Section 177 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) – Explained!

The provision of this section regarding the place of inquiry and trial is applicable to trials whether held under the Code or under any local or special laws. The words “ordinarily” used in the section clearly suggests that the provisions are not exclusive and there are certain other special provisions in the Code itself which provide for alternative venues for inquiry and trial for certain offences.

The place of inquiry or trial of an offence is generally dependent as to where and how the offence was committed as gathered from the contents of the complaint or the police report, i.e., the charge-sheet. In absence of any positive proof to the contrary, the Court will be presumed to have jurisdiction on the basis of facts made out by averments.

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Generally, a Magistrate within whose local jurisdiction the offence is committed is authorised to take cognizance and try the case or commit it to the Court of Session. The subsequent transfer of locality to another district does not oust the jurisdiction of the Magistrate.

Where the offence consists of different acts done in different places such as conspiracy, it may be inquired into or tried by a Court having jurisdiction over any such place.

In defamation cases the Trial Court has the jurisdiction to go into the merits of issue pertaining to territorial jurisdiction.

In case of a defamatory article appearing in a newspaper which is printed and published at one place but circulated at different places, the Magistrate of any of such places have the jurisdiction to entertain the complaint for defamation.

When the question of jurisdiction is raised, it must be decided first, before the trial of the case is commenced.

Complaint filed by a wife against the cruelty by husband under Section 498-A cannot be entertamed by the Court situate at the place of her parent’s residence as no part of alleged cruelty or harassment arose within the jurisdiction of that Court.

In such cases only Magistrate of the place or places where the wife was actually subjected to cruelty shall have territorial jurisdiction to try the case. But in case of an offence of bigamy, a complaint against the husband by wife, when she was residing with her parents, it was held that Court having jurisdiction over the place of wife’s residence (parents) could entertain the complaint as Section 177 was covered by Section 182 (2) –

Any High Court, in exercise of its power under Section 407 may order that any offence be inquired into or tried by any Court not otherwise empowered under Sections 177 to 185.

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