HC starts exercise of deciding scope of legal provisions to include foreign nationals of Indian origin

The Madras High Court Bench here has begun the legal exercise of deciding if a foreign national of Indian origin is entitled to get a First Information Report (FIR) registered in an Indian police station for an alleged offence committed in the foreign country by another person of a similar nationality.

Admitting a criminal original petition on the issue, Justice S. Vaidyanathan said: “The only question that has to be decided in this case is whether the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) can be invoked when both the complainant and the accused are citizens of the United Kingdom.”

The judge also said the question must be decided in view of section 188 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which stated that when an offence was committed outside India by a citizen of India (either on the high seas or elsewhere) or by a person not being such citizen (on any ship or aircraft registered in India) it might be dealt with, after obtaining previous sanction of the Centre, as if it had been committed in a place within India.

M. Shajahan (40), who hails from Madukkur in Thanjavur district, but has now obtained citizenship in the UK, and four of his family members filed the present petition to quash a case registered against them on the basis of a dowry harassment complaint lodged by his estranged wife, also a UK citizen, with the All Women Police Station in Pattukottai in Thanjavur district.

The petitioners pointed out that the complaint was full of incidents that allegedly took place in the United Kingdom, yet the police chose to register the case and also file a final report before a Judicial Magistrate under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 1998, and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

More In: Madurai