New Delhi: An Indian citizen who has committed
a crime abroad can be prosecuted in the country but the trial
cannot commence beyond the cognisance stage without prior
sanction of the government, the Supreme Court has held.
A bench comprising justices Altamas Kabir, Cyriac Joseph
and S S Nijjar rejected the plea of NRI Thota Venkateswarlu
that the trial court in Andhra Pradesh cannot take cognisance
of a complaint of harassment, dowry demands and criminal
intimidation lodged by his wife, as the couple were living in
The NRI`s wife Parvathareddy Suneetha returned from
Botswana and lodged the complaint with the police which filed
a chargesheet in the court of the additional munsif
magistrate, Addanki, Prakasham district against her husband
and other relatives.
The apex court said, "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."
Justice Kabir said Section 188 is a fetter on the powers
of the investigating authority to inquire into offence to the
extent that it can be done only with the previous sanction of
the central government.
"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
"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