SC: Women can now file case under IPC section 498a from the place other than the place of cause of action.
A three judges bench led by the CJI Ranjan Gogoi while deciding a long pending case today overruled its own previous judgement passed in 2012 by a two judges bench.
Supreme Court has held that women driven out of their matrimonial homes because of cruelty can initiate proceedings under section 498A IPC at the place where they have taken shelter or at the place of their parents residence if they are staying there.
Now after the verdict, a case under IPC section 498A can be registered, investigated and prosecuted at the place where the woman has taken shelter (which may also include the women’s parental home).
The bench observed, “The question that primarily arises for consideration is whether a woman forced to leave her matrimonial house on account of acts and conduct that constitutes cruelty can initiate and access the legal process within the jurisdiction of the courts where she is forced to take shelter with her parents“.
The bench while referring the matter, it observed that, “The decisions appear to be in conflict with each other. At any rate the law as stated in the pronouncements remains rather hazy and fluid. That apart, the question that falls for consideration arises very often and is a question of general public importance. The decisions cited at the bar also need to be reconciled and the apparent conflict resolved“.
Advocate Vikram Singh Kushwaha stated in refrence to the judgement said that ,” The territorial jurisdiction in Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is critical for its provisions. According to CrPC, a criminal case can be filed only where the cause of action has arisen.