IO lacking territorial jurisdiction is no ground to interfere in investigation under Section 482 CrPC

Bombay High Court: The applicant approached the Court under Section 482 CrPc to quash and set aside the FIR vide Crime No. 338 of 2015, registered at Cantonment Police Station, Aurangabad under Sections 498-A and 323, 504 and 506 r/w Section 34 IPC. The complainant in her FIR lodged at the Cantonment Police Station on 9.10.2015 had alleged that while cohabitation at matrimonial home, she was subjected to maltreatment and harassment by the applicant on account of demand of money as well as domestic cause.

Pursuant to the FIR, setting the criminal law in motion and the IO proceeded to record the statement of witnesses acquainted with the facts of the case. Meanwhile, the applicants approached the High Court praying to quash and set aside the impugned FIR, filed by the complainant contending that the Cantonment Police Station, Aurangabad had no territorial jurisdiction to investigate into the crime as no part of crime was shown committed within its territorial limits  as the alleged offences were shown to be committed at Kandhar and Mumbai.

The Court heard both the parties and examined all the relevant documents and considering the nature of allegations nurtured on behalf of complainant, refused to exercise inherent powers under Section 482 CrPC in favour of the applicants and cited State of Haryana v. Bhajanlal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335, wherein it was held by the Apex Court that the power has to be used sparingly and cautiously. It observed that The inherent powers under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. should be exercised either to prevent abuse of process of any court or otherwise to secure ends of justice but, the  Court has no authority to examine the correctness or otherwise of the allegations as the applicant had contended that the allegations against them were false.

The Court found no force in the argument stating that the FIR deserved to be quashed on the ground of lack of territorial jurisdiction of the Investigating officer. The Court mentioned Sections 154 and 156 CrPC and explained that these provisions grant a statutory right to the police to investigate into the circumstances of any cognizable offence without authority from the Magistrate and this right of police to investigate couldn’t be interfered in exercise of powers under Section 482 of CrPC. The Court further cited Satvinder Kaur v. Sate (Government of NCT Delhi), (1999) 8 SCC 728, in which the Supreme Court had observed that if the investigating officer arrives at the conclusion that the crime was not committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the police station, then FIR can be forwarded to the police station having jurisdiction over the area in which the crime is committed and said that this would not mean that the police officer can refuse to record the FIR just because it requires investigation.

The Court held that at that particular stage, when investigation is in progress, the impugned FIR cannot be quashed and set aside on the alleged ground that, as no part of offence is committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the Police Station where it is filed. The Division Bench dismissed the application saying that it had no authority to interfere in the investigation. [Satish Dharmu Rathod v. The State of Maharashtra, 2017 SCC OnLine Bom 186, decided on 21.02.2017]

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