THE Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has allowed a trial court in Jalna to try the case of a 35-year-old woman who filed a case against her Gujarat-based parents-in-law, alleging physical and mental torture. Though the crime was committed, in part, in Gujarat, the court allowed the case to be tried in Jalna, holding the offence of a serious nature and some part of the crime was committed in Jalna too.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice K K Sonawane was hearing an appeal filed by the woman’s parents-in-law to quash the criminal proceedings against them. They had also raised the issue of territorial jurisdiction, claiming the offence was committed in Gujarat and not Jalna, where the case was registered.
The court while dismissing the application held that there is a prima facie offence of cruelty and allegations of assault and torture against the accused. To the contentions raised by the applicants over the territorial jurisdiction, the bench held the offence is ill treatment and harassment of a woman and since some parts of the serious offence were committed in Jalna, the case can be tried there.
According to the FIR filed by the woman in 2013, her mother-in-law allegedly tortured her for giving birth to a female child, apart from refusing to give her or her husband any share in the family property. The complaint said her jewellery were taken away and she was not provided any means for day-to-day survival. She also alleged that she was physically and mentally tortured and abused before she eventually left her matrimonial home in Anand, Gujarat, and returned to her home in Jalna, where an FIR was registered and a chargesheet filed.
The court held that part of offence, such as applicants visiting Jalna when she gave birth to her child, was committed in Jalna, therefore there is no question of territorial jurisdiction considering the nature of allegations. The court said, “There are specific assertions by the first informant about the ill-treatment and cruelty at the hands of the applicants when they visited her at the hospital in Jalna at the time of her delivery. These circumstances are sufficient to arrive at the conclusion that offence as alleged in the case was one having been committed in more local areas than one. The part of the local area being at Jalna, the learned magistrate, Jalna, has jurisdiction to deal with the criminal case instituted against the applicants.”