Two Set Of Acts U/s. 376 IPC And U/s. 504/506 IPC Cannot Be Connected Together To Form Part Of Same Transaction - SC
The two-judge bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Vikram Nath has held that offence u/s 376 and sections 504 and 506 would not fall within the ambit of 'one series of acts so connected as to form the same transaction' for the purpose of trial u/s 200 of CrPC.
In this context, the Bench held -
"From whatever angle we examine the matter, in the given set of facts, it is difficult to sew the alleged acts together so as to form the same transaction. To put it in a simple idiom, the two alleged set of acts, one of sexual exploitation, leading to the offence of rape (Section 376 IPC) and another of hurling abuses and threats, leading to the offences of insult and intimidation (Sections 504/506 IPC), are just like chalk and cheese; they cannot be connected together so as to form the same transaction on the facts of this case."
Facts & History of the Case
The appeal was filed challenging the order of the High Court declining to interfere with the Order of the Sessions Judge which discharged the accused of offence u/s 376 of IPC on the ground of lack of territorial jurisdiction. The order of the session judge also granted the prosecution with the liberty to proceed against the accused in the appropriate court while transferring the case in relation to offences under sections 504 and 506 of IPC.
It was observed by the Sessions Judge that – "from the evidence collected during the investigation it is clear that the place of occurrence of the alleged offence under Section 376 of the I.P.C is at Delhi. The offence of rape is not a continuing offence and whatever threat is alleged to have been given by the accused to the victim is on phone and is not a kind of offence which can be said to be in the series of transaction."
Aggrieved by this decision, the Appellant has approached the Supreme Court.
- Issue – Whether offence u/s 376 IPC and offences u/s 504 and 506, IPC fall within the ambit of 'one series of acts so connected together as to form the same transaction' for the purpose of trial u/s 220 of the CrPC ?
The appellant's Counsel submitted that –
Relying on Sections 178, 179 and 200 of CrPC and Satvinder Kaur v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi) and Anr (1999), segregation of offences under sections 376, 504 and 506 would amount to a miscarriage of justice.
The Counsel representing the state contended that the trial under sections 504 and 506 upon segregation of charges based on the order of the Sessions Judge would be vitiated based on Section 461(I) of CrPC. In lieu of the same, it was submitted that a new trial is to be initiated against the accused under sections 376, 504 and 506 IPC.
The respondents's-accused Counsel meanwhile argued that the –
The Sessions Judge has rightly ordered for segregation of charges in view of Section 218 of CrPC according to which separate charges are to be framed for separate offences, to be tried separately.
The Bench observed that the precedents cited by the counsels would not be applicable to the present case as there is no offence comprised of bifurcated or continuing acts. It was also noted that "The complaint as made by the appellant is of the allegations of different offences, of different nature and at different places of occurrence, though said to have been committed by the same person, i.e., respondent No. 2 and against the same person, i.e., the appellant and having their genesis in the proposed matrimonial alliance, which did not materialise"
Relying on Mohan Baitha and Ors. v. State of Bihar and Anr. and Anju Chaudhary v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Anr. (2013) the Bench observed that the term 'same transaction' is not clearly defined. However, there are several factors like proximity of time, unity or proximity of place, continuity of action etc., that can help determine the question of whether a series of acts are so connected together as to form the same transaction.
It was noted that in the case, "The acts in question were neither proximate in time nor proximate in place."
Consequently, the order passed by the Sessions Judge was found to be sustainable and thereby the appeal was dismissed. It was also held that the accused could not be subjected to trial under sections 504 and 506 again, as he has been tried and acquitted for the same.