1. This is a petn. on behalf of the accused for the grant of leave to appeal to S.C . under Article 134 (1)(c), Const. Ind, According to the provisions of Article 134 (1)(c) it is necessary that this Ct. should certify that the case is a fit one for appeal to S. C, Mr. Rahman, counsel on behalf of the accused, argues that as no rules have bean framed either by this Ct. or by S.C. under Article 145, Clause (d), Const. Ind. no restrictions or limitations can be placed & the petnr. would be entitled to a certificate in view of the fact that the petnr, is sentenced to death. Further, he contends that before the Const, came into force there was no statutory right of appeal in or. cases while after the passing of the Const. Ind. the right to appeal is not only extended but in Criminal cases the accused has got a statutory right to appeal, In this connection, it was further argued that in so far as the right to appeal is concerned there is no distinction in or. or civ, appeals. The only point to be considered for grant; of certificate is whether there is a substantial question of law involved & the case is a fit one for appeal to S.C.
2. Mr. Rajaram Iyer, on behalf of Govt., contends that though no rules have been framed by this Ct. or by S.C. but S.C. in a recent case, Pritam Singh v. The State, a. I. B. (87) 1950 S.C. 169: (51 Cr. L.J. 1270), has laid down certain principles in connection with the grant of leave to appeal which are useful as furnishing a sound basis in considering the petn. From a perusal of this ruling, we find that S. 0. has laid down that it will not grant a special leave for appeal in or. cases unless it is shown that exceptional & special circumstances exist, that substantial & grave injustice has been done, & that the case in question presents features of sufficient gravity to warrant a review of the decision appealed against, as it would be opposed to all principles and precedents if S.C. were to constitute itself into a third Ct. of fact & after reweighing the evidence, come to a conclusion different from that arrived at by the trial Judge & H. 0. These principles, in our opinion, are not only binding on us according to the provisions of Article 141 of the Const. Ind., but are useful as furnishing a Bound basis in considering the petn. Mr. Rahman on behalf of the accused, argues that what S. C, laid down in Pritam Singh v. The State : 1950CriLJ1270 is nothing new & it applies to the powers of S. G. & not H. C., & as such it does not in any way affect the powers of H. C. In this connection, he contended that the older P.C. decisions were also to that effect, bat in spite of it appeals were admitted and decided by P.C. on merits. We do not agree with the contention of the learned Counsel. In this connection, we would like to make a few observations relating to the powers of this Ct. to grant leave to appeal in or. oases.
3. The relevant Articles of the Const, dealing with the appellate jurisdiction of S.C. are Articles 132 - 136. Article 132 applies both to Civ, & Cr. cases, & it lays down that an appeal shall lie to S.C. from any judgment, decree or final order of H. C....whether in a Civ., Cr. or other proceedings, if H. C. certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Const, Article 133 deals with the appellate jurisdiction of S.C. in Civ. matters only & it is on the lines of Sections 109 & 110, C. P.C. Article 134 (1)(c) constitutes S.C. as a Ct. of Cr. appeal, but this right of appeal is restricted to a limited class of cases only & does not imply that an appeal would lie to S.C. as a matter of course or right but in oases specified therein. Article 135 merely provides that 8. C. shall have jurisdiction & powers with respect to any matter to which Articles 133 & 134 do not apply if jurisdiction & powers in relation to that matter were exercisable by F. C. immediately before the commencement of the Const, under any existing law. Article 136 relates to special leave to appeal by 8. C. This article is general & is not confined to merely cr. cases as the words used are 'appeal from any judgment, decree, sentence, or order', but as we are not concerned with this Article , we do not wish to discuss the same in detail.
