Question : Can an offence committed outside India, be tried in India under Indian criminal law (IPC, Cr. PC)? Explain in the light of case law.

Section 188 Code of Criminal Procedure provide that Indian courts are empowered to deal with an offence, committed outside India, if it is committed

  • by a citizen of India weather on high seas or elsewhere.
  • Person not being such citizen on any ship or aircraft registered in India, with the previous sanction of Central Government.

In this regard section 3 of Indian Penal Code provides as:

“Any person liable, by any Indian law, to be tried for an offence committed beyond India shall be dealt with according to the provisions of this Code for any act committed beyond India in the same manner as if such act had been committed within India.”

Then section 4 of Indian Penal Code provides as:

The provisions of this Code apply also to any offence committed by-

(1) Any citizen of India in any place without and beyond India.

(2) Any person on any ship or aircraft registered in India wherever it may be;

(3) Any person in any place without and beyond India committing offence targeting a computer resource located in India.

Explanation. In this section-

(a) The word “offence” includes every act committed outside India which, if committed in India, would be punishable under this Code;

(b) the expression “computer resource” shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause(k) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Information Technology Act,2000. (21 of 2000).

Explanation. In this section the word “offence” includes every act committed outside India which, if committed in India, would be punishable under this Code.


A, who is a citizen of India, commits a murder in Uganda. He can be tried and convicted of murder in any place in India in which he may be found.

It will be evident from the above that a person liable by any Indian law to be tried for any offence committed beyond India is to be dealt with under the provisions of the Code, having regard to the fact that the provisions of the Code would also apply to any offence committed by any citizen of India in any place within and beyond India.

In Fatma Bibi Ahmed Patel v. State of Gujarat, AIR 2008 SC 2392, it was observed that in our constitutional scheme, all laws made by Parliament primarily are applicable only within the country. Ordinarily, therefore, all persons who commit a crime in India can be tried in any place where the offence is committed. Section 4 of the Indian Penal Code, however, extends the scope of applicability of the territorial jurisdiction of the court of India to try a case, the cause of action of which took place outside the geographical limits. Parliament indisputably may enact a legislation having extra territorial application but the same must be applied subject to fulfilment of the requirements contained therein.

Similarly, in Om Hemrajani v. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 2005 SC 392, while explaining the scope of section 188 of Criminal Procedure Code, Apex Court, has observed as:

“The scheme underlying section 188 is to dispel any objection or plea of want of jurisdiction at the behest of a fugitive who has committed an offence in any other country. If such a person is found anywhere in India. the offence can be inquired into and tried by any Court that may be approached by the victim. victim who has suffered at the hands of the accused on a foreign land can complain about the offence to a Court, otherwise competent, which he may find convenient. The convenience is of the victim and not that of the accused. It is not the requirement of section 188 that the victim shall state in the complaint as to which place the accused may be found.  It is enough to allege the accused may be found in India. The Court where the complaint may be filed and the accused either appears voluntarily pursuant to issue of process or is brought before it involuntarily in execution of warrants would be the competent Court within the meaning of section 188 of the Code as that Court would find the accused before him when he appears. The finding has to be by the Court. It has neither to be by the complainant nor by the Police. The section deems the offence to be committed within the jurisdiction of the Court where the accused may be found.”