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Monday, January 7, 2013

"27. Jurisdiction:- (1) The court of Judicial Magistrate of the first class or the Metropolitan Magistrate, as the case may be, within the local limits of which- (a) the person aggrieved permanently or temporarily resides or carries on business or is employed; or (b) the respondent resides or carries on business or is employed; or (c) the cause of action has arisen, shall be the competent court to grant a protection order and other orders under this Act and to try offences under this Act. (2) Any order made under this Act shall be enforceable throughout India."= A close reading of the above provision would make it abundantly clear that for filing a petition seeking protection orders, it is not necessary that there should have arisen a cause of action or atleast a part of cause of action, within the territorial jurisdiction of the Judicial Magistrate concerned. It is enough if the aggrieved person permanently or temporarily resides or carries on business or is employed within the local limits of the said Judicial Magistrate.


IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS

DATED 17.07.2012

CORAM

THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE S.NAGAMUTHU

Crl.OP No.14609 of 2012
and
M.P.Nos.1 and 2 of 2012



Yusuf Allabuksh .. Petitioner

Vs

1. Julakia Bee

2. Reshma .. Respondents





Prayer:- Criminal Original Petition filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C., to call for the records and quash the complaint in C.M.P.No.172/2012 on the file of the Judicial Magistrate, Kallakurichi.

For Petitioner : Mr.R.Rajarajan

For Respondent 1   : Mr.A.Abdul Lathif


- - - - -

O R D E R

The petitioner is the first respondent in C.M.P.No.172 of 2012 on the file of the learned Judicial Magistrate, Kallakurichi.  The first respondent herein is the complainant and the second respondent herein is the second respondent before the lower Court as well.

2. The first respondent has filed the said petition under the provisions of The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, seeking maintenance, share in the household and other reliefs as provided in Section 18 of the said Act.
Seeking to quash the said proceedings, the petitioner has come up with this criminal original petition.

3. In this petition, the only ground raised by the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner is that the learned Judicial Magistrate, Kallakurichi has no territorial jurisdiction to entertain the said petition.  
According to the petitioner, the marriage between the petitioner and the first respondent was solemnized on 22.04.1984 in Mumbai.
After the said wedlock, they lived together as husband and wife in Mumbai and five children were also born to them in Mumbai.  Thus, according to the petitioner, they lived as husband and wife at Mumbai for about 27 years.
Unfortunately, difference of opinion between the petitioner and the first respondent arose on account of the love marriage of their daughter, which was against their wish.   
Thereafter, in the year 2008, the first respondent left her matrimonial home.

4. Thus, according to the petitioner, the entire cause of action for the petition arose only in Mumbai and therefore, a Magistrate Court in Maharashtra State alone has got jurisdiction to entertain the petition.  
In other words, there is no cause of action within the jurisdiction of the learned Judicial Magistrate, Kallakurichi.  Thus, the said Court has got no territorial jurisdiction and therefore the proceeding, is wholly without jurisdiction, he contended.

5. But the learned counsel appearing for the first respondent would firmly oppose this petition.  According to him, though it is true that the marriage was held in Mumbai, the matrimonial life was in Mumbai and all the children were born in Mumbai, however, the first respondent has now returned to Saraswathi Nagar, Thirukovilur Road, Thyagadurgam, where she has been living permanently with her sister under her care and custody.   The learned counsel would further contend that as per Section 27 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 the learned Judicial Magistrate, Kallakurichi has got territorial jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.

6. I have considered the above submissions and I have perused the records carefully.

7. Before going into the facts of the case, let me first refer to Section 27 of the Act, which reads as follows:
"27. Jurisdiction:- (1) The court of Judicial Magistrate of the first class or the Metropolitan Magistrate, as the case may be, within the local limits of which-
(a) the person aggrieved permanently or temporarily resides or carries on business or is employed; or
(b) the respondent resides or carries on business or is employed; or
(c) the cause of action has arisen, 
shall be the competent court to grant a protection order and other orders under this Act and to try offences under this Act.
(2) Any order made under this Act shall be enforceable throughout India."
A close reading of the above provision would make it abundantly clear that for filing a petition seeking protection orders, it is not necessary that there should have arisen a cause of action or atleast a part of cause of action, within the territorial jurisdiction of the Judicial Magistrate concerned.  It is enough if the aggrieved person permanently or temporarily resides or carries on business or is employed within the local limits of the said Judicial Magistrate.  In this case, according to the first respondent, she temporarily resides in Saraswathi Nagar, Thirukovilur Road, Thyagadurgam, which falls within the jurisdiction of the learned Judicial Magistrate, Kallakurichi.  Thus, in my considered opinion, as per Section 27 of the Act, the learned Judicial Magistrate, Kallakurichi has got territorial jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.

