Rupali Devi Vs State of Uttar Pradesh and Others
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Criminal Appeal No.71 OF 2012
Rupali Devi Vs State of Uttar Pradesh
Petitioner/Applicant: Rupali Devi
Respondent: State of Uttar Pradesh and ors.
Date of Judgment
9th April 2019
CJI Ranjan Gogoi; Justice L. Nageswara Rao; Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul
In the current case, the petitioner/applicant went to her parental home. She stated that there was cruelty with her in her matrimonial home. Due to the same, she filed an F.I.R. Under Section 498A I.P.C., 1860 in the jurisdiction of her parental home. But no overt act of cruelty or harassment was recorded therein.
Issues raised in Rupali Devi Vs State of Uttar Pradesh :-
In Apex court the main issue raised in this case was: “Whether a woman forced to leave her matrimonial home on account of acts and conduct that constitute cruelty can initiate and access the legal process within the jurisdiction of the courts where she is forced to take shelter with the parents or other family members.”
Fact of Law:
- Sec 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973: –
As per Sec 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 expresses that “every offense shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by Court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed”.
This section states that only the court in whose jurisdiction (locality) the offense was committed. That would have the power to take cognizance of such offense being referred to.
- Section 178 of the Cr.P.C., 1973:- It makes an exception to the “Ordinary rule” as revered in Section 177 by allowing courts in another jurisdiction also. The court can have a trial of a case, where some part of the offense is committed. Additionally, if the offense submitted, continues to occur in other locales which were once committed in its own jurisdiction. Then in such matter court would be competent to try the case of other jurisdiction too.
- Section 179 of the Cr.P.C., 1973:- It provides the court with the power to have jurisdiction over:
- To have a trial of an act where it is committed.
- Also where consequences of such an act being committed.
- A clear definition of the continuing offense was given by the court in the case of State of Bihar v. Deokaran Nenshi [1972 SC]
- In the above-mentioned case, the court states that “A continuing offense is one which is susceptible to the continuance and is distinguishable from the one which is committed once and for all. It is one of those offenses which arises out of a failure to obey or comply with a rule or its requirement and which involves a penalty, the liability for which continues until the rule or its requirement is obeyed or complied with. On every occasion that such disobedience or non-compliance occurs and reoccurs, there is the offense committed. The distinction between the two kinds of offenses is between an act or omission which constitutes an offense once and for all and any act or omission which continues, and therefore, constitutes a fresh offense every time or occasion on which it continues. In the case of a continuing offense, there is thus the ingredient of the continuance of the offense which is absent in the case of an offense which takes place when an act or omission is committed once and for all.”
- Under the scope of Section 498A, the court said that it is necessary to know the effect on the emotional well-being of the spouse by the doings of her husband and his family members. Various courts in its numerous judgments used to define cruelty in both aspects of physical and mental cruelty.
The court has the view of that the mental stress of being driven away from the wedding home. And moreover due to social impact after such an act should be considered. She is usually helpless in returning to a similar house. The emotional stress keeps on damaging the spouse when she leaves the marital home. Aftereffects like seeking shelter in parents’ home, as in Rupali Devi Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh that usually includes brother and her wife. These are some other facts that cause mental cruelty to the victim. Despite the fact that there is no physical cruelty on her by their husband’s side anymore.
Argument Advanced: –
According to the Explanations A and B of Section 498A, I.P.C., 1860 defines cruelty which without any doubt incorporates both mental and physical cruelty on the spouse. Her sufferings at the parental home are indirectly a result and consequence of the cruelty committed on her at her marital home.
The court also stated that “Such consequences, by itself, would amount to distinct offenses committed at the parental home where she has taken shelter.” Such act and its jurisdiction are explained in Section 179 of the Criminal Procedure Code which is material in the current case.
Hence, the court in Rupali Devi Vs State of Uttar Pradesh held that the courts at the locale, where the wife takes shelter after leaving or being driven away from the marital home, by virtue of cruel acts done by the husband or his family members. The court would also have jurisdiction to entertain a complaint alleging commission of offenses under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
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