30% OFF on all Law Courses until 10th of July. Enroll Now. Use Code: July30
LCI Learning

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More

The Reasonable Determination Of Whether Two Or More Acts Constitute The Same Transaction For A Joint Trial Under Section 220 CRPC Depends On Elements Like Proximity Of Time, Unity, Or Place; Continuity Of Action And Community Of Purpose Or Design

Shvena Neendoor ,
  23 June 2022       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
Criminal Appeal No. 903 Of 2022 (Arising out of SLP (CRL.) No. 6548 of 2019)

Case title:
Ms. P XXX Vs State of Uttarakhand and Anr.

Date of Order:
16th June 2022

Bench:
Hon’ble Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Hon’ble Justice Vikram Nath

Parties:
Appellant- Ms. P XXX
Respondent- State of Uttarakhand and Anr.

SUBJECT

The case relates to the operation of law, with regard to territorial jurisdiction for the offence pertaining to Section 376 IPC and segregation of charges. The court examined the appeal with reference to the question as to whether the said offence by the Respondent under Section 376 IPC and the other offences under Sections 504 and 506 IPC fall within the ambit of ‘one series of acts so connected together as to form the same transaction.

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS

  • Section 220, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973- This section provides for a trial for more than one offence. It states that if, in one series of acts more offences than one is committed by the same person, he may be charged with, and tried at one trial for, every such offence.
  • Section 184, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973- The section elaborates on the place of trial for offences that are triable together. It states if the offences committed by any person are such that he may be charged with and tried at one trial for, each such offence by virtue of the provision of section 220, the offences may be inquired into or tried by any Court competent to inquire into or try any of the offences.
  • Section 461(1), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973- The section lays down the different irregularities that would vitiate a proceeding if any Magistrate not empowered by law committed so.
  • Section 218, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973- The section talks about separate charges for distinct offenses. It states that each distinct offence of which any person is accused shall have a separate charge, and every such charge shall be tried separately, unless the Magistrate is of a separate opinion.
  • Section 376, Indian Penal Code, 1860- This section lays down the various punishments for the offense of rape.
  • Section 504, Indian Penal Code 1860- The section lays down the punishment for intentional insults with the intention to provoke a breach of peace.
  • Section 506, Indian Penal Code 1860- The section elaborates on the types of criminal intimidations and their respective punishments.

OVERVIEW

  • The Appellant and Respondent 2 were engaged to be married, at their village in District Chamoli. Following their engagement, the Appellant went to visit the Respondent in Delhi at his invitation. She alleged that during her visit in February 2016, she was subjected to coerced sexual intercourse by the Respondent.
  • She further alleged that the Respondent thereafter, made a demand of money and refused to marry her when the demand was not met. He hurled abuses at her and made threats to her life.
  • 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. After the investigation, a chargesheet was submitted before the Court of Judicial Magistrate First Class for offences under Sections 376, 504 and 506 under the Indian Penal Code.
  • The order passed by the learned Sessions Judge, Chamoli on the question of framing charge has given rise to the present dispute. The judge discharged the Respondent in respect to the offence under Section 376 IPC for lack of territorial jurisdiction. A revision petition was filedbefore the Uttarakhand High Court, which was dismissed. Subsequently, the offences under Section 506 and 504 were tried by the Court of Judicial Magistrate First Class and the Respondent was acquitted.

ISSUES RAISED

Whether the offences under Sections 376, 504 and 506 IPC, formed 'one series of acts so connected together as to form the same transaction' as per the conditions laid down in Sections 220 and 184 CrPc for the purpose of a joint trial?

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT

  • The counsel for the Appellant argued that the accused-Respondent had wrongly been discharged of the offence under Section 376 IPC without the learned Sessions Judge appreciating that the offences forming the part of the same transaction could not have been segregated on the ground of want of territorial jurisdiction.
  • The counsel referred to Sections 178 and 179 with Section 220 CrPC which emphasized that in the instant case, the offences pertaining to Sections 376, 504 and 506 IPC formed the part of the same transaction and their segregation, as ordered by the learned Sessions Judge in the order had resulted in miscarriage of justice.
  • The counsel relied upon the decision in the case of Satvinder Kaur v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi) and Anr. regarding their stance on segregation due to territorial jurisdiction.
  • It was further argued that the Appellant had a regular and consistent stance on being subjected to forcible sexual intercourse by the Respondent on the threat of ending the matrimonial alliance. Section 90 IPC was also referred to when submitting that the consent given by the Appellant for having a physical relationship under fear or misconception could not have been treated as a valid consent.
  • It was averred that even following the presumption provided by Section 114A of the Evidence Act, 1872, the Respondent ought to face trial for the offence under Section 376 IPC. A decision of this Court in the case of State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh and Ors. was also referred to regarding the value and worth attached by the Courts to the assertions of a victim of a sexual offence.
  • The Appellant submitted that the trial for offences under Sections 504 and 506 IPC, where the accused was acquitted by the order of the court, must be quashed as the trial had taken place before the Judicial Magistrate only due to segregation of the said offences with the offence under Section 376 IPC, which would be triable only by the Court of Sessions. The counsel argued that, by setting aside the order of segregation, the entire matter deserved to be put to trial for the offence under Section 376 IPC along with the offences under Sections 504 and 506 IPC.
  • The counsel for the Appellant proceeded to point out that the High Court had erroneously recorded the accused as acquitted of the offence under Section 376 IPC, without appreciating that it had not been a case of acquittal in terms of Section 232 CrPC but had been a case of discharge in terms of Section 227 CrPC.

