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Investigating Agency and Court should not be made an instrument to submit to the jurisdiction of a Court which actually has none: Delhi High Court

To harass the other party, the Investigating Agency and Court should not be made an instrument of compelling a party to come to a place far away from his own place, to submit to the jurisdiction of a Court which actually has none was recorded by the Delhi High Court in the case of Ramesh Boghabhai Bhut vs State & Anr. CRL.M.C. 1616/2020 & Crl.M.A. 10307/2020, by the bench comprising of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.

The facts of the case are that since 2009, the Petitioner, through his sole proprietorship has been undertaking the business of fresh/dehydrated onions and garlic and other perishable items export to various countries like Europe, Gulf and rest of Asia. In January 2018, the Complainant’s office, Tiger Logistics, approached the Petitioner and one Mr. Makbul Sheikh- salesman of Tiger Logistics, from his office situated at Veraval, Gujarat met with the Petitioner at the offices of the Petitioner which is also in Gujarat. The Petitioner, based on the transit time of 21 days promised by Tiger Logistics, entered into a sales contract with his customer Sadro SRL, an importer based in Italy. However, to the utter shock and surprise of the Petitioner, the shipment did not reach the Port of Naples within 21 days and the contract was canceled by the buyer in Italy.

The present petition has been filed under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for quashing of FIR No.02/2020 dated 01.01.2020 registered at Police Station North Rohini, Distt. Rohini, New Delhi for the offenses punishable under sections 420/406 IPC. The petitioner submitted that courts in Delhi do not have the jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter. The alleged transaction between the parties and the pursuant action under the transaction took place from the State of Gujarat and nothing objectionable happened in the NCT of Delhi. The FIR can under any circumstances be not registered anywhere in the NCT of Delhi for lack of jurisdiction

The High Court relying on Jai Prakash vs. Dinesh Dayal: (1989) 39 DLT 376 held that:

 “ It is trite that an inquiry and trial with respect of an offense shall be conducted by the Court within whose local jurisdiction occurrence in question is said to have taken place and thereby cause of action has arisen. Section 178 and Section 179 of Cr.P.C. are merely exceptions to this principle enumerated in Section 177, and their scope should not be enlarged on analogous consideration. Ordinarily, the case shall be tried by the Court in whose local limits the offense was committed, which is in the state of Gujarat in relation to the present dispute In addition to the aforesaid, for determination of offenses alleged to have been committed under Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code 1860, Section 181 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 lays down the jurisdiction of such court where “the offence was committed or any part of the property which is the subject of the offence was received or retained.”

In the case in hand, the transaction between the parties in relation to the transaction of goods took place in Gujarat, the invoices were raised by the entity based out of Gujarat and the jurisdiction of such invoices was subject to the court of Gujarat, therefore, applying the direct principles of Section 181, only the court situated in Gujarat can exercise jurisdiction over the alleged criminal breach of trust, if any and quashed the FIR.

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