8. But, the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner is that simply because a person, either permanently or temporarily, resides within the jurisdiction of the Court, the said Court cannot have jurisdiction unless there has arisen atleast a part of the cause of action within his jurisdiction.
 In order to support this argument, the learned counsel relied on a Judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Union Bank of India Vs. M/s.Seppo Rally Oy and Another reported in AIR 2000 SC 62.  I have gone through the said judgment.  That was a case decided under the Consumer Protection Act.  The question before the Hon'ble Supreme Court was as to whether a mere residence of the opposite party, in the absence of any part of cause of action, will give raise to the jurisdiction of the District Forum to entertain the complaint.
 In the said judgment, the Hon'ble Supreme Court had to consider sub-section 2 to Section 11 of the Consumer Protection Act which reads as follows:
"11(2) A complaint shall be instituted in a District Forum, within the local limits of whose jurisdiction,-
(a) the opposite party or each of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain; or
(b) any of the opposite parties, where there are more than one at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business or have a branch office or personally works for gain, provided that in such case either the permission of the District Forum is given, or the opposite parties who do not reside, or carry on business or have a branch office or personally work for gain, as the case may be, acquiesce in such institution; or
(c) the cause of action, wholly or in part arises."
In paragraph 12 of the same judgment, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held as follows:
"12. Under Section 17 of the Act a State Commission has jurisdiction to decide complaints of the value between rupees five and twenty lakhs but there is no such provision as contained in Sub-section (2) of Section 11 of the Act applicable to State Commission.  Section 18 of the Act does not make provision of Sub-section (2) of Section 11 applicable to the State Commission.  Each State has its own State Commission.  There is purpose for it.  First appeal of the District Forum situated within the State lies to the State Commission and then State Commission can take cognizance of the dispute arising within that State.  It cannot be the intention of the Legislature that dispute arising in one State could be taken congizance by State Commission of other State. We have to have purposive interpretation of the provisions and we have to hold that similar provisions as contained in Sub-section (2) of Section 11 with modifications as may be necessary, shall be applicable to the State Commission.  In fact these are the basic provisions conferring territorial jurisdiction on a tribunal otherwise it will lead to absurd situations......" (Emphasis added)
9. Referring to the above judgment, the learned counsel  would submit that in the case on hand also, if we have purposive interpretation of Section 27 of the Act, it will be obvious that for entertaining a complaint, the Magistrate should look for at least a part of cause of action within his territorial jurisdiction.

10. Though attractive, the said argument of the learned counsel does not persuade me at all.  There can be no doubt that while interpreting Section 27 of the Act, we should have regard for the purpose behind the Act.
In other words, purposive interpretation of the provisions of the Act alone will achieve the object of the Act.
With this in mind, let us see as to
what is the purpose behind the Act.  
There are as many as five objects enumerated in Clause 4 of the Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Act.
It is evident that the purpose of the Act is to provide for more effective protection of the rights of the women guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.  
Thus, it is obvious that the main purpose for which the Act has been brought into force is only to protect the rights of women and to protect the victims of domestic violence.  
If the rights of such victims are to be protected, then we have to liberally interpret Section 27 of the Act, in favour of the victims.  
That is the reason why, the Parliament itself, in Section 27(1)(a) of the Act, has envisaged that the aggrieved person can approach the Magistrate within whose territorial jurisdiction she, either permanently or temporarily, resides.  
Had it been the intention of the Legislature that such complaint should be entertained only by a Magistrate having jurisdiction over the whole or a part of the cause of action, then the Parliament would not have, in unequivocal terms, expressed so in Section 27(1)(a) of the Act.  
This clearly brings to light the intention of the Legislature to be liberal and considerate only towards the victims of domestic violence. If the interpretation which is sought to be made by the learned counsel for the petitioner is accepted, then in many cases, it may not be workable for the victims to go over to the Court situated at a far off place, within whose jurisdiction the cause of action has arisen.  
It will only cause unnecessary hardship to the victims to travel such a long distance spending money and time.  
Therefore, in my considered opinion, if  purposive interpretation is made to Section 27 of the Act, then it would emerge that the victim can approach the Magistrate within whose local jurisdiction, she either permanently or temporarily, resides at the time she seeks protection order, notwithstanding the fact that either whole or part of the cause of action has not arisen within the local limits of the said Magistrate.

11. In such view of the matter, in the case on hand, I hold that the learned Judicial Magistrate, Kallakurichi has got territorial jurisdiction to entertain the case.

12. In the result, I find no merit in this petition, the petition fails and the same is accordingly dismissed. Consequently the connected Miscellaneous Petitions are closed.










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