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT

  • The counsel for the State contended that the trial conducted by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Gairsain, District Chamoli in relation to the charges under Sections 504 and 506 IPC after segregation of the charge under Section 376 IPC should stand vitiated in terms of Clause (l) of Section 461 CrPC. Hence, according to the learned counsel, de novo trial of the accused under Sections 376, 504 and 506 IPC was required to be conducted by the Court of Sessions Judge, Chamoli.
  • It was submitted that in terms of Section 218 CrPC, the learned Sessions Judge, Chamoli had rightly ordered for separation of charge in relation to Section 376 CrPC and had rightly not proceeded with the same as the alleged occurrence of the offense had taken place at Delhi and not Chamoli.
  • It was further contended that in the present case, the learned Sessions Judge rightly took into account the fact that though the Appellant and the Respondent got engaged at their native place in District Chamoli, Uttarakhand but, the alleged incident of physical relationship or sexual intercourse occurred only at Delhi in the tenanted premises of the Respondent. Thus, the offence under Section 376 IPC had rightly been segregated and the Respondent had rightly been discharged on account of lack of territorial jurisdiction of the Courts at Chamoli in relation to the said offence.
  • It was also argued that even in relation to Sections 178 and 179 CrPC, the evidence collected during investigation made it clear that the alleged offence under Section 376 IPC had taken place only at Delhi, implying that the offence of rape was not a continuing offence, and that the alleged threat given by the Respondent to the Appellant had not been a kind of offence which could be said to be of a series of acts forming the same transaction.
  • The counsel referred to the case of Sunita Kumari Kashyap v. State of Bihar and Anr and submitted that looking to the nature of accusations, the matter relating to the offence under Section 376 IPC had rightly been segregated in the present case.
  • Finally, it was argued that the accused had been duly acquitted of the charges pertaining to Sections 504 and 506 IPC by the learned Judicial Magistrate with a clear finding that the Appellant had failed to furnish any material evidence in relation to those allegations. It was submitted that the judgment of acquittal as passed by the learned Judicial Magistrate had attained finality and in that view of the matter too, the alleged offence under Section 376 IPC cannot hold ground any further. The counsel also clarified that the use of expression ‘acquittal’ in place of the expression ‘discharge’ had only been a matter of human error

JUDGEMENT ANALYSIS

  • The Court noted that, in the facts of the current case, the Appellant alleged multiple offences, of different kind and at separate locations, but perpetrated by the same individual, against the same individual. The Court had to decide whether the violations complained of could be grouped together into a ‘single set of acts that formed the same transaction’ and could thus be tried together.
  • The Court resorted to its ruling in Mohan Baitha v. State of Bihar to establish what would constitute a "similar transaction". It observed that it was not possible to enunciate any comprehensive formula of universal application for the purpose of determining whether two or more acts constitute the same transaction.
  • It was pointed out that the question as to whether a series of acts are so connected together as to form the same transaction is purely a question of fact.However, there exists core elements like proximity of time, unity or proximity of place, continuity of action and community of purpose or design, which are of relevant considerations and when these factors are applied to common sense and ordinary use of language, the vexed question of ‘same transaction’ could be reasonably determined.
  • Applying these principles to the given set of facts, the court observed that it was difficult to sew the alleged acts together so as to form the same transaction. The court opined that 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), could not be connected together in the instant case due to the offense committed at Delhi, being different and distinct than the other offences.

CONCLUSION

The court unequivocally rejected the Appellant's contention that the ensuing trial for Section 504 and 506 offences was vitiated. It declined to retry the accused because doing so would violate the principle of double jeopardy inherent in Article 20(2) of the Indian Constitution and Section 300 of the CrPc.

Learn the practical aspects of CrPC HERE, CPC HERE, IPC HERE, Evidence Act HERE, Family Laws HERE, DV Act HERE

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
"Loved reading this piece by Shvena Neendoor?
Join LAWyersClubIndia's network for daily News Updates, Judgment Summaries, Articles, Forum Threads, Online Law Courses, and MUCH MORE!!"



Published in Others
Views : 364




Comments





Latest Judgments


More »


Post a Suggestion for LCI Team
Post a Legal Query