Read Judgment: MS. P Xxx Vs. STATE OF UTTARAKHAND & ANR 

Tulip Kanth

New Delhi, June 17, 2022: Asserting that the  Sessions Judge, Chamoli had rightly discharged the accused of the offence under Section 376 IPC for want of territorial jurisdiction, the Supreme Court has opined that one act concerning offence of rape u/s 376 IPC cannot be connected together with other acts leading to offence of insult and intimidation u/s 504/506 IPC to form same transaction  for purpose of trial.

The  Division  Bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Vikram Nath affirmed, “…alleged offence under Section 376 IPC and the other offences under Sections 504 and 506 IPC do not fall within the ambit of one series of acts so connected together as to form the same transaction for the purpose of trial together in terms of Section 220 CrPC.”

The present case had its genesis in the proposed matrimonial alliance by way of engagement of the appellant and second respondent, both being the residents of a Village in Uttarakhand.The allegations of the appellant had been that after their engagement, she was invited by the second respondent to Delhi and was subjected to sexual intercourse by him against her wishes and it was further alleged that the second respondent made a demand of money and refused to marry her when the demand was not met. Later on, he hurled abuses on her and also threatened to kill her. These aspects and other facts/allegations were specified in a complaint filed by the appellant under Section 156(3) CrPC before the Judicial Magistrate First Class who directed the police station concerned to register the First Information Report (FIR).

In view of the directions, the FIR came to be registered and charge-sheet was submitted for offences under Sections 376, 504 and 506 IPC and in view of the involvement of offence under Section 376 IPC, the case was committed to the Court of Sessions Judge, Chamoli. The order passed by the Sessions Judge, Chamoli on the question of framing charge had given rise to the present dispute.The Sessions Judge concluded that the accused was entitled to be discharged in relation to the offence under Section 376 IPC for want of territorial jurisdiction and, in sequel, remitted the matter to the Court of Judicial Magistrate for trial of the remaining offences pertaining to Sections 504 and 506 IPC.

When the Revision Petition was filed before the High Court, the same was dismissed. Thus, the  orders passed by the High Court and the Sessions Judge were in challenge in the present appeal.The main issue in this case revolved around the operation of law, with regard to territorial jurisdiction for the offence pertaining to Section 376 IPC and segregation of charges. The question put before the Bench was if the offence u/s 376 and the other offences under Sections 504 and 506 fall within the ambit of one series of acts so connected together as to form the same transaction for the purpose of trial together in terms of Section 220 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The Bench stated that this issue had been decided by the Sessions Judge against the appellant essentially on the considerations that the place of occurrence of alleged offence of rape was at Delhi, the offence of rape was not a continuing offence and alleged threats given by the second respondent on phone were not constituting such offences as to form a series of acts with the first-mentioned offence of rape.As per the Bench, the acts in question were neither proximate in time nor proximate in place and they were not of continuity either.

Considering that there was no allegation of rape having continued later or having taken place at Chamoli or even any threat having been extended to the appellant to again submit to such an activity, the Bench opined that the completed act concerning one offence (Section 376 IPC) could not have been connected with the other acts leading to other offences.

Affirming that it was difficult to sew the alleged acts together so as to form the same transaction, the Bench said, “To put it in a simple idiom, the two alleged set of acts, one of sexual exploitation, leading to the offence of rape (Section 376 IPC) and another of hurling abuses and threats, leading to the offences of insult and intimidation (Sections 504/506 IPC), are just like chalk and cheese; they cannot be connected together so as to form the same transaction on the facts of this case.”

The Bench also favoured the view of the Sessions Judge that the offence under Section 376 IPC as allegedly committed at Delhi, being different and distinct than the other offences and being not of same transaction, could not have been tried by the Courts at Chamoli.It was also clarified by the Bench that  the accused-second respondent having gone through the trial in relation to offences under Sections 504 and 506 IPC and having been acquitted, couldnot be subjected to another trial for the same charges on the same facts. Any such process would be in blatant disregard of the settled principles which disapprove double jeopardy and are precisely contained in Article 20(2) of the Constitution of India as also Section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, added the Top Court.

Therefor, dismissing the appeal, the Bench held that the alleged offence under Section 376 IPC and the other offences under Sections 504 and 506 IPC did not fall within the ambit of one series of acts so connected together as to form the same transaction for the purpose of trial together in terms of Section 220 CrPC. 

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