Section 188 CrPC – Sanction not required if part of offense committed in India: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court observed that Section 188 of the Code of Criminal Procedure will not be invoked if any part of the offense was committed in India.

The section is drawn when the entire offense is committed outside India; and the granting of a sanction would make it possible to investigate or try such an offense in India, observed the bench composed of judges Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha.

In this case, the Uttarakhand High Court overturned the acquittal entered by the trial court and sentenced the accused of offenses punishable under Articles 363, 366-B, 370(4) and 506 of the ICC, and under Article 8 of the POCSO Act. The accused allegedly imported a minor girl, a resident of Nepal, to India for the purpose of exploitation.

One of the arguments raised by the defendant on appeal to the Supreme Court was that the requirements of Section 188 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 were not met and that no sanction under that section had been imposed. recorded; and that in the absence of such a sanction, the accused could not have been tried.

Under Section 188 of the CrPC, even if an offense is committed outside India, (a) by a citizen, whether on the high seas or elsewhere, or (b) by a non-citizen on board of a ship or aircraft registered in India, the offense may still be tried in India provided that the conditions mentioned in the said section are fulfilled.

Referring to evidence on record, the bench noted that part of the offense was committed in India. The Court observed:

The section is drawn when the entire offense is committed outside India; and the granting of a sanction would enable such an offense to be investigated or tried in India…… As the facts and circumstances of the case indicate, part of the offense was certainly committed on the soil of this country, and as such, under normal principles, the offense could be examined and adjudicated by Indian courts. Since the offense was not committed in its entirety outside India, the case would not fall within the scope of section 188 of the Code and there was no need for sanction as provided for in the conditional clause of article 188.

Dismissing the appeal, the court observed that the offenses with which the appellant was charged were rightly invoked and fully substantiated.

Case details

Sartaj Khan vs State of Uttarakhand | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 321 | CrA 852 OF 2018 | March 24, 2022

Coram: Judges Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha

Counsel: Sr. Adv Jitendra Mohan Sharma for the Appellant, Adv Jatinder Kumar Bhatia for the State

Summaries

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973; Section 188 – The section is drawn when the entire offense is committed outside India; and the granting of a sanction would make it possible to investigate or try such an offense in India – Where a part of the offense has been definitely committed on the soil of this country, according to normal principles, the offense could be examined and adjudicated by Indian courts – If the offense was not committed in its entirety, outside India, the matter would not fall within the scope of section 188 of the Code and it there is no need for punishment as provided for in the conditional clause of Article 188. (Paragraph 13.14)

Summary – Appeal against the judgment of the Uttarakhand HC convicting the appellant charged under sections 363, 366-B, 370(4) and 506 of the ICC, and under section 8 of the POCSO Act – Dismissed – The offenses with which the appellant was charged were properly pleaded and fully substantiated.

Click here to read/download the judgment