The facts which give rise to this revision are these : The respondents herein filed a petition in the Court of the Ist Class Magistrate, Armoor for the grant of maintenance under Section 488 Cr.P.C. alleging that the respondent No. 1 who is the lawfully wedded wife of the petitioner was ill-treated by the Petitioner about seven months prior to the filing of the petition at a time when the respondent No. 1 was pregnant and was driven away from the house of the petitioner after taking all the gold ornaments belonging to her. Thereafter the respondent No. 2 was born to the respondent No. 1. The petitioner herein has not at all been maintaining both the respondents and therefore they prayed for the grant of maintenance at the rate of Rs. 50/- per month to the Ist respondent and Rs. 25/- per month for the 2nd respondent. It has also specifically been stated in petition that the petitioner herein resides at Nizamabad proper and the respondents reside at Armoor, which is within the district of Nizamabad and therefore, the First Class Magistrate, Armoor had jurisdiction to entertain the petition. The petitioner appeared before the court filed his counter and contended that the First Class Magistrate Armoor had no jurisdiction to entertain that petition, as admittedly the petitioner herein was residing at Nizamabad therefore, it was the First Class Magistrate at Nizamabad which was the proper Court.
2. The trial court rejected the contention advanced by the petitioner on the ground that provisions of Section 488(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure are very wide in their amplitude and cover any court within the district in which the husband resides. A revision was preferred to the Sessions Judge, Nizamabad, who also confirmed the conclusion arrived at by the trial court and held that the First Class Magistrate, Armoor had jurisdiction to entertain the petition. Hence this revision.
3. Mr. Anjaneyulu appearing on behalf of the petitioner herein contends that the lower courts were incorrect in their interpretation of Section 488(8) Cr.P.C. It is true, as pointed out by the Supreme Court that Section 488 Cr.P.C. prescribes alternative forums to enable a discarded wife or a helpless child legitimate or illegitimate, to get urgent relief. Proceedings under the Section can be taken against the husband or the father, as the case may be, in a place where he resides, permanently or temporarily, or where he last resided in any district in India or where he happened to be at the time the proceedings are initiated; but the learned advocate contends that that does not mean any court in a District in which the husband resides or had jurisdiction to hear the petition under Section 488 Cr.P.C. I am of the opinion that the contention advanced by the learned advocate for the petitioner has some force. Section 488(8) Cr.P.C. provides as follows :
"Proceedings under this section may be taken against any person in any district where he resides or is, or where he last resided with his wife, or, as the case may be the mother of the illegitimate child."
4. A close reading of the said sub-section would show that the Legislature intended that a discarded wife or a helpless child who has been discarded by the husband or the father, as the case may be should get much needed and urgent relief and there should not be extra burden either on the wife or the child to file a petition only in a particular court. Section 488(8) Cr.P.C. gives three alternative forums which could be chosen by the discarded wife or the helpless child. A close analysis of sub-section (8) of Section 488 Cr.P.C. would show that proceedings under this section could be taken either in the district where the husband resides or he 'is' in the district at the time of filing of the petition or where he last resided with his wife. Thus, the wife or the child could choose one of these three forums. The words 'in any district' do not mean in any court in any district where the husband resides and therefore. Section 488(8) Cr.P.C. will have to be read in conjunction with Section 12 Cr.P.C. Section 12 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that the State Government may appoint as many persons as it thinks fit, besides the District Magistrate, to be Magistrates of the first second or third class in any district outside the presidency towns; and the State Government or the District Magistrate, subject to the control of the State Government may from time to time, define local areas within which such persons may exercise all or any of the powers with which they may respectively be invested under this Code. Therefore, I am not in agreement with the contention advanced by the learned advocate for the respondents that the words 'in any district' appearing in sub-sec. (8) of Section 488 Cr.P.C. would mean any court in any district. The learned advocate for the respondents relies upon a ruling of the Bombay High Court reported in Shantabai v. Vishnupant AIR 1965 Bom 107 = (1965 (2) Cri LJ 73). In the said ruling the Bombay High Court had held that the express use of the word 'district' should not be given any meaning different from the normal connotation of that word and in view of the express use of the words 'any district where he (husband) resides' it cannot be limited only to a court within that district within whose jurisdiction the husband resides. In my opinion, it would be stretching the intention of the Legislature too far by importing the word 'Court' in sub-section (8) of Section 488 Cr.P.C. to read 'any court in any district'. If the Legislature had intended that the application under Section 488 Cr.P.C. could be filed in any court in any district in which the husband resides it would have very clearly stated so; but, non mention of the words "any court in any district" would show that the Legislature intended that the application should be filed only in the court in a district within whose jurisdiction the husband resides. I am supported in my view by a Judgment of the Madras High Court reported in Sakuntala v. Thirumalayya (1966) 2 Mad LJ 326 and also by a decision of Justice A. D. V. Reddy, in Cr.R.C. 396 of 1969 disposed of on 23-4-1970 = Reported in ILR (1974) Andh Pra 246.
5. I, therefore, allow this revision, set aside the orders of the lower courts and hold that the Judicial First Class Magistrate at Nizamabad is the proper court in which the application under S. 488 Cr.P.C. should be filed by the respondents. The application should be returned to the respondents to be filed in the court of the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Nizamabad.