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2012 (12) TMI 1140

Succession Act sets out the general rules of succession in case of a male Hindu dying intestate, the property would devolve first up on the heirs specified in Class-I of the schedule and secondly, if there is no heir of Class-I, then up on the heirs specified in Class-II of the schedule; thirdly if there is no heir of any of the classes, then up on the agnates of the deceased and lastly if there are no agnates, then up on the cognates of the deceased. Section 9 of the Hindu Succession Act provides the order of succession amongst heirs in the schedule. Those in Class-I take simultaneously and to the exclusion of all other heirs, there in the first entry in Class-II are preferred to those in the second entry. Section 12 prescribes the order of succession amongst agnates and cognates. - In view of the provisions of Sections 8 and 9 of the Hindu Succession Act, the appellant being a Class-II heir would not inherit anything from his deceased brother, as he is survived by his wife. Thus, the appellant is not entitled to the property of the victim under the applicable law of inheritance. Though the appellant falls in one of the category of heirs as per the Hindu Succession Act, but th .....

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nition of the word 'victim', as defined under Section 2(wa) Cr. P.C., at his instance, criminal appeal as provided under Section 372 Cr. P.C., against the order of a criminal court acquitting the accused, is not maintainable. In support of this argument, he placed reliance on the judgment of the Apex Court in National Commission for Women v. State of Delhi and of the High Court of Kerala in John v. Shibu Cherian 2011 Laws (Ker.) 8-44. 3. Heard the learned counsel for the appellant-de facto complainant and the learned counsel for the respondents-accused. 4. In the light of the arguments advanced by them before us, we would like to deal with the amendment to Section 372 Cr. P.C. and the changes that are brought into the Criminal Procedure Code. 5. To answer this question, it would be appropriate to refer to definition of 'victim', as defined in the Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, vide its Resolution No. 40/34, dated 29.11.1985. Under the heading Victims of Crime, the word "victims" is defined as follows: 1. "Victims" means persons who, individ .....

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372 Cr. P.C. reads as follows: 372. No appeal to lie unless otherwise provided. - No appeal shall lie from any judgment or order of a Criminal Court except as provided for by this Court 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 appeal shall lie to the Court to which an appeal ordinarily lies against the order of conviction of such Court. 8. Prior to amendment of Section 372 Cr. P.C. no right has been given in those cases where inadequate sentence is imposed or awarded by the trial Court and the right is retained with the State. Now after addition of the proviso, right is given to the victim to file appeal in cases where the accused is acquitted or is convicted for a lesser offence or where the compensation which is imposed is found to be inadequate. 9. Now the question is who is a "victim"? The word "victim", is defined under Section 2(wa) Cr. P.C., and it reads as follows: 2(wa) 'victim' means a person who has suffered any loss or injury caused .....

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s provided by the Code or by any other law which authorizes an appeal. The proviso inserted by Section 372 (Act 5 of 2009) with effect from 31.12.2009, gives a limited right to the victim to file an appeal in the High Court against any order of a criminal court acquitting the accused or convicting him for a lesser offence or the imposition of inadequate compensation. The proviso may not thus be applicable as it came in the year 2009 (long after the present incident) and, in any case, would confer a right only on a victim and also does not envisage an appeal against an inadequate sentence. An appeal would thus be maintainable only under Section 377 to the High Court as it is effectively challenging the quantum of sentence. (emphasis supplied) 14. The learned counsel for the respondents next relied on the judgment of the Kerala High Court in John v. Shibu Cherian. In the said case, the appellant, who is the de facto complainant and C.W. 1, preferred appeal against the order passed by the Magistrate, acquitting the accused of the offences punishable under Sections 114, 143, 147, 148, 443, 427 and 506(ii) read with Section 149 I.P.C. along with application to condone the delay in prefe .....

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, therefore, clearly refers to a person who is entitled to the property of the victim under the applicable law of inheritance. 18. Whereas in the present case, parties are Hindus and the law of heritance applicable to them is the Hindu Succession Act. Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act sets out the general rules of succession in case of a male Hindu dying intestate, the property would devolve first up on the heirs specified in Class-I of the schedule and secondly, if there is no heir of Class-I, then up on the heirs specified in Class-II of the schedule; thirdly if there is no heir of any of the classes, then up on the agnates of the deceased and lastly if there are no agnates, then up on the cognates of the deceased. Section 9 of the Hindu Succession Act provides the order of succession amongst heirs in the schedule. Those in Class-I take simultaneously and to the exclusion of all other heirs, there in the first entry in Class-II are preferred to those in the second entry. Section 12 prescribes the order of succession amongst agnates and cognates. 19. In view of the provisions of Sections 8 and 9 of the Hindu Succession Act, the appellant being a Class-II heir would not inherit .....

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