of the Code provides that 'every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction it was committed.' The only other section relevant for the purpose of this case is Section 188 which is in the following words:

'When a subject of an Indian State commits an offence at any place without and beyond the limits of India or ..... provided that (notwithstanding anything in any of the preceding sections of this Chapter) no charge as to any such offence shall be inquired into in India unless the Political Agent, if there is one, for the territory in which the offence is alleged to have been committed, certifies that, in his opinion, the charge ought to be inquired into in India; and, where there is no Political Agent, the sanction of the (appropriate Government) shall be required.'

Obviously this section has no application to the ease under reference because it is not the case of the prosecution that the requisite certificate under this proviso has been obtained for inquiring into the offence at a place other than the one where the offence was committed.

4. So I have to consider only the applicability of Section 177 of the Code to this case. The only question that falls to be decided is whether the expression 'ordinarily to be inquired into' implies that under certain extraordinary circumstances the Court has jurisdiction to try offences which are not committed within its cognizance.

5. This expression has been the subject of several judicial decisions both of this Court and of the other High Courts. In Mt. Bhargavatia v. Emperor, : AIR1925Pat187 the accused was committed to sessions to take his trial for an offence under Section 494 in respect of a marriage that took place outside the territorial jurisdiction of that Court. In an application to quash the committal order a Bench of the Patna High Court, laying down the principle that the proper Court to try a charge of the offence of bigamy is the Court within whose jurisdiction the offence was committed, set aside the order of committal. This ruling was followed in Emperor v. Govardhan Ridkaran : AIR1928Bom140 which laid down that the word 'ordinarily' in Section 177 must be taken to mean 'except in the cases provided hereinafter to the contrary'. To the same effect is the ruling in Ramnarain v. Emperor, : AIR1937Bom186 . The charge against the accused in the cited case was that he took or enticed away one Ranganayaki whom he knew to be a married woman from her lawful guardian from the Madras Presidency with the intent specified in Section 494, retained her at Bombay with the same intent and committed adultery. Their Lordships agreed with the contention raised on behalf of the accused that the taking and enticing, if there was any, took place in Madras Presidency and the Magistrate in Bombay had no jurisdiction to try the offence and interpreted the word 'ordinarily' in Section. 477 as except otherwise provided for in this Code.

6. Coming to our own Court, in In re Kochunni Elaya Nair, 45 Mad. 14 : A. I. R. 1922 Mad. 215 : (1922) Cri. L. J. 490 it wag observed at p. 18 by Spencer J. who was one of the members of the Bench as follows :

'The ordinary rule as to jurisdiction is that it is the area within which the offence is committed and not the place where the offender may be found that determines the Court which has jurisdiction to try the offence. See Section 177, Criminal P. C.' It must be observed that there are no special provisions as to the trial of offences in the Code under Section 494. As I have already stated, Madras Act VI [6] of 1949 does not make any provision for the trial of offences committed under the Act. In In re Verghese : AIR1947Mad352 , it was laid down by Yabya Ali J. that an offence of criminal breach of trust by sub-pledging the jewels in a Native State by a pledgee of British India can only be tried in that Native State and the British Indian Court would get jurisdiction to try that charge only when it is certified by the Political Agent of the State or other prescribed authority as laid down by Section 188 of the Code.

7. The same principle is reiterated in Antony D' Silva, In re : (1948)2MLJ132 . In that case certain persons of South Kanara District were charged under Section. 420, Penal Code, for selling to a resident of Travancore some lottery tickets and thereby inducing the buyer of the tickets to part with money without running a lottery. It was laid down by the learned Judges (Happell and Govindarajachari JJ.) that the accused parsons should be tried only in the Travancore State where the purchaser was deceived and made to part with his money and therefore the offence of cheating committed.

8. I express my respectful agreement with the principle laid down in the decisions referred to above and hold that it is only that Court within whose jurisdiction the offence of bigamy was committed that could try the accused charged with that offence and that the residence of the offender does not confer jurisdiction upon a, Court to try an offence that took place outside its jurisdiction.

9. In this case admittedly the marriage took place at Trivandrum, capital of Travancore State, which is outside the jurisdiction of the First Additional First Class Magistrate of Tri chinopoly.

10. I therefore hold that that Court has no jurisdiction to try accused 1 and 4 who are alleged to have committed the offence of bigamy under Section 4, Madras Act, VI [6] of 1949. Hence the proceedings against accused 1 and 4 are quashed.

11. As regards accused 2 and 3 who are charged with abetment of the offence of bigamy. We have no evidence as to the place and nature of abetment committed by them, as, so far, no evidence has been taken. I do not therefore propose to quash the proceedings against accused 2 and 3. They will take their trial for the offences charged.


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