Extra Territorial Offenses

Our Criminal Lawyers have discussed below the law relating to “Extra Territorial Offenses” as it is applied by Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh.

Section 188 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973: Offence committed outside India. When an offence is committed outside India-
(a) by a citizen of India, whether on the high seas or elsewhere; or
(b) by a person, not being such citizen, on any ship or aircraft registered in India, he may be dealt with in respect of such offence as if it had been com- mitted at any place within India at which he may be found: Provided that, notwithstanding anything in any of the preceding sections of this Chapter, no such offence shall be inquired into or tried in India except with the previous sanction of the Central Government.

Section 188 of Criminal Procedure Code deals with the extra-territorial jurisdiction of the Courts in India in certain cases. It deals with the procedure alone and its counterpart, as far as the substantive law is concerned, in Section 4 of the Penal Code. S.188 cannot be viewed as completely extra territorial in its application. It being extra territorial doesn’t mean that it would be the law applicable to courts in the acceding States, but S. 188 is extra territorial in a restricted sense of the operation that it deals with the punishment of offences committed by persons of Indian domicile resident in a province for offences committed by him outside the province.

Provisions of Sec. 188 deal with offences committed outside India. In case of Indian Citizens these are not restrictions as to place or site where the offence occurred whereas non citizens would have to have been onboard vessel with Indian flag for this section to apply. In case the offences are committed by any citizen of India whether on high seas or elsewhere or by any person not being an Indian citizen on any ship or aircraft registered in India, the offender can be dealt with in respect to the offence in a manner as if it is committed at any place in India at which he may be found. Refusal to register the complaint and conduct investigation against accused is illegal when an offence is committed in foreign country by Indian citizen. The jurisdiction of the Courts in respect of offences committed abroad is not lost due to the venue of the offence. The section imposes obtaining the sanction of the Central Government as a condition for the trial of an offender under it that. The purpose of such provision is to ensure that the accused is not tried over again for the same offence in two different places.

This section is applicable only to offences committed outside India. This section is not applicable where an offence committed within India is connected with other criminal acts done outside India Offences committed outside India by persons or in places outside the purview of this section cannot be tried in India under this Section. Where an objection is raised as to the jurisdiction of the Court on the ground that the offence was committed outside India, the question needs to be investigated by the Court and a decision arrived at based on the facts. Under Section 177 and the general principle, where an offence is committed within India it can, be tried in India regardless of the fact that the offender is a foreigner.

Though this section vests the Courts in India with the power to try offences committed outside India in the cases specified therein, yet the liability of the offender in such cases to be dealt with in the country wherein the offence was committed is not affected by this section. It had been held under the repealed section that in such a case, judgment of acquittal or conviction passed by a foreign court will be a bar to proceeding being commenced against the alleged offender under this section in India. Provisions of S. 188 are not applicable to proceedings under Extradition Act. Order taking cognizance against accused for offence under S. 498 A and 506(2) of Penal Code – If the accused is not a citizen of India and the offence was committed outside India, such order taking cognizance is illegal in view of S. 4 and S. 188 of Code.