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Chandrabali and anr. Vs. State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1979CriLJ1218
AppellantChandrabali and anr.
RespondentState
Excerpt:
- - state (supra). in view of this pronouncement the opinion expressed in the majority judgment in raj narain's case, is no longer good law. this case is clearly distinguishable inasmuch as no prayer for adjournment was made on behalf of the appellant and in the circumstances of the case the judgment passed by hon'ble s......these appeals came up for hearing before hon'ble s. k. kaul, j. on 28-2-1978. on that date the learned counsel appearing on behalf of sham-shuddin argued the case on his behalf. the counsel who was representing applicant ram surat and chandra bali did not put in appearance. chandrabali and applicant ram surat were not present in the court personally also. no prayer for adjournment of the case was also made on behalf of the applicant ram surat and chandra bali. after hearing the learned counsel appearing for shamshuddin and going through the record of the case, hon'ble s. k. kaul, j. allowed the appeal of shamshuddin and set aside his conviction and sentence. the learned judge considered the case of applicant on merits and found that the conviction and sentence recorded against him by.....
Judgment:

S.C. Mathur, J.

1. This is an application purporting to be under Section 482 of the Cr. P.C. for recalling of the judgment dated 23rd February 1978 made by Hon'ble S. K. Kaul, J. in Criminal Appeal No. 434 of 1976 whereby he dismissed the appeal of applicant Ram Surat against his conviction and sentence recorded by the learned IV Additional District Judge, Kheri by his judgment and order dated 13th March, 1976.

2. Applicant Ram Surat was tried along with Chandra Bali and Shamsud-din in the court of the learned IV Addl. Sessions Judge, Kheri. All the three accused persons were found guilty of the offence punishable under Section 395 of the I.P.C. The learned Sessions Judge by his order referred to above sentenced them to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years. Against this judgment and order two appeals were preferred in this Court. Criminal Appeal No. 428 of 1976 was preferred by Shamsuddin while Criminal Appeal No. 434 of 1976 was preferred by Chandrabali and applicant Ram Surat. Both these appeals came up for hearing before Hon'ble S. K. Kaul, J. on 28-2-1978. On that date the learned Counsel appearing on behalf of Sham-shuddin argued the case on his behalf. The counsel who was representing applicant Ram Surat and Chandra Bali did not put in appearance. Chandrabali and applicant Ram Surat were not present in the Court personally also. No prayer for adjournment of the case was also made on behalf of the applicant Ram Surat and Chandra Bali. After hearing the learned Counsel appearing for Shamshuddin and going through the record of the case, Hon'ble S. K. Kaul, J. allowed the appeal of Shamshuddin and set aside his conviction and sentence. The learned Judge considered the case of applicant on merits and found that the conviction and sentence recorded against him by the learned court below was merited. Some observation was made in respect of Chandrabali also.

3. After the two appeals had been deposed of in the manner indicated hereinabove; the present application under Section 482 of the Cr. P.C. was made on behalf of Ram Surat alone.

4. In this application it has been asserted that the counsel for the applicant had come to court on the date the appeal was fixed for hearing but in court he received information that his son had met with an accident and had suffered injuries. This information perplexed the counsel who immediately rushed home from where he intended to send message to this Court. The condition of the son was serious and the learned Counsel could not get any one to convey the message to this Court. On this basis it is asserted that the cause for non-appearance of the counsel and the applicant on the date of hearing was sufficient and, therefore the applicant was entitled to rehearing of the case. It has also been asserted that the case of the applicant stood on the same footing as that of Shamsuddin who had the benefit of having his case argued by a counsel and he, therefore, got acquittal from the charges levelled against him.

5. The above application has been opposed by the learned Government Advocate who asserted that the application was beyond the scope of Section 482 of the Cr. P.C. The learned Counsel argued that once the judgment of this Court had been signed the same could not be reviewed as there was no provision in the Code in that behalf. The learned Counsel further argued that in view of the provision contained in Section 362 of the Cr. P.C. 1973, the judgment of the court became final and could be altered or reviewed only to correct a clerical or arithmetical error, no clerical or arithmatical error having been pointed out in the application, the inherent jurisdiction of this Court could, not be invoked. The learned Government Advocate contends that to review the judgment in exercise of the inherent powers of this Court would be contrary to the specific provision contained in Section 362 of the Code.

6. The scope of Section 561A of the Cr. P.C. 1898 came to be considered by a Full Bench of this Court in the case of Raj Narain v. State : AIR1959All315 . Mootham C.J. who delivered the minority judgment was of the view that once the judgment had been signed the court became functus officio and has no power to revoke, review, recall or alter the same. He was of the view that altering or reviewing or recalling or revoking the judgment would be inconsistent with the principle of finality embodied in Section 430 of the Code. It is obvious that inherent jurisdiction of the court cannot be invoked so as to nullify the effect of a specific statutory provision. The majority judgment, however, expressed a different opinion. The Judges delivering the majority judgment were of the view that this Court could review its judgment if the conditions prescribed under Section 561-A of the Code were fulfilled. The learned Judges enumerated these conditions as follows:

(i) for the purpose of giving effect to any order passed under the Cr. P.C.

