In a major ruling, the Madras High Court has declined to quash a case against a person working in abroad for allegedly subjecting his wife to cruelty. The petitioner contended that the Centre’s prior sanction was required to conduct the trial against him as the offence was stated to have been committed in a foreign country.

Dismissing the plea, Justice P. Devadass said as the offence under Section 498-A (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) IPC was alleged to have been committed in India and also in the US, the Central government sanction to conduct the trial against the husband would not arise. The Judge directed the XVIII Metropolitan Magistrate here to proceed with the trial against the petitioner and his parents.

The wedding of Muralikrishna of Chennai who was employed in the US, took place in April 2010. In her complaint to police, the petitioner’s wife alleged that from the day of marriage she was harassed for dowry.

The first part of her married life was in Chennai. The harassment continued in the US also. The criminal case was now pending against the petitioner and his parents.

Counsel for the petitioner contended that the alleged dowry demand was in the US. So, as per Section 188 Cr.P.C., sanction of the Central government was necessary to try the offence under Section 498-A IPC. Since no sanction had been obtained in the present case, the trial could not be conducted.

Counsel for the petitioner’s wife said she was harassed in India and in the US. So, the Central government’s sanction was not necessary to conduct the trial.

Mr.Justice Devadass said sanction was a condition precedent to conduct the trial with respect to offences committed outside India. In case if an offence was in India and it continued in a foreign country, Centre’s sanction was not necessary. The petitioner had committed the alleged offence in India and also in the US. In such circumstances, requiring Centre’s sanction to conduct the trial would not arise.

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