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SATYA PAL SINGH Versus STATE OF M.P. AND ORS.

2015 (10) TMI 2483 - SUPREME COURT

Acquittal of accused - Held that:- The High Court in a very mechanical way has stated that after a perusal of the evidence on record it found no reason to interfere with the decision of the trial court as the prosecution has failed to establish the charges levelled against the accused beyond reasonable doubt and it has dismissed the appeal by passing a cryptic order. This Court is of the view that the High Court, being the Appellate Court, has to exercise its appellate jurisdiction keeping in vi .....

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al by the appellant as required under sub-Section (3) to Section 378 of Cr.P.C. and thereafter proceed in the matter

For the reasons stated supra, this appeal is allowed by setting aside the impugned judgment and order of the High Court. The case is remanded to the High Court to hear the appellant with regard to grant of leave to file an appeal as the appellant is legal heir of the victim as defined under Section 2(wa) of Cr.P.C. and dispose of the appeal in accordance with law in the .....

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Sessions Court, Bhind, M.P. (the trial court) in Sessions Case No. 293/2010 by acquitting all the accused i.e. respondent nos. 2 to 6 herein. 3. The appellant herein made a written complaint dated 19.07.2010 regarding the death of his daughter, Ranjana (hereinafter referred to as the deceased ) to the Addl. Superintendent of Police, Bhind, M.P. The FIR was registered on 27.07.2010. The trial court after the examination of evidence on record passed the judgment and order dated 13.06.2013 acquitt .....

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he trial court s decision of acquittal of all the accused persons. The impugned judgment and order of the High Court is challenged in this appeal before this Court questioning its correctness. 4. Being aggrieved of the impugned judgment and order the appellant being the legal heir of the deceased filed an appeal before the High Court under proviso to Section 372 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short the Cr.P.C. ). The High Court, however, has mechanically disposed of the appeal by p .....

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Full Bench, after interpreting the proviso to Section 372 read with Section 2(wa) of the Cr.P.C., has held that the father of the victim has locus standi to prefer an appeal, being a private party coming under the definition of victim under Section 2(wa) of the Cr.P.C. It was contended by him that in the instant case, the appellant, being father of the deceased, has locus standi to file an appeal before the High Court against the order of acquittal under proviso to Section 372 without seeking th .....

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sions of Cr.P.C. 6. The learned counsel for the appellant drew the attention of this Court towards the decision rendered by Delhi High Court in the case referred to supra, wherein it has elaborately adverted to the definition of victim as defined under Section 2(wa) of Cr.P.C. and proviso to Section 372 of Cr.P.C. and has examined them in the light of their legislative history. It has also adverted to 154th Law Commission Report of 1996 in connection with the said legal provision of Cr.P.C. and .....

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as it is his statutory right to prefer an appeal against the order of acquittal of all accused persons in view of proviso to Section 372 of Cr.P.C. 7. It was further urged by him that the High Court ought to have granted the leave to the appellant to file an appeal by the appellant as required under sub-Section (3) of Section 378 of Cr.P.C. and thereafter it ought to have examined and disposed of the appeal on merits. 8. He further vehemently contended that the appeal before the High Court was f .....

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entions urged in the memorandum of appeal but it has failed to do so. The High Court in a very cursory and casual manner has held that after a perusal of evidence on record it found no reason to interfere with the decision of the trial court as the prosecution has failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the charges levelled against all the accused are proved and it has dismissed the appeal by passing a cryptic order, which amounts to non-exercise of appellate jurisdiction properly by th .....

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ch strong reliance is placed by the learned counsel for the appellant. There is no doubt that the appellant, being the father of the deceased, has locus standi to prefer an appeal before the High Court under proviso to Section 372 of Cr.P.C. as he falls within the definition of victim as defined under Section 2(wa) of Cr.P.C. to question the correctness of the judgment and order of acquittal passed by the trial court in favour of respondent nos. 2 to 6 in Sessions Case No. 293/2010. 10. The prov .....

