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Central Bank of India Vs. Ram Narain

Manaswini Reddy, 5th year, Kvrr law college, Osmania University, Hyderabad

INTRODUCTION

Central Bank of India vs Ram Narain[1]is a landmark case that explains the scope of section 4[2]of Indian Penal code, 1860. It discusses the interconnectivity between Domicile, Extent of Jurisdiction and citizenship in determination of trial of an offense committed, with respect to Indian Courts. If the offense is committed on a ship or aircraft, the country whose flag is bared by the ship or if committed on an aircraft, where such aircraft has been registered that country tries the offences or if an offense is committed against any computer source in India, it is tried by Indian courts.

FACTS

  • Ram Narain, the Respondent, stayed and carried out business in Mailsi, Multan District then Punjab now Pakistan. He borrowed a sum of 3 lakh rupees from the Mailsi branch of Central Bank of India Pvt Ltd.
  • The money borrowed by him was secured by stocks, in possession of the bank, who acted as trustees for Ram Narain, until the money was returned.
  • When India’spartition took place Ram Narain was to pay back rupees 1, 40,000 without interest and his goods that he pledged were of 1, 90,000 rupees value. The goods were kept in the bank’s godown.[3]
  • When the banks closed down and left abandoned due to the disturbances caused by the partition. Later an Agent of the bank visited the go down, Ram Narain’s goods had been stolen, upon an inquiry it was held that Ram Narain himself stole 108 bales of cotton, sold them and got a value of 1,98,000 rupees.
  • The offense was to be tried by the ambit of section 188 [4]of crpc read with section 4 of Indian Penal Code, under the East Punjab Government. Sections 380 and 454[5]would apply as per Indian Penal code to the offenses committed.
  • Ram Narain meanwhile came up with an objection that he was a citizen of Pakistan and that the East Punjab Government was not competent to try him. The objection made was controversial because he stayed in Pakistan post-Independence until November 10th claiming he acquired citizenship of the same, while he moved his family to India after Independence.
  • He had closed down his business in Pakistan and started the same in Hodel, Gurgaon District India. This made it clear that he had an intention to become a citizen of India.

ISSUES

  • Extent of Jurisdiction of India
  • Intention to move to India if sufficient to become a citizen[6]

REASONING

The court had to deal with an interesting question of issues, where an offense was committed, and the person to be tried under the provisions of Indian penal Code. Can he be tried by the criminal court of India after migration,while claiming to be a citizen of another country but showing intention to be a citizen of India? The court understood in terms of Indian Penal Code and definition of domicile and the intention of the party to become a citizen of India while determining the applicability of section 4 to this case.

JUDGEMENT

The Central bank of India filed a case in the District Court in Gurgaon. The court passed a judgement against Ram Narain who later appealed to the trial session court which upheld the decision of district Court after which the respondent appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court held that the definition of domicile has been nowhere mentioned clearly in Indian penal code, hence taking into consideration the arguments and evidences presented by the Appellant, he did not have an intention to stay in Pakistan post the partition although mere intention to stay in India does not make him acquire citizenship. With respect to section 4 of Indian Penal Code the Appellant was neither a citizen of India nor a citizen of Pakistan which is why he could not be tried under the same since he was neither a citizen nor was the offence committed in India. The Ram Narain trial was out of jurisdiction and the proceedings were quashed.


[1] Central Bank Of India Pvt Ltd vs Ram Narain 12th October 1954

[2] Indian Penal Code 1860 Act 45 of Acts of Parliament

[3] Law insider https://www.lawinsider.in/judgment/central-bank-of-india-v-ram-narain

[4] Criminal Procedure code act 2 of 1974 Acts of Parliament

[5] Indian Penal Code 1860 Act 45 of Acts of Parliament

[6]Ejustice India https://www.ejusticeindia.com/case-summary-central-bank-of-india-ltd-vs-ram-narain/

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