Supreme Court Upholds it’s Earlier Verdict: Victim Cannot Appeal Without High Court’s Permission

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New Delhi, April 13, 2017: The Supreme Court has refused to reconsider its verdict holding that a victim in a criminal case cannot file an appeal against an order of acquittal without permission of the high court concerned.

A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit said there was no need to refer the matter to a larger bench for reconsideration of its 2015 judgement in which it was held that a victim cannot file an appeal against an order of acquittal without the leave of the high court.

The issue had arisen after a victim had appealed to the Gauhati High Court, who had not taken its permission to file the petition challenging the acquittal of the accused in a rape case.

As the appeal of the victim was admitted by the high court, the man, who was acquitted by the trial court in Tripura, moved the apex court which had appointed an amicus curiae to assist it in the matter, mentioned PTI.

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“Though the amicus curie has suggested that these matters be referred to a larger bench for reconsideration of the decision of this court, we do not think that such a course ought to be adopted in the present matter. The special leave petition has been pending in this court for last 5 years.

“In any case, in the present matter the victim had preferred an application to treat the appeal initially filed under Section 372 to be one under Section 372 read with Section 378 CrPC. Though the high court observed that no such leave was necessary, the matter now assumes a different complexion in the light of the decision in…. the (earlier judgement),” the bench said.

It said, “Since there is already an application on behalf of the victim to treat the appeal before the high court under Section 372 read with Section 378 CrPC, in our considered view the leave ought to be granted, which we at present do.

“The pending appeal shall now be considered on merits by the high court. This appeal, thus, stands disposed of.”

Section 372 of the CrPC deals with the rights of the victim to file an appeal against acquittal, conviction of accused for a lesser offence and imposition of inadequate compensation.

The man was acquitted by the trial court of charges of rape, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

In the rape case, the victim appealed against the trial court judgment before the high court and when the appeal was listed for admission, an objection was taken by the accused that unless ‘leave’ was granted, the appeal could not be admitted.

To this, the victim filed a petition for treating the criminal appeal to be filed under the relevant provisions.

But the high court had held that there was an unfettered right conferred upon the victim by Section 372 CrPC and that no leave was required for the victim to file such appeal.

The accused, however, challenged the high court order in the apex court.

– Prepared by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @Upama_myself

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