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Smt. Sita Devi And Ors. vs State Of M.P. on 8 August, 2000

Madhya Pradesh High Court
Smt. Sita Devi And Ors. vs State Of M.P. on 8 August, 2000
Equivalent citations: 2000 (3) MPHT 504
Author: S Khare
Bench: S Khare


S.P. Khare, J.

1. This is an application under Section 407 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for transfer of Criminal Case No. 190 of 2000 from the Court of Judicial Magistrate First Class, Burhanpur to a Court competent to try the same at Bhopal or Indore.

2. Applicant No. 2 Vikram Singh married Manjushree on 4-1-1998 at Burhanpur. Applicant No. 3 Vikramark Singh is his brother and applicant No. 1 Smt. Sita Devi is his mother. The father of Manjushree was a Member of Parliament. He died on 29-11-1998. His daughter Manjushree is now a Member of Legislative Assembly of Madhya Pradesh from Burhanpur constituency. She submitted a report in writing on 2-4-1999 (Annexure 1) to the Station Officer of Burhanpur Police Station. Crime No. 69 of 1999 has been registered on the basis of that report and a charge-sheet has been submitted by the Police before the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Burhanpur in which the applicants have been arraigned as accused persons. The prosecution case is that they have treated Manjushree with cruelty and demanded dowry of a large amount. The charges which have been levelled are under Section 498A I.P.C. and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. It is alleged that the applicants harassed Manjushree with a view to coerce her and her father to meet the unlawful demand. The applicants submitted an application under Section 438 Cr.P.C. before the First Additional Sessions Judge, Burhanpur for anticipatory bail. That was rejected. The applicants have been granted anticipatory bail by Order dated 14-10-1999 by this Court.

3. The case of the applicants is that they have reasonable apprehension in their minds that justice would be denied to them if the trial of the case takes place at Burhanpur. The grounds of their apprehension are (a) no advocate from Burhanpur is prepared to defend them because of the political influence of Manjushree and the members of her family, (b) the Police at Burhanpur is under the influence of Manjushree. The Police objected to the grant of anticipatory bail to the applicants, (c) the rejection of application for anticipatory bail by the Additional Sessions Judge is a “clear indication” that the applicants would not get a fair and impartial trial and (d) there is a threat to the applicants by the family members of Manjushree and they are being intimidated through telephone calls.

4. A reply to the application has been filed by the Town Inspector of Burhanpur Police Station and the allegations against the Police have been denied. Manjushree has also submitted her objections in writing opposing the transfer of the case from Burhanpur. The point for determination is whether the applicants have reasonable apprehension that they would not get a fair and impartial trial and whether the transfer of the case is expedient for the ends of justice. Learned counsel for both the sides have been heard. It is not clarified in the application who were the advocates who were contacted by the applicants and they refused to defend them. It is an admitted fact that Shri Arun Kumar Chatarjee, a Senior Advocate of Khandwa has been engaged by the applicants. Burhanpur is a tehsil of Khandwa District. It is about 68 kms. from Khandwa. The record shows that the two advocates from Indore have also appeared on behalf of the applicants before the Courts at Burhanpur. The applicants are getting proper legal assistance to defend themselves. The learned counsel for the applicants has cited a decision of this Court in Bhavna v. State of M.P., 1998 (1) MPLJ 297 in support of his arguments that this is a fit case for transfer to another district. That was a case in which the Bar Association of the District had passed a resolution in its general meeting against the prosecution of an advocate. That was considered to be a sufficient ground for transfer of the case to another district. The apprehension of the applicants in that case was found to be reasonable.

5. The other grounds which have been set up as (b) to (d) mentioned above by the applicants are also not sufficient for transfer of the case to another district. It can not be said that the Police is under the influence of Manjushree. It has done its statutory duty and filed a charge-sheet. The rejection of the application for anticipatory bail by the Additional Sessions Judge can hardly be a ground for transfer of the case to another district. The allegation regarding the telephone calls does not bear scrutiny.

6. In the normal course the trial in this case should take place at Burhanpur, a place which has the territorial jurisdiction. The normal course of things should not be lightly interfered with and the case should be allowed to be tried by the Court which has the territorial jurisdiction (Baljit Singh v. State of Jammu & Kashmir AIR 1982 SC 1558). In Maneka Gandhi v. Rani Jethmalani, AIR 1979 SC 468, the Supreme Court observed that assurance of a fair trial is the first imperative of the dispensation of justice and the central criterion for the Court to consider when a motion for transfer is made is not the hypersensitivity or relative convenience of a party or easy availability of legal services or like mini-grievances. Something more substantial, more compelling, more imperilling, from the point of view of public justice and its attendant environment, is necessitous if the Court is to exercise its power of transfer. This is the cardinal principle although the circumstances may be myriad and vary from case to case.

7. In the present case no substantial ground could be made out for transfer of the case to another district. Manjushree complains that she has been subjected to cruelty and harassment in her matrimonial home by the applicants. It is true that she is now a Member of Legislative Assembly from Burhanpur constituency but that would not come in the way of the trial Court in administering even-handed justice. The political influence is alien to the concept of administration of justice by the Courts. The Judges and Magistrates in the State are fully independent working under the administrative control of the High Court. There was not even a faint whisper at the time of the hearing of this application that any influence can be brought upon on any of the Courts at Burhanpur. Therefore, the alleged apprehension entertained by the applicants cannot be said to be reasonable. It cannot be said that the atmosphere at Burhanpur is not conducive to fair trial. The prosecution witnesses are mostly from Burhanpur and therefore, that would be the proper place for trial of the case. It is sufficient to record a note of caution that the trial Court will see that the trial is conducted with utmost fairness in an atmosphere of complete detachment and neutrality.

8. The application is rejected.

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