4. On a careful examination of the above Articles it seems clear that wide discretionary powers are given under them. It does not, however, follow from this that such powers should be exercised in all cases, but they have to be exercised sparingly & in exceptional cases or where special circumstances are shown to exist. The P.C. has tried to lay down from time to time certain principles for granting leave in or, cases. In Riel v. The Queen (1885) 10 A. 0. 675 : (55 L.J.P.C. 28) Lord Halsbury, while delivering the judgment of their Lordships of P.C. pointed out that the leave to appeal in crl. cases would only be given where some clear departure from the requirements of justice is alleged to have taken place. In re A. M. Dillet (1887) 12 a. C. 459: (56 L. t. 615), it was observed that Her Majesty would not review cr. proceedings unless it be shown that by disregard of the forms of legal process or by violation of principles of natural justice or otherwise substantial & grave injustice has been done. In Ibrahim v. King-Emperor, 1914 a. C. 599 : A.I.R. (1) 1914 P.C. 155 : (15 Cr. L.J. 326), it was observed that the ground for His Majesty's interference in or. matters is the violation of principles of natural justice. In Dalsingh v. King-Emperor, 44 Cal. 876 : A.I.R. (4) 1917 P.C. 25: (18 Cr. L.J. 471), it was observed that a mere mistake on the part of the Cts.. below, as for example, the admission of improper evidence will not suffice if it has not ltd to injustice of a grave character, nor would the Judicial Committee advise interference merely because they themselves would have taken a different view of the evidence admitted; such questions are as a general rule treated as being for final decision of the Cts. below. In Ex parte Maccrea, 20 I. a. 90: (15 all. 310 P.C.), it was held that although in very special & exceptional circumstances leave to appeal in or. cases may be granted misdirection by a Judge either in leaving a case to a Jury where there is no evidence or founded on an incorrect construction of the Penal Code even if established is insufficient for that purpose, especially where no miscarriage of justice has resulted. In Tabasingh v. Emperor, a I. R. (12) 1925 P.C. 59 : (26 cr. L.J. 391), their Lordships held that unless there has been some violation of the principles of justice or some disregard of legal principles leave to appeal in or. cases cannot be granted. In Mohinder Singh v. Emperor A.I.R. (19) 1932 P.C. 234 : (34 Cr. L.J. 18) and in Otto George G. Feller v. The King A. I. B. (30) 1943 P.C. 211: (45 Cr. L.J. 241), it was observed that in order to interfere with a or. sentence there must be something so irregular & so outrageous as to shock the very basis of justice, & that misdirection as such, even irregularity as such, will not suffice & there must be something which in the particular ease deprived the accused of a substance of a fair trial & protection of the law. In Kapildeo v. The King A. I. R, (37) 1960 F. C. 80 : (51 Cr. L.J. 1057), their Lordships have held that though F. C, is no longer bound by P.C., practice & precedents, it does not depart from the principles which have been laid down by it defining the limits. In a recent case, Pritam Singh v. The State : 1950CriLJ1270 , their Lord. ships of S. C, taking a similar view, have held that though they are not bound by P.C. practice & precedents, it sees no reason to depart from the principles which have been laid down by it defining the limits within which interference. In the course of criminal justice dispensed in the subordinate Cts., is warranted. Thus, it is clear that though S. C, has held that they are not bound by the principles & precedents of P.C., yet have followed these principles as they furnish a sound basis for the exercise of discretion in granting special leave. As far as this Ct., is concerned, this decision of S.C., in enunciating the principles is binding. In the light of the principles laid down by S.C., we would consider whether the present case can be brought within the ambit of these principles. Mr. liahman argues that these principles may be good for rejecting the appeal, but cannot be good for rejecting the petn., for grant of certificate. We do not agree. The39 are the guiding principles . & would be applicable to both.
5. In the present petn., the argument is that the petnr has been sentenced to death; he has been deprived of a substance of fair trial, that the prosecution suppressed evidence from oblique motives, that the offences alleged were committed in the lawful exercise of official duties, that the burden was wrongly assessed, that the conviction was based on the uncorroborated testimony of persons held to be accomplices which cannot be said to be the only inference of guilt. Similar arguments were advanced by the petnr. in the appeal & we have held that the accused had a fair trial, there was no question of suppression of any evidence by oblique motive, the order to open fire on the villagers was not in good faith & justified, & thus there does not seem to be any question of substantial law involved but one relating to the question of the appreciation of evidence.
