Section 178 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) – Explained!

This section provides that (1) where there is uncertainty as to in which of the several local areas an offence is committed (2) or where an offence is committed partly in one local area and partly in another, or (3) where an offence is a continuing one and continues to be committed in more local areas than one, or (4) where it consists of several acts done in different local areas, the offence may be inquired into or tried by a Court having jurisdiction over any of such local areas.

A person charged with offence of breach of trust either at a place X, Y or Z but it is uncertain at which particular place he actually committed the offence. As per Section 178 (a), he may be tried at any of these places. Same rule may also be applicable for the offence of criminal conspiracy if it is not certain as to exactly at what place it was hatched.

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Where an offence is commenced within the local jurisdiction of one Court and completed within the local jurisdiction of another Court, such an offence may be tried by either of the two Courts.

A conspiracy to commit an offence has been treated as a continuing offence. Again, abduction is a continuing offence but kidnapping is not a continuing offence. Travelling without a valid passport has been treated as a continuing offence.

In Mohd. Daud v. Superintendent, District Jail, Moradabad, the accused was initially arrested and detained in Maharashtra for an offence under NDPS Act. Subsequently he was brought to Moradabad in U.P. in connection with another case. On being acquitted in Sessions trial at Moradabad, he challenged the validity of his arrest and detention in Maharashtra in the High Court of Allahabad.

The High Court held that the Allahabad High Court had no jurisdiction under Section 178 to declare the arrest and detention of the accused under NDPS Act in Maharashtra as illegal, because it constitutes an altogether different offence having no nexus with his detention at Moradabad. It was beyond the jurisdiction of the High Court of Allahabad to decide the legality of an arrest or detention for an offence which was committed in Maharashtra.

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