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Gurbax Singh and anr. Vs. the State of Punjab and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1974CriLJ426
AppellantGurbax Singh and anr.
RespondentThe State of Punjab and ors.
Cases ReferredKraipak v. Union of India
Excerpt:
.....325, 324, 148 and 149, indian penal code, and convicted of these offences on june 18, 1971. in appeal, the learned additional sessions judge, amritsar, observed that the first information report was lodged with undue delay -and that the prosecution witnesses failed to give a proper explanation of the injuries sustained by mangal singh respondent. consequently, a complainant cannot complain that the principles of natural justice are violated when a convict is acquitted in appeal in cognizable cases. 5. i may, however, add that in a suitable case it may be proper for an appellate court to hear a complainant or an injured witness who has been awarded compensation by the learned trial magistrate, but the orders of acquittal passed by it cannot be set aside in exercise of revisional..........325, 324, 148 and 149, indian penal code, and convicted of these offences on june 18, 1971. in appeal, the learned additional sessions judge, amritsar, observed that the first information report was lodged with undue delay -and that the prosecution witnesses failed to give a proper explanation of the injuries sustained by mangal singh respondent. on these grounds, the learned additional sessions judge, gave the benefit of doubt to the respondents and allowed their appeal. gurbax singh and surta singh who were the injured witnesses have filed a revision petition against the acquittal of the respondents.2. the learned counsel for the petitioners has urged that gurbax singh suffered 9 injuries and surta singh suffered four injuries in the course of this incident. mangal singh respondent.....
Judgment:
ORDER

M.R. Sharma, J.

1. The respondents were tried by the learned Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Amritsar, for offences under Sections 326, 325, 324, 148 and 149, Indian Penal Code, and convicted of these offences on June 18, 1971. In appeal, the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Amritsar, observed that the first information report was lodged with undue delay -and that the prosecution witnesses failed to give a proper explanation of the injuries sustained by Mangal Singh respondent. On these grounds, the learned Additional Sessions Judge, gave the benefit of doubt to the respondents and allowed their appeal. Gurbax Singh and Surta Singh who were the injured witnesses have filed a revision petition against the acquittal of the respondents.

2. The learned Counsel for the petitioners has urged that Gurbax Singh suffered 9 injuries and Surta Singh suffered four injuries in the course of this incident. Mangal Singh respondent who was arrayed as an accused person before the learned trial Magistrate suffered two contused wounds only which were some- how or other not explained by the prosecution witnesses. He has also urged that because the injured witnesses were unable to make a statement earlier, the delay in lodging the first information report should not have been considered as a material circumstance. It was submitted that these grounds were not sufficient to warrant a finding of acquittal. I am afraid, I cannot agree with this submission. The learned Additional Sessions Judge was the final Court of fact and the reasons given by him for disbelieving the prosecution story are not irrelevant. Because of the acquittal of the respondents, the presumption of innocence in their favour stands augmented. Such a finding cannot be interfered with in revision.

3. It was then argued by the learned Counsel that the learned trial Magistrate had ordered that out of the fine, if realized, Rs. 300/- were to be given to Gurbax Singh and Rs. 200/- were to be given to Surta Singh petitioners. At the hearing of the appeal, no notice was given to the injured witnesses and that, since the respondents have been acquitted, the benefit accruing to the petitioners in the shape of compensation awarded to them has been denied to them without affording them a proper hearing. In support of this contention, he has relied upon Hiralal Bhagwanji v. Kantilal Rangildas (1971) 12 Guj LR 446; Emperor v. Chunilal Bhagwanji 201 Ind Cas 710 : 43 Cri LJ 765 (Bom); Balwant Ganesh v. Motilal Nathuram AIR 1936 Nag 144 : 38 Cri LJ 76; Bharasa Now v. Sukdeo AIR 1926 Cal 1054 : 27 Cri LJ 1086; and Sunil Kr. Ghosh v. Ajit Kr. Das 73 Cal WN 212 : 1969 Cri LJ 1234. It has been held in these cases that it would be proper to allow a complainant a hearing at the time of appeal; On this basis, it was urged that the acquittal of the respondents be set aside and the case be remitted to the learned trial Court for a fresh decision in accordance with law. In my considered opinion, this contention raised by the learned Counsel is also without any force. In cognizable cases, it is the State which is the aggrieved party and the Criminal Procedure Code does not provide that a private complainant should be heard in appeal against out of the trial of such cases. A criminal Court while recording conviction of an accused has the discretion to grant compensation for any loss or injury caused by the offence, under Section 545 (b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, but a private complainant has no right to insist that compensation must under all circumstances be awarded to him. When an accused files an appeal against his conviction, the entire case is re-opened in appeal. The effect of the judgment of acquittal passed by an appellate Court is that the conviction recorded by the trial Magistrate becomes non-existent in the eyes of law; in other words, when a conviction is set aside, the effect which flows out of such a conviction, namely, the award of compensation to a complainant, also disappears. When compensation is awarded to a complainant, it is always subject to the right of appeal which vests in the convict. This grant of compensation cannot be regarded as a vested right. Consequently, a complainant cannot complain that the principles of natural justice are violated when a convict is acquitted in appeal in cognizable cases. In Union of India v. J. N. Sinha 1970 Serv LR 748 : : (1970)IILLJ284SC , it was observed by the Supreme Court as under:

As observed by this Court in Kraipak v. Union of India : [1970]1SCR457 , 'the aim of rules of natural justice is to secure justice or to put it negatively to prevent miscarriage of justice. These rules can operate only in areas not convered by any law validly made. In other words they do not supplant the law but supplement it.' It is true that if a statutory provision can be read consistently with the principles of natural justice, the Courts should do so because it must be presumed that the legislatures and the statutory authorities intend to act in accordance with the principles of natural justice. But if on the other hand a statutory provision either specifically or by necessary implication excludes the application of any or all the principles of natural justice then the Court cannot ignore the mandate of the legislature or the statutory authority and read into the concerned provision the principles of natural justice. Whether the exercise of a power conferred should be made in accordance with any of the principles of natural justice or not depends upon the express words of the provision conferring the power, the nature of the power conferred, the purposes for which it is conferred and the effect of the exercise of that powers.

4. Section 545 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was brought on the statute tapok in 1898. The Code was amended on many occasions subsequently. By Section 84 of the Criminal Procedure Code Amendment Act, 1955, Section 417 of the Code was re-cast and a private complainant was for the first time given the right to file an application for leave to appeal against the orders of acquittal passed in a private complaint. This shows that the Legislature was alive to the question regarding the conferment of some rights on the private complainants and yet Section 545 of the Code was allowed to remain as it was originally enacted. A careful reading of these provisions shows that the Legislature has by implication indicated that a private complainant has no right of being heard in ah appeal filed by an accused in a cognizable case. In view of these circumstances, the order of acquittal passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge cannot be regarded as illegal.

5. I may, however, add that in a suitable case it may be proper for an appellate Court to hear a complainant or an injured witness who has been awarded compensation by the learned trial Magistrate, but the orders of acquittal passed by it cannot be set aside in exercise of revisional powers, only on the ground that it failed to hear an injured witness who had been awarded compensation under Section 545 (b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. There is no merit in this petition and the same is dismissed.


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