6. Mr. Rahman, learned Counsel for the petar., argues that on the basis of appreciation of evidence also, P.C., has interfered in various cases. Our attention was drawn to Vaithinatha V. Emperor, 36 Mad. 501: (40I.A.193 P.C); Mahadeo v. The King A.I.R. (23) 1936 P.C. 248: (37 Cr. L.J. 914); Eric Reginold Charles Alexander Strologo v. The King, a. I. R (32) 1945 P.C. 46; (46 Or, L.J. 620) and Brij Bhusan v. Emperor A.I.R. (33) 1946 P.C. 38 : (47 Cr. L.J. 336). In Vaithinatha v. Emperor, 36 Mad. 501: (40 I, a. 193 P. C), their Lordships have laid down the game principle that special leave to appeal in or. oases may be granted where
by some disregard of the forms of legal process or by some violation of the principles of natural justice, or otherwise, some substautial & grave in justice has been done.
but in the case as their Lordships came to the conclusion that injustice of the kind mentioned above bad been done inasmuch as a vast body of inadmissible evidence, hearsay and other, had been admitted, which prejudiced the applt., they allowed the appeal. The present case does not disclose any such facts. In Eric Reginald Charles Alexander Strologo v. The King, A.I R. (32) 1945 P.C. 46 : (46 Cr. L.J. 620), their Lordships having found that the conviction has resulted from regarding as criminal an act which is unauthorised by law, thus amounting to a breach of natural justice, interfered in the appeal. No such thing has been pointed out in the present case. In Brij Bhusan Singh v. Emperor A.I.R. (33) 1946 P.C. 38 (47 Cr. L.J. 336), their Lordships of P.C., have quashed the judgment of the Ota. below & allowed the appeal of the accused, but it cannot be said that it was solely on the question of the appreciation of evidence. In that case it has been pointed out by their Lordships that P.C. normally refuses to reject the view which H. Ct. or the Chief Ct. took of the evidence & to consider themselves the evidence in detail, & it is their usual practice to accept the appreciation of evidence reached by the Ct. from which the appeal is brought, but in the case as the Chief Ct., had based its judgment on the statements made by some witnesses under Section 164, Cr. P.C., as substantive evidence of the truth of the facts stated, their Lordships were of the opinion that it was impossible to say that the only legitimate inference to be drawn could be of the guilt of the accused & allowed the appeal. The case of Mahadeo v. The King A.I.R. (23) 1936 P.C. 242 : (37 Cr. L. J, 914), does not also help the contention of the learned Counsel. In this case, their Lordships have held that although their Lordships of P.C., would not ordinarily interfere in the cr. appeal, they would do so where it appears that there has been a conviction for murder although there is no material for conviction for murder, as opposed to manslaughter, and the trial was so conducted as to exhibit neglect of conduct of fundamental rules of practice necessary for due protection of persons and the safe administration of criminal justice, and having coma to this conclusion their Lordships allowed the appeal. In all these cases, the same principle is laid down, but as their Lordships felt that it fell within the ambit of these principles they interfered. In a recent case, Suka v. The King A.I.R. (37) 1950 P.C . 72: (52 Cr. L.J. 508) their Lordships of P.C., having held that where there was evidence upon which the trial Ct, could find the applt., guilty of the crime with which he is charged though another tribunal might have come to a different conclusion upon it, it is the established practice of P. C , not to interfere with the decisions of the Cts., in India. Thus their Lordships refused to interfere on the question of appreciation of evidence. From what has been discussed above, it is clear that oven an interference on the appreciation of evidence is only done when the trial Ct, exhibits a neglect of fundamental rules of practice and the safe administration of criminal justice or it amounts to a breach of natural justice. In our opinion, the present case does not come within the ambit of the principles laid down as the questions involved in the case all relate to the appreciation of evidence and the trial Ct., and this Ct. are concurrent on the question of facts and there is no substantial question of law and no sufficient gravity to warrant a view of the judgment. Thus we are not inclined to grant leave to appeal to the S. 0. The petition is, therefore, rejected.