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November 11, 2017 at 1:40 pm #3365
what is the jurisdiction for booking the case is it location of office or the location of the assets in disproportionate assets case.
November 11, 2017 at 8:24 pm #3367
Dr. Ashok DhamijaAdvocate
In so far ACB (Anti-Corruption Bureau) is concerned, the practice has been to register the case of disproportionate assets, under Section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, at the place where the accused is posted at the time when the offence is registered, i.e., the place of his office. This is what is the general practice prevalent.
But, if we consider the mandate of law, then it may be pointed out that Sections 177 and 178 of the Criminal Procedure Code mainly deal with the place of inquiry and trial as under:
“177. Ordinary place of inquiry and trial.—Every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed.”
“178. Place of inquiry or trial.—
(a) When it is uncertain in which of several local areas an offence was committed, or
(b) where an offence is committed partly in one local area and partly in another, or
(c) where an offence is continuing one, and continues to be committed in more local areas than one, or
(d) where it consists of several acts done in different local areas,
it may be inquired into or tried by a court having jurisdiction over any of such local areas.”
Thus, an offence is to be tried at a place where the offence was committed, and if it was committed partly at one place and partly at another place (or partly at many other places), then it can be tried at any one of such places.
Now, Section 5(3) of the PC Act lays down as under:
“(3) Save as provided in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), shall, so far as they are not inconsistent with this Act, apply to the proceedings before a Special Judge; and for purposes of the said provisions, the Court of the Special Judge shall be deemed to be a Court of Session and the person conducting a prosecution before a Special Judge shall be deemed to be a Public Prosecutor.”
In view of these reasons, it was held by the Supreme Court in the case of V.K. Puri v. CBI, (2007) 6 SCC 91 : 2007 Cri LJ 2929, that when a particular matter is not covered by the PC Act 1988, in view of sub-section (3) of Section 5 of the 1988 Act, the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure shall clearly be applicable, and thus, provisions of Section 177 and 178 of Cr.P.C. would apply to corruption offences. In this case, the appellant was an officer working in the Customs Department. A case was registered against him under Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 for acquisition of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income in relation to the check period in question. The appellant contended that since he had never been posted in Delhi during the said period, the Delhi Court had no jurisdiction to try his case. The Special Judge as also the High Court rejected the said contention. On appeal, the Supreme Court held as under:
“Each court, where a part of the offence has been committed, would, therefore, be entitled to try an accused. The 1988 Act does not bar application of Section 178 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. If application of the provision of Section 178 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is not barred, the fact that the appellant has a part of his known sources of income at Delhi, in our opinion, would confer jurisdiction upon the Delhi Courts. It is one thing to say that only the Special Courts will have jurisdiction to try the offence, but for the purpose of arriving at a decision as to the Special Judge of which place shall have the requisite jurisdiction, the situs of the property may or may not have any relevance. Once the situs of the property is held to have relevance for the purpose of ascertaining his known source of income and consequent acquisition of disproportionate assets, in our opinion, the Special Judge concerned will also have the requisite jurisdiction to try the case. For the said purpose, purport and object for which the 1988 Act has been enacted must be taken into consideration. The doctrine of purposive construction therefor must be taken recourse to.”
From this judgment, therefore, it would appear that a case of disproportionate assets can be tried at any of the places where his assets / properties are found or where he is posted when the case is registered.
Since, usually, the territorial jurisdiction of the police to register an offence corresponds to the provisions of Section 177 and 178 of the Cr.P.C., therefore, legally speaking, offence of disproportionate assets can be registered by ACB at any of these places, as mentioned above. However, as pointed out by me in the beginning of this reply, the practice in the Anti-Corruption Bureau has been to register the case at the place where he was holding post when the case is registered, even though registration of offence at above-mentioned other place may not be barred under law.
Dr. Ashok Dhamija is a New Delhi based Supreme Court Advocate and author of law books. Read more about him by clicking here. List of his Forum Replies. List of his other articles.
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