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Section 372 of Cr.P.C. by Act No. 5 of 2009 with effect from 31.12.2009. The relevant provision of Section 372 of Cr.P.C. reads thus: 372. No appeal shall lie from any judgment or order of a Criminal Court except as provided for by this Code or by any other law for the time being in force: Provided that the victim shall have a right to prefer an appeal against any order passed by the Court acquitting the accused or convicting for a lesser offence or imposing inadequate compensation, and such ap .....

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rantcases, compounding of offences and special protection in respect of women and inquiry and trial of persons of unsound mind. Further, the Law Commission in its report has noted the relevant aspect of the matter namely that the victims are the worst sufferers in a crime and they do not have much role in the Court proceedings. They need to be given certain rights and compensation so that there is no distortion of the criminal justice system. The said report of the Law Commission has also taken .....

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ed to confer the statutory right upon the victim to prefer an appeal before the High Court against acquittal order, or an order convicting the accused for the lesser offence or against the order imposing inadequate compensation. 11. The Full Bench of the High Court of Delhi after examining the relevant provisions under Section 2(wa) and proviso to Section 372 of Cr.P.C., in the light of their legislative history has held that the right to prefer an appeal conferred upon the victim or relatives o .....

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at no appeal shall lie from any judgment and order of a Criminal Court except as provided for by Cr.P.C. Further, sub-Section (3) to Section 378 of Cr.P.C. provides that for preferring an appeal to the High Court against an order of acquittal it is necessary to obtain its leave. We have to refer to the rules of interpretation of statutes to find out what is the effect of the proviso to Section 372 of Cr.P.C., it is well established that the proviso of a statute must be given an interpretation li .....

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dent enactment. Words are dependent on the principal enacting words to which they are tacked as a proviso. They cannot be read as divorced from their context (Thompson v. Dibdin, 1912 AC 533). If the rule of construction is that prima facie a proviso should be limited in its operation to the subject-matter of the enacting clause, the stand we have taken is sound. To expand the enacting clause, inflated by the proviso, sins against the fundamental rule of construction that a proviso must be consi .....

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f proviso to the substantive provision of the Section and rules of its interpretation. The relevant paras are reproduced hereunder: 30. Sarathi in Interpretation of Statutes at pages 294-295 has collected the following principles in regard to a proviso: (a)When one finds a proviso to a section the natural presumption is that, but for the proviso, the enacting part of the section would have included the subject-matter of the proviso. (b)A proviso must be construed with reference to the preceding .....

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e an enactment except for compelling reasons. (g)Sometimes an unnecessary proviso is inserted by way of abundant caution. (h)A construction placed upon a proviso which brings it into general harmony with the terms of section should prevail. (i)When a proviso is repugnant to the enacting part, the proviso will not prevail over the absolute terms of a later Act directed to be read as supplemental to the earlier one. (j)A proviso may sometimes contain a substantive provision. XXX XXX XXX 32. In Ish .....

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Ltd. where Kapur, J. held that the proper function of a proviso was merely to qualify the generality of the main enactment by providing an exception and taking out, as it were, from the main enactment a portion which, but for the proviso, would fall within the main enactment. In Shah Bhojraj Kuverji Oil Mills and Ginning Factory v. Subbash Chandra Yograj Sinha Hidayatullah, J., as he then was, very aptly and succinctly indicated the parameters of a proviso thus: As a general rule, a proviso is a .....

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ify the enacting clause. Sometimes a proviso may be embedded in the main provision and becomes an integral part of it so as to amount to a substantive provision itself. (emphasis supplied) Thus, from a reading of the abovesaid legal position laid down by this Court in the cases referred to supra, it is abundantly clear that the proviso to Section 372 of Cr.P.C. must be read along with its main enactment i.e., Section 372 itself and together with sub-Section (3) to Section 378 of Cr.P.C. otherwis .....

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er sub-Section (3) to Section 378 of Cr.P.C. , this Court is of the view that the right of questioning the correctness of the judgment and order of acquittal by preferring an appeal to the High Court is conferred upon the victim including the legal heir and others, as defined under Section 2(wa) of Cr.P.C., under proviso to Section 372, but only after obtaining the leave of the High Court as required under sub-Section (3) to Section 378 of Cr.P.C. The High Court of M.P. has failed to deal with t .....

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