File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Jurisdiction of Criminal Courts With Respect to Inquiry and Trial


Criminal Law can be classified into Procedural Criminal ad Substantive Criminal Law. The substantive criminal law is constituted by Indian penal Code,1860, Dowry Prohibition Act,1961, etc. while the procedural criminal law is mainly governed by Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as the Code).

There are various functionaries under the Code. These functionaries exercise the powers and duties as mentioned and/or discharged under the Code.
The functionaries are as follows:
  1. The Police
  2. The prosecutors
  3. Defence counsels
  4. Magistrates and Judges of higher Courts
  5. Prison authorities and correctional services personnel

However, the major role is exercised by the Magistrates and the Courts.
The criminal cases are tried by:
  1. The Supreme Court (in cases of appeal mentioned under Section 374 and 379 of the Code),
  2. High Courts (as mentioned under Article 227 of The Constitution of India – Power of superintendence over all courts by the High Court that Every High Court shall have superintendence over all courts and tribunals throughout the territories interrelation to which it exercises jurisdiction.
  3. Criminal Courts (as mentioned under Section 6 of the Code)

Inquiry – According to Section 2(g) of the Code

every inquiry, which does not come under the definition of trial, which is looked into by either the court of a Magistrate, or by any other Court so authorized under the Code Of Criminal Procedure. This means and includes all those proceedings before framing of 'charges.

Hence, it means every inquiry other than a trial which is conducted by a Magistrate or a Court.

Trial – Trial starts when the enquiry stops. In case the nature of an offence is determined to be that of criminal in the inquiry, then a trial starts. Trial helps to determine whether a person is guilty of the alleged offence or not.

Jurisdiction of Criminal Courts

Sections 177 to section 189 under Chapter XIII of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 describe the jurisdiction of criminal courts that is to determine which Court shall try a particular offence.
  1. Section 177 – ordinary place of inquiry and trial

    Every offence shall ordinarily be inquired inland tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed.

    This section states that the offence shall be tried in a Court under whose jurisdiction or territorial limits the offence was originally committed.

    The word used here is ordinarily. It only means except where provided otherwise in the Code or other law; the rule contained in the section shall govern all criminal trials held under the Code including trials of offences punishable under local or special laws.[1]

    Hence the meaning of ordinarily suggests that the section is a general one and is subject to the other special provisions of the Code or any other law.[2]

    The place of inquiry or trial of a particular offence is determined on the basis of the details mentioned under the complaint or the police report which specifies the place of commitment of the crime.
     
  2. Section 178 – Place of inquiry or trial

    1. when it is uncertain in which of several local areas an offence was committed, or
    2. where an offence is committed partly in one local area and partly in another, or
    3. where an offence is a continuing one, and continues to be committed in more local areas than one, or
    4. where it consists of several acts done in different local areas, it may be inquired into or tried by a Court having jurisdiction over any of such local areas.
      1. Uncertain local areas:
        In case where it is uncertain in which are the offence was actually committed then any Court can try the case under whose local jurisdiction the offence is believed to be committed. The local areas here should only mean the areas in which the Code applies and not in some other territory like a foreign country.
      2. Offence partly committed in one area and partly in another:
        In case an offence is partly committed in one area and partly in another then any of the two Courts under whose jurisdiction the offence was committed can try the offence.
      3. Continuing offence:
        Continuing offences can be a conspiracy to commit an offence[3], abduction, etc.
      4. Several acts in different areas:
        In such a case, it can be tried by any Court who has jurisdiction any of those areas.
         
  3. Section 179 – Offence triable where act is done or consequence ensues

    When an act is an offence by reason of anything which has been done and of a consequence which has ensued, the offence may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction such thing has been done or such consequence has ensued.

    Section 179 states than when an offence takes place in the local jurisdiction of one Court but the consequence from such offence occurs in the local jurisdiction of another Court then, the said offence may be tried or inquired in any of the Court under whose jurisdiction either the offence took place or its consequence occurred.

    For example:
    A was illegally operated upon in the local jurisdiction of Court X and died due to ill treatment during the operation in the local jurisdiction of the Court Y then, the offence of Culpable Homicide may be tried or inquired by Court X or Y.
     
  4. Section 180 – Place of trial where act is offence by reason of relation to other offence

    When an act is an offence by reason of its relation to any other act which is also an offence or which would be an offence if the doer were capable of committing an offence, the first-mentioned offence may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction either act was done.

    Section 180 states that the offence which has been committed first must be inquired into or tried, when two acts are done which are connected and are offences in the local jurisdiction of the Court under which it took place.

    Section 180 states that the offence which has been committed first must be inquired into or tried, when two acts are done which are connected and are offences in the local jurisdiction of the Court under which it took place.

