If the crime is committed in one state, can the accused be tried in another state?

​Case Number: – CRIMINAL APPEAL No.1750 of 2017 

Judges: – J. L. NAGESWARA RAO AND J. S.A. BOBDE

Name of the Case: – STATE (NCT OF DELHI) Versus BRIJESH SINGH @ ARUN KUMAR AND ANR

BRIEF OF THE FACTS: – FIR No. 10 of 2013 was registered in the Special Cell (SB) PS Special Cell (SB) on 5th March, 2013 on the basis of information received from Shri S.K. Giri, Assistant Commissioner of Police (the ACP for short). The ACP prepared a proposal for registration and investigation of a case under Sections 3/4 of MCOCA. 

the first Respondent WAS INVOLVED IN 20 CASES prior to this one and was arrested in 2008.

Respondent No.2 was involved in committing unlawful activities along with other members of a crime syndicate since 1985 in an organized manner.

They went to jail on the complaint of Sudhir Singh. 

By a Notification dated 2nd January, 2002 the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India extended the provisions of MCOCA to the National Capital Territory of Delhi. As earlier it was only limited to the Maharashtra.

QUESTION OF LAW: – Whether charge sheets filed in competent Courts outside the National Capital Territory of Delhi can be taken into account for the purpose of constituting a “continuing unlawful activity”, and ii) Whether there can be prosecution under MCOCA without any offence of organised crime being committed within Delhi.

ARGUMENTS (APPELANT): –


Appellant submitted that organized crime is a serious threat to the society and that statement of objects and reasons have to be taken into account for interpretation of the provisions of the Act. He submitted that the restriction placed by the Courts below on the expression “Competent Court” in the definition of continuing unlawful activity is not correct. According to him, criminal cases in which cognizance was taken by Courts outside Delhi are relevant for the purpose of proceeding against the respondents under MCOCA. He further submitted that organized crime is not 8 Criminal Appeal @SLP(Crl.) No.5497 of 2015 restricted to territory within a State and a restrictive reading of the word ‘Competent Court’ would defeat the purpose for which the statute was enacted.

ARGUMENTS (RESPONDANT): –


MCOCA is a special legislation which deals with organized crime and unless the essential ingredients of the offences under Sections 3 and 4 are made out, a case under the said statute cannot be registered. He submitted that MCOCA operates only within the territorial limits of National Capital Territory of Delhi. He submitted that there is no offence of organized crime which was committed within the territory of Delhi. He also argued that it is clear from the material on record that there is no property belonging to the Respondents within the territory of Delhi and hence, Section 4 of MCOCA is not attracted. He also argued that crime is local and anything that is done outside the State cannot be subject matter of consideration for registration of an offence under MCOCA. Reliance was placed on Articles 245 and 246 of the Constitution of India to submit that MCOCA which extended to the National Capital 9 Criminal Appeal @SLP(Crl.) No.5497 of 2015 Territory of Delhi cannot have extra territorial operation. He relied upon the judgment of the Bombay High Court in The State of Bombay v. Narayandas Mangilal Dayame in support of the said submissions. Mr. Lalit argued that the complainant in FIR No.69 of 2007, Sudhir Singh, is a resident of Varanasi and according to him, he came to Delhi on a business trip and was threatened over phone by the Respondents. After investigating into the said offence, it was found that a call was made from a public telephone booth at Varanasi, U.P. All the antecedent events that were mentioned in the said FIR pertain to activities in the State of Uttar Pradesh. He submitted that no organised crime was committed in Delhi and FIR No.69 of 2007 cannot be taken into consideration for proceeding against the Respondents under MCOCA. Referring to FIR No.122 of 2010, Mr. Lalit submitted that Section 506 IPC was a non-cognizable offence at the relevant time. As there was no cognizable offence, FIR No.122 of 2010 is of no use for proceeding against the Respondents under MCOCA.

IMPORTANT CASES CITED: –
Macleod v. Attorney General for New South Wales. The Appellant in that case married Mary Manson in the Colony of New South Wales. During her lifetime, the Appellant married another lady at St. Louis in the State of Missouri, United States of America. He was indicted, tried and convicted in the Colony of New South Wales for the offence of bigamy under the Section 54 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1883. Section 54 provided for servitude for seven years for bigamy ‘wheresoever’ it takes place. Lord Halsbury, Lord Chancellor, held that the Appellant was not liable for prosecution as the offence of bigamy was not committed by him within the Colony of New South Wales. The laws made by the Colony of New South Wales would operate only within its territory.

In Christopher Strassheim v. Milton Daily  (supra), a question arose whether the Respondent was liable to be tried in the State of Michigan for an offence committed outside the State. Justice O.W. Holmes held that the State of Michigan is justified in punishing the Respondent for acts done outside its jurisdiction which were intended to produce a detrimental effect within the State. It was held that: “Acts done outside a jurisdiction, but intended to produce and producing detrimental effects within it, justify a State in punishing the cause of the harm as if he had been present at the effect, if the State should succeed in getting him within its power”.

In State of Bombay v. RMD Chamarbaugwala, this Court considered the point whether the legislature overstepped the limits of its legislative field when the impugned act purported to affect men residing and carrying on business outside the State. It was held that on the basis of the doctrine of territorial nexus between the State and activities of the Petitioners which are not in the State, the impugned legislation cannot be held to be beyond the competence of the legislature. This Court recognized the existence of two elements to establish territorial nexus which are: a. The connection must be real and not illusory, and b. The liabilities sought to be imposed must be pertinent to that connection.

DECISION: –
In the present case, it is sufficient to examine whether there is a territorial nexus between the charge sheets filed in competent Courts within the State of Uttar Pradesh and the State of NCT of Delhi where the Respondents are being prosecuted. The prosecution of the Respondents under MCOCA cannot be said to be invalid on the ground of extra territoriality in case the nexus is sufficiently established.

RATIO DECIDENDI: – “Even if a crime is committed in one State, the accused can be tried in another State if the detrimental effect is in that State”.




(This is submitted by Rohit Madhani, a Law student from Kochi)

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