Thota Venkatewarlu case - Supreme court says Indians committing crime abroad can be prosecuted in IndiaSeptember 08, 2011 12:08
An Indian who has committed a crime abroad can be tried in India, but the trial cannot be initiated beyond the cognisance stage without the prior sanction of the government, the Supreme Court has held.
A plea of a non-resident Indian Thota Venkateswarlu was rejected by a bench of justices Altamas Kabir, Cyriac Joseph and S S Nijjar on the ground that the trial court in Andhra Pradesh cannot take cognisance of the complaint of harassment, dowry demands and criminal intimidation lodged by his wife, as they were living in Botswana.
According to the Supreme Court: ”The language of Section 188 CrPC is quite clear that when an offence is committed outside India by a citizen of India, he may be dealt with in respect of such offences as if they had been committed in India.
“The proviso, however, indicates that such offences could be inquired into or tried only after having obtained the previous sanction of the central government.”
According to Justice Kabir: ”The fetters, however, are imposed only when the stage of trial is reached, which clearly indicates that no sanction in terms of Section 188 is required till commencement of the trial.
“It is only after the decision to try the offender in India was felt necessary that the previous sanction of the central government would be required before the trial could commence.”
Thota’s wife Parvathareddy Suneetha, after returning from Botswana, lodged a complaint with the police which filed a charge sheet in the court of the additional munsif magistrate, Addanki, Prakasham district against her husband and other relatives.