    For example:
    A charge of receiving or retaining stolen goods may be inquired into or tried either by the Court within whose local jurisdiction the goods were stolen or by any other court within whose local jurisdiction any of them was at any time dishonestly received or retained.[4]
     
  5. Section 181 - Place of trial in case of certain offences:

    1. Any offence of being a thug, or murder committed by a thug, of dacoity, of dacoity with murder, of belonging to a gang of dacoits, or of escaping from custody, may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed or the accused person is found
    2. Any offence of kidnapping or abduction of a person may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the person was kidnapped or abducted or was conveyed or concealed or detained.
    3. Any offence of theft, extortion or robbery may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed or the stolen property which is the subject of the offence was possessed by any person committing it or by any person who received or retained such property knowing or having reason to believe it to be stolen property.
    4. Any offence of criminal misappropriation or of criminal breach of trust may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed or any part of the property which is the subject of the offence was received or retained, or was required to be returned or accounted for, by the accused person.
    5. Any offence which includes the possession of stolen property may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed or the stolen property was possessed by any person who received or retained it knowing or having reason to believe it to be stolen property.

      Section 181 deals with place of trial of specific offences.
      Section 181(1) deals with the cases where the accused is travelling from one place to another. The jurisdiction is the place where the accused person is found or discovered.
       
  6. Section 182 – Offences committed by letters, etc

    1. Any offence which includes cheating may, if the deception is practised by means of letters or telecommunication messages, be inquired into or tried by any Court within whose local jurisdiction such letters or messages were sent or were received; and any offence of cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the property was delivered by the person deceived or was received by the accused person.
    2. Any offence punishable under section 495 or section 494 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed or the offender last resided with his or her spouse by the first marriage, or the wife by first marriage has taken up permanent residence after the commission of offence.

      In section 182(1), if a person has been cheated by letters, telegrams, etc. by false representation and the victim is deceived to deliver a property at a different place then the offence may be tried or inquired by a Court under whose local jurisdiction the letters were sent or received and where the property was delivered by the victim or where the property was received by the accused.

      Under section 182(2), the offence of bigamy can only be tried or inquired at the place where the offence of bigamy is committee or where the offender last resided or where there is a permanent address of the first wife.
       
  7. Section 183 – Offence committed on journey or voyage

    When an offence is committed, whilst the person by or against whom, or the thing in respect of which, the offence is committed is in the course of performing a journey or voyage, the offence may be inquired into or tried by a Court through or into whose local jurisdiction that person or thing passed in the course of that journey or voyage.

    During a journey or a voyage, it may be difficult to ascertain the exact location where the offence was committed. Therefore, that Court has the jurisdiction to try or inquire the case under whose local jurisdiction the person or thing passed during the journey or voyage.
     
  8. Section 184 – Place of trial for offences triable together Where:

    1. the offences committed by any person are such that he may be charged with, and tried at one trial for, each such offence by virtue of the provisions of section 219, section 220 or section 221, or
    2. the offence or offences committed by several persons are such that they may be charged with, and tried together by virtue of the provisions of section 223, the offences may be inquired into or tried by any Court competent to inquire into or try any of the offences.

      When an accused is being tried under Section 219, 2020 or 221 then the jurisdiction will lie with the Court where any of those offences can be tried according to the abovementioned Sections. Similarly when two or more persons may be charged with and tried together for different offences under Section 223, the prosecution would have similar choice of venue for the trial.[5]
       
  9. Section 185 – Power to order cases to be tried in different sessions divisions

    Notwithstanding anything contained in the preceding provisions of this Chapter, the State Government may direct that any cases or class of cases committed for trial in any district may be tried in any sessions division:

    Provided that such direction is not repugnant to any direction previously issued by the High Court or the Supreme Court under the Constitution, or under this Code or any other law for the time being in force.

    Section 185 states that the State Government shall have the power to direct any case or class of cases in a sessions division. However, this power is said to be an extraordinary power intended to be used only when some consideration of public interest justifies the holding of a sessions trial in a different sessions division.[6]
     
  10. Section 186 – High Court to decide, in case of doubt, district where inquiry or trial shall take place

    Where two or more Courts have taken cognizance of the same offence and a question arises as to which of them ought to inquire into or try that offence, the question shall be decided:
    1. if the Courts are subordinate to the same High Court, by that High Court;
    2.  if the Courts are not subordinate to the same High Court, by the High Court within the local limits of whose appellate criminal jurisdiction the proceedings were first commenced, and thereupon all other proceedings in respect of that offence shall be discontinued.

      If two Courts have taken cognizance over the same offence then according to Section 186(2), the High Court will have the jurisdiction provided that they are subordinate to the same High Court.

      The High Court within whose local limits of appellate criminal jurisdiction the proceedings were first commenced would have jurisdiction to involve powers under Section 186(b).[7] But where the two complaints are different from each other, dates of occurrences are different and some of the accused are also different, Section 186(b) cannot be applied.[8]
       
  11. Section 187 – Power to issue summons or warrant for offence committed beyond local jurisdiction

    1. When a Magistrate of the first class sees reason to believe that any person within his local jurisdiction has committed outside such jurisdiction (whether within or outside India) an offence which cannot, under the provisions of sections 177 to 185 (both inclusive), or any other law for the time being in force, be inquired into or tried within such jurisdiction but is under some law for the time being in force triable in India, such Magistrate may inquire into the offence as if it had been committed within such local jurisdiction and compel such person in the manner hereinbefore provided to appear before him, and send such person to the Magistrate having jurisdiction to inquire into or try such offence, or, if such offence is not punishable with death or imprisonment for life and such person is ready and willing to give bail to the satisfaction of the Magistrate acting under this section, take a bond with or without sureties for his appearance before the Magistrate having such jurisdiction.
       
