High Courts, Sessions Courts can grant anticipatory bail to accused even if FIR registered in another State: Supreme Court

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Priya Indoria Vs State of karnatak , SC as on 20 November 2023

48. Another issue that calls for reiteration is, whether, the ordinary place of inquiry and trial would include the place where the complainant-wife resides after being separated from her husband. The position of law regarding the ordinary place of investigation and trial as per Section 177 of the CrPC, especially in matrimonial cases alleging cruelty and domestic violence, alleged by the wife, has advanced from the view held in the case of State of Bihar vs. Deokaran Nenshi, (1972) 2 SCC 890; Sujata Mukherjee (Smt.) vs. Prashant Kumar Mukherjee, (1997) 5 SCC 30; Y. Abraham Ajith vs. Inspector of Police, Chennai, (2004) 8 SCC 100, Ramesh vs. State of T.N. (2005) 3 SCC 507; Manish Ratan vs. State of M.P., (2007) 1 SCC 262 that if none of the ingredients constituting the offence can be said to have occurred within the local jurisdiction, that jurisdiction cannot be the ordinary place of investigation and trial of a matrimonial offence. A three judge Bench of this Court has however clarified in Rupali Devi vs. State of U.P., (2019) 5 SCC 384 (Rupali Devi) that adverse effects on mental health of the wife even while residing in her parental home on account of the acts committed in the matrimonial home would amount to commission of cruelty within the meaning of Section 498A at the parental home. It was held that the Courts at the place where the wife takes shelter after leaving or being driven away from the matrimonial home on account of acts of cruelty committed by the husband or his relatives, would, depending on the factual situation, also have jurisdiction to entertain a complaint alleging commission of offences under Section 498-A of the IPC.

49. Applying Rupali Devi, in view of the fact that the complainant[1]wife herein claims to have received death threats and harassment over the phone even after her return to her parental home in Chirawa, Rajasthan the ordinary place of trial may be Chirawa. But in the present case by the impugned orders, the accused-husband and his family members were granted extra-territorial anticipatory bail without issuing notice to the investigating officer and public prosecutor in Chirawa Police Station, Rajasthan wherein the appellant had lodged the FIR. In view of the facts and circumstances of the present case and the conclusion to the points considered hereinabove, we allow and dispose of these appeals in the following terms:

a. The impugned orders of the learned Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge Bengaluru City do not take note of respondent No.2 at all for allowing Criminal Misc. Nos. 3941/2022, 3943/2022, 3944/2022 and 3945/2022.

b. The impugned orders are hence set aside.

c. However, in the interest of justice, it is directed that no coercive steps may be taken against the accused for the next four weeks, to enable them to approach the jurisdictional Court in Chirawa, Rajasthan for anticipatory bail.

d. It is also directed that in case applications under Section 438 of CrPC are made before the Court of Session in Chirawa or the High Court of Rajasthan, the same shall be decided expeditiously and on their own merits.

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