Tuesday 4 August 2020

Leading Supreme Court Judgment on the basic concept of failure of justice

 Having dealt with regard to the concept of 'fair trial' and its significant facets, it is apt to state that once prejudice is caused to the accused during trial, it occasions in 'failure of justice'. 'Failure of justice' has its own connotation in various jurisprudences. As far as criminal jurisprudence is concerned, we may refer with profit to certain authorities. Be it noted that in Bhooraji (supra), the Court has referred to Shamnsaheb M. Multtani v. State of Karnataka : (2001) 2 SCC 577 : 2001 SCC (Cri) 358 wherein it has been observed as follows:

23. We often hear about "failure of justice" and quite often the submission in a criminal court is accentuated with the said expression. Perhaps it is too pliable or facile an expression which could be fitted in any situation of a case. The expression 'failure of justice' would appear, sometimes, as an etymological chameleon (the simile is borrowed from Lord Diplock in Town Investments Ltd. v. Department of the Environment (1977) 1 All ER 813). The criminal court, particularly the superior court should make a close examination to ascertain whether there was really a failure of justice or whether it is only a camouflage.

(Emphasis supplied)
39. In Central Bureau of Investigation v. V. K. Sehgal MANU/SC/0650/1999 : (1999) 8 SCC 501, it was observed: -

10. A court of appeal or revision is debarred from reversing a finding (or even an order of conviction and sentence) on account of any error of irregularity in the sanction for the prosecution, unless failure of justice had been occasioned on account of such error or irregularity. For determining whether want of valid sanction had in fact occasioned failure of justice the aforesaid Sub-section (2) enjoins on the court a duty to consider whether the accused had raised any objection on that score at the trial stage. Even if he had raised any such objection at the early stage it is hardly sufficient to conclude that there was failure of justice. It has to be determined on the facts of each case. But an accused who did not raise it at the trial stage cannot possibly sustain such a plea made for the first time in the appellate court.
The concept of failure of justice was further elaborated as follows:

11. In a case where the accused failed to raise the question of valid sanction the trial would normally proceed to its logical end by making a judicial scrutiny of the entire materials. If that case ends in conviction there is no question of failure of justice on the mere premise that no valid sanction was accorded for prosecuting the public servant because the very purpose of providing such a filtering check is to safeguard public servants from frivolous of mala fide or vindictive prosecution on the allegation that they have committed offence in the discharge of their official duties. But once the judicial filtering process is over on completion of the trial the purpose of providing for the initial sanction would bog down to a surplus age. This could be the reason for providing a bridle upon the appellate and revisional forums as envisaged in Section 465 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The concept of fair trial and the conception of miscarriage of justice are not in the realm of abstraction. They do not operate in a vacuum. They are to be concretely established on the bedrock of facts and not to be deduced from procedural lapse or an interdict like commitment as enshrined under Section 193 of the Code for taking cognizance under the Act. It should be a manifestation of reflectible and visible reality but not a routine matter which has roots in appearance sans any reality. Tested on the aforesaid premised reasons, it is well nigh impossible to conceive of any failure of justice or causation of prejudice or miscarriage of justice on such non-compliance. It would be totally inapposite and inappropriate to hold that such non-compliance vitiates the trial. {Para 45}


Criminal Appeal Nos. 223 and 458 of 2008

Decided On: 17.02.2012

 Rattiram  Vs. State of M.P. through Inspector of Police

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Dalveer Bhandari, T.S. Thakur and Dipak Misra, JJ.

Dipak Misra, J.
Citation:(2012) 4 SCC 516,MANU/SC/0125/2012.
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