(ii) for the purpose of preventing abuse of the process of any Court.

(iii) for otherwise securing the ends of justice.

It may be mentioned that before the Full Bench some argument was advanced with reference to Section 369 of the Code. In respect of this provision it was observed in the majority judgments that the same was not applicable to judgments of the High Court. Taking this view the learned Judges observed that the bar against altering the judgment created by Section 369 of the Code could not be applied to judgments of the High Court and, therefore, the High Court could, in exercise of its inherent powers review or alter its judgment if the conditions referred to hereinabove were fulfilled.

7. The scope of Section 561A of the old Code came up for consideration before their Lordships of the Supreme Court recently in the case of State of Orissa v. Ram Chander Agarwal : 1979CriLJ33 . Their Lordships were of the view that Section 369 of the Code was not restricted to the judgments of the trial court alone. Their Lordships were of the view that Section 369 was general in its application and prohibited all courts from altering or reviewing, their judgment once it had been signed. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court in taking this view referred with approval to the observations made by Mootham C.J. in Raj Narain v. State (supra). In view of this pronouncement the opinion expressed in the majority judgment in Raj Narain's case, is no longer good law.

It will, therefore, have to be held that the bar against altering of judgments prescribed under Section 369 of the Code applies also to the judgments delivered by this Court in exercise of its appellate or revisional jurisdiction. Referring to the scope of Section 561-A of the old Code, their Lordships observed that the same could not be invoked for exercise of a power which was specifically prohibited by the Code. With these observations their Lordships of the Supreme Court set aside the judgment of the High Court of Orissa which had reviewed its earlier judgment and substituted the substantive sentence of imprisonment with fine.

8. It may be pointed out that even if there was any ambiguity regarding the applicability of Section 369 of the Code to judgments passed by this Court the same has been completely removed by the provision made in Section 362 of the new Code viz. Cr. P.C. 1973. Section 352 of the new Code provides as follows:

Save as otherwise provided by this Code or by any other law for the time being in force, no court, when it has signed its judgment or final order disposing of a case, shall alter or review the same except to correct a clerical or arithmatical error.

Section 369 of the old Code provided as follows:

Save as otherwise provided by this Code or by any other law for the time being in force, or in the case of a High Court, by the Letters Patent or other instrument constituting such High Court, no court when it has signed its judgment, shall alter or review the same, except to correct a clerical error.

Thus under Section 362 of the new Code a judgment which has been signed can be altered or reviewed only for correcting a clerical or arithmetical error. No such error has been pointed out in present petition and, therefore, the judgment passed by Hon'ble S.K. Kaul, J. cannot be altered, reviewed or substituted. The same view was taken by V.N. Varma. J. in Badri Prasad Rastogi v. State of U.P. 1979 All LJ 59 we are in respectful agreement with the view taken by the learned Judge.

9. We may also point out that in the Full Bench case of Raj Narain (supra) it was observed in the majority judgment that Section 561 A, did not authorise this Court to rehear a case where the applicant or appellant was not heard due to some fault of his or his counsel. Thus the applicant cannot gel any assistance even from the majority judgment in Raj Narain's case (supra) which on this point has not been overruled by their Lordships of the Supreme Court. Thus the applicant in the case on hand will not be entitled to claim rehearing even if we were to hold that the applicant could invoke inherent jurisdiction of this Court reserved under Section 482 of the Cr. P.C.

10. Our attention was drawn to the judgment rendered by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in Criminal Appeal No. 425 of 1976 (Kunha v. State of Uttar Pradesh). In this case their Lordships of the Supreme Court set aside the judgment of this Court on the ground that the appeal had not been disposed of by this Court fairly and in accordance with law. In this case when the appeal was listed for hearing before a learned Single Judge of this Court, a slip was received from the appellant's counsel that the counsel was ill and that the hearing of the case be adjourned. This request for adjournment was rejected by the learned single Judge, who after perusal of the record decided the case on merits. The learned Judge found that the conviction recorded by the learned court below was justified. He, however, reduced the sentence from seven years' R. I. to five years' R. I. It was against this judgment and order of the learned Judge that Kunha preferred appeal before their Lordships of the Supreme Court. Before their Lordships of the Supreme Court it was urged on behalf of the appellant that according to the practice prevailing in this Court a case was adjourned when an illness slip was received from the counsel. Accepting that this practice prevailed in this Court, their Lordships were of the view that in the circumstances of the case it could not be said that the appellant had been given opportunity of hearing when the illness slip of his counsel was rejected. The basis of this judgment as is discernible from the terms thereof is that the judgment was non est inasmuch as it had been delivered without giving opportunity of hearing to the appellant or his counsel which according to the practice of this Court should have been given. This case is clearly distinguishable inasmuch as no prayer for adjournment was made on behalf of the appellant and in the circumstances of the case the judgment passed by Hon'ble S.K. Kaul, J. cannot be said to be nullity or non est.

11. In view of the above the application is rejected.


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