    2. When there are more Magistrates than one having such jurisdiction and the Magistrate acting under this section cannot satisfy himself as to the Magistrate to or before whom such person should be sent or bound to appear, the case shall be reported for the orders of the High Court.

      According to Section 187, a Magistrate has the power to issue a summon or warrant for offences which haven’t taken place within his local jurisdiction provided that the person is from his local jurisdiction. The power given to a Magistrate under Section 187 if both cognizable as well as non-cognizable offences. This section does not override the provisions of Sections 75 to 81 which deal with the execution of warrants of arrest.[9]
       
  12. Section 188 – Offence committed outside India

    1. When an offence is committed outside India:
      1. by a citizen of India, whether on the high seas or elsewhere; or
      2. by a person, not being such citizen, on any ship or aircraft registered in India, he may be dealt with in respect of such offence as if it had been committed at any place within India at which he may be found:

        Provided that, notwithstanding anything in any of the preceding sections of this Chapter, no such offence shall be inquired into or tried in India except with the previous sanction of the Central Government.

        Section 188 deals with offences committed outside India. If the offences are committed by:
        • An Indian citizen on high seas or elsewhere or
        • By a non-citizen on any Indian registered ship or aircraft then it will be deemed as if the offence was committed in India in whichever place he may be found.
    Here, the term India refers to the territories to which the Code extends according to Section 2(f) of the Code. Section 188 is not governed by Sections 178 to 187. On the other hand, Section 188 controls and governs the provisions contained in Sections 178 to 187.[10]

    Section 188 is to be read with Section 189 which states
     
  13. Section 189 – Receipt of evidence relating to offences committed outside India

    When any offence alleged to have been committed in a territory outside India is being inquired into or tried under the provisions of section 188, the Central Government may, if it thinks fit, direct that copies of depositions made or exhibits produced before a judicial officer in or for that territory or before a diplomatic or consular representative of India in or for that territory shall be received as evidence by the Court holding such inquiry or trial in any case in which such Court might issue a commission for taking evidence as to the matters to which such depositions or exhibits relate.
A victim of an offence which has taken place outside India has the right to approach any India Court to register a case of the said offence.

Conclusion
Whenever an offence is committed, the first most question should be the Court in whose jurisdiction the offence would fall. This is important so that no disputes later on arise between the parties or the Court which is trying the case. Sections 177-189 deal with the concept of jurisdiction of Criminal Courts as we have seen above. Under normal circumstances, the case shall be inquired and tried by a court under whose jurisdiction the offence has been committed according to Section 177.

However, there are instances where two Courts have the jurisdiction to inquire and try the cases. Hence we have Sections 178 to 189 which deal with these special instances. The courts and the parties involved should carefully consider the principles of jurisdiction of criminal Courts as mentioned under Chapter XIII of the Code before initiating the proceedings.

End-Notes:
  1. Narumal v. State of Bombay, 1960 Cri LJ 1674: AIR 1960 SC 1329, 1332
  2. Nikka Singh v. State, 1952 Cri LJ 775: AIR 1952 Punj 186
  3. Abdul Kader v. State, (1964) I Cri LJ 648: AIR 1957 SC 196
  4. Dr. K.N. Chandrashekharan Pillai, R.V. Kelkar’s Criminal Procedure Pg. 208 (Abhinandan Malik, 6th edition 2020)
  5. 41st Report, Volume 1, pp 94-95, para 15.45
  6. 41st Report, Volume I, p. 83, para. 15.10
  7. State of M.P. v. Bahadur Singh, 1984 Cri LJ 1065 (MP)
  8. G. Sreeramulu v. V. Rangaswamy, 1978 Cri LJ 14751476 AP
  9. Sagarmal Khemraj, re, (1941) 42 Cri LJ 205: AIR 1940 Bom 397, 393
  10. T. Fakhrul Khan v. Emperor, AIR 1935 Mad 326

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers



Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


LawArticles

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...

Titile

The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of th...

Whether Caveat Application is legally pe...

Titile

Whether in a criminal proceeding a Caveat Application is legally permissible to be filed as pro...

How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi

Titile

How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Copyright: An important element of Intel...

Titile

The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) has its own economic value when it puts into any market ...

The Factories Act,1948

Titile

There has been rise of large scale factory/ industry in India in the later half of nineteenth ce...

Law of Writs In Indian Constitution

Titile

Origin of Writ In common law, Writ is a formal written order issued by a body with administrati...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online


File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly