A bench comprising justices Altamas Kabir, Cyriac Joseph and S S Nijjar rejected the plea of NRI Thota Venkateswarlu that the trial court in Andhra Pradesh cannot take cognisance of a complaint of harassment, dowry demands and criminal intimidation lodged by his wife, as the couple were living in Botswana.
The NRI's wife Parvathareddy Suneetha returned fromBotswana and lodged the complaint with the police which filed a charge sheet in the court of the additional munsif magistrate, Addanki, Prakasham district against her husband and other relatives.
The apex court said, "The language of Section 188 CrPC is quite clear that when an offence is committed outside India by a citizen of India, he may be dealt with in respect of such offences as if they had been committed in India.
"The proviso, however, indicates that such offences could be inquired into or tried only after having obtained the previous sanction of the central government."
Justice Kabir said Section 188 is a fetter on the powers of the investigating authority to inquire into offence to the extent that it can be done only with the previous sanction of the central government.
"The fetters, however, are imposed only when the stage of trial is reached, which clearly indicates that no sanction in terms of Section 188 is required till commencement of the trial.
"It is only after the decision to try the offender in India was felt necessary that the previous sanction of the central government would be required before the trial could commence."