Section 188 of Cr.P.C. is reproduced below:
“188. Offence committed outside India.— When an offence is committed outside India—
(a) by a citizen of India, whether on the high seas or elsewhere; or
(b) by a person, not being such citizen, on any ship or aircraft registered in India,
he may be dealt with in respect of such offence as if it had been committed at any place within India at which he may be found:
Provided that, notwithstanding anything in any of the preceding sections of this Chapter, no such offence shall be inquired into or tried in India except with the previous sanction of the Central Government.”
It is quite obvious from the above section that it is NOT confined ONLY to cases in which government servants are involved while discharging their duties. Section 188 is applicable when an offence is committed outside India, “by a citizen of India…” or “by a person, not being a citizen of India, …”. Therefore, these provisions are wide enough to take into their cover various categories of persons even other than government servants.
The previous sanction under S. 188 Cr.P.C. is required to be accorded by the Central Government, which basically means the President of India, in view of the provisions of Article 77 of the Constitution of India. Now, under clause (3) of Article 77 of the Constitution, “rules of business” have been framed by the President of India in the form of the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, which being the statutory rules govern as to how the business of the Government of India has to be transacted by various Ministries, Departments, etc. Under clause (c) of Rule 3(3) of the said Rules, where sanction for the prosecution of any person (other than Government servants or other public servants) for any offence is required to be accorded, it has to be accorded by the Department which administers the Act under which the alleged offence is committed. It is pertinent to submit that in your case, since you appear to be a private person, therefore, above clause (c) will be applicable.
In your case, the case is of Section 498-A of IPC. And, the IPC is administered by the Ministry of Home Affairs (Department of Internal Security) of the Government of India. Therefore, the sanction for prosecution under Section 188 Cr.P.C. will be required from the Secretary of the above Ministry / Department.
This sanction is required to be obtained by the police agency which conducted the investigation into the case. Such sanction is required to be attached with the charge sheet.
If the charge sheet does not contain such sanction under Section 188 Cr.P.C., and if the offence had taken place outside India but coming within the meaning of Section 188 Cr.P.C., then the trial court cannot begin the trial in the absence of such sanction. Therefore, you are well within your rights to challenge the absence of the sanction and to get the case quashed from the appropriate court.