Sunday, 30 August 2020

Supreme Court: Appeal by Victim against inadequate sentence is not maintainable

Chapter XXIX of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
deals with ‘Appeals’ and Section 372 makes it clear that no
appeal to lie unless otherwise provided by the Code or any other
law for the time being in force. It is not in dispute that in the
instant case appellant has preferred appeal only under Section
372, Cr.PC. The proviso is inserted to Section 372, Cr.PC by Act
5 of 2009. Section 372 and the proviso which is subsequently
inserted read as under:
“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 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 appeal shall lie to the Court to which an
appeal ordinarily lies against the order of conviction
of such Court.”
A reading of the proviso makes it clear that so far as victim’s
right of appeal is concerned, same is restricted to three
eventualities, namely, acquittal of the accused; conviction of the
accused for lesser offence; or for imposing inadequate

compensation. While the victim is given opportunity to prefer
appeal in the event of imposing inadequate compensation, but at the same time there is no provision for appeal by the victim for questioning the order of sentence as inadequate, whereas Section 377, Cr.PC gives the power to the State Government to prefer appeal for enhancement of sentence. While it is open for the State Government to prefer appeal for inadequate sentence under Section 377, Cr.PC but similarly no appeal can be maintained by victim under Section 372, Cr.PC on the ground of inadequate sentence. It is fairly well settled that the remedy of appeal is creature of the Statute. Unless same is provided either under Code of Criminal Procedure or by any other law for the time being in force no appeal, seeking enhancement of sentence at the instance of the victim, is maintainable. 

NONREPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 555 OF 2020

Parvinder Kansal  Vs   The State of NCT of Delhi 

Dated:August 28, 2020.

1. Leave granted.
2. This criminal appeal is filed by the appellant in Criminal
Appeal No.1284 of 2019, aggrieved by the order dated 27th
November 2019 passed by the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi.
By the aforesaid order, High Court has dismissed the appeal filed
by the appellant herein under Section 372 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure seeking enhancement of sentence imposed in
Sessions Case No.742 of 2007 by the Special Judge (NDPS),
North District, Rohini District Courts, Delhi vide order dated
17.08.2019.
3. The appellant herein was the complainant in FIR No.742 of
2007 registered on 15.10.2007 for the offence under Section
364A read with Section 34, IPC and the second respondent

herein was the accused. After investigation of the crime,
chargesheet dated 11.01.2008 was filed against the second
respondentaccused
under Sections 364A/302/201, IPC. On
committal, case was referred to the court of Special Judge
(NDPS), North District, Rohini Courts, Delhi and the second
respondent was tried in Sessions Case No.58259 of 2016. By
judgment dated 30th July 2019 in the above said Sessions Case
No.742 of 2007 the second respondent was convicted for offence
punishable under Sections 364A, 302 and 201, IPC. By
subsequent order dated 17th August 2019 he was sentenced for
offence under Sections 302, 364A and 201, IPC as under :
“14. In view of above observations this Court directs
that :
A) The convict is sentenced with imprisonment for
life u/s 302 IPC and is further directed to pay a fine
of Rs.1 lakh. In default of payment of fine, he is
directed to undergo SI for five years.
B) The convict is sentenced with imprisonment for
life u/s 364A IPC and is further directed to pay a fine
of Rs.1 lakh. In default of payment of fine, he is
directed to undergo SI for five years.
C) The convict is sentenced with rigorous
imprisonment for seven years for the offence
punishable u/s 201 IPC and is further directed to
pay a fine of Rs.50,000/.
In default of payment of
fine, he is directed to undergo SI for one year.
All the sentences shall run concurrently. Benefit
of Section 428 Cr.PC shall be given to the convict
qua the offence u/s 201 IPC.”

4. The complainant, who is the father of the deceased boy, has
filed appeal challenging the order of sentence dated 17th August
2019 passed by ASJ/Special Judge (NDPS), North District,
Rohini Courts, Delhi in Sessions Case No.58259 of 2016 seeking
enhancement of sentence to death penalty. In the appeal filed
before the High Court under Section 372, Code of Criminal
Procedure, 1973 (for short, ‘Cr.PC’), it was his case that the
sentence of life imprisonment imposed on the second
respondentconvict
is inadequate and needs to be enhanced to
death penalty. Vide impugned judgment dated 27th November
2019 the High Court of Delhi has dismissed the appeal as not
maintainable.
5. We have heard Sri Ashwani Bhardwaj, learned advocate
appearing for the appellant and Sri Chirag M. Shroff, learned
counsel appearing for the State of NCT of Delhi.
6. It is contended by learned counsel for the appellant, though
the respondent no.2 had committed murder of an innocent child,
the Sessions Court, instead to award punishment of death
penalty, has awarded only imprisonment for life. It is contended
that in view of proviso to Section 372, Cr.PC which gives right to
prefer appeal to the victim, when the accused is convicted for

lesser offence, there is no reason to restrict the scope of appeal
only for a lesser offence but not for lesser sentence. It is
submitted that on 15.10.2007 when the son of the appellant was
kidnapped and demand of ransom was made which was also paid
to the second respondent but after kidnap his son was brutally
murdered. As such, it is submitted that it is a fit case for
enhancement of sentence from life imprisonment to death
penalty, for the second respondent. The learned counsel has
submitted that the High Court has not considered the provision
under Section 372, Cr.PC properly visavis
the judgments
referred to and dismissed the appeal, contrary to plain meaning
of Section 372, Cr.PC.
7. On the other hand it is submitted by learned counsel for
the State of NCT of Delhi that a reading of provision under
Section 372 and Section 377 of Cr.PC makes it clear that the
appeal under Section 372 Cr.PC by the victim is a qualified one
which is maintainable in the event of acquittal of the accused or
convicting for lesser offence or for imposing inadequate
compensation only, whereas under Section 377 Cr.PC State
Government is empowered to prefer appeal to the High Court in
the event of inadequate sentence by the Sessions Court. It is
stated by learned counsel that for enhancement of sentence,
victim cannot maintain appeal under Section 372 of Cr.PC.

8. Having heard learned counsel on both sides, we have
perused the material on record and the relevant provisions of the
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
9. Chapter XXIX of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
deals with ‘Appeals’ and Section 372 makes it clear that no
appeal to lie unless otherwise provided by the Code or any other
law for the time being in force. It is not in dispute that in the
instant case appellant has preferred appeal only under Section
372, Cr.PC. The proviso is inserted to Section 372, Cr.PC by Act
5 of 2009. Section 372 and the proviso which is subsequently
inserted read as under:
“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 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 appeal shall lie to the Court to which an
appeal ordinarily lies against the order of conviction
of such Court.”
A reading of the proviso makes it clear that so far as victim’s
right of appeal is concerned, same is restricted to three
eventualities, namely, acquittal of the accused; conviction of the
accused for lesser offence; or for imposing inadequate

compensation. While the victim is given opportunity to prefer
appeal in the event of imposing inadequate compensation, but at
the same time there is no provision for appeal by the victim for
questioning the order of sentence as inadequate, whereas Section
377, Cr.PC gives the power to the State Government to prefer
appeal for enhancement of sentence. While it is open for the
State Government to prefer appeal for inadequate sentence under
Section 377, Cr.PC but similarly no appeal can be maintained by
victim under Section 372, Cr.PC on the ground of inadequate
sentence. It is fairly well settled that the remedy of appeal is
creature of the Statute. Unless same is provided either under
Code of Criminal Procedure or by any other law for the time being
in force no appeal, seeking enhancement of sentence at the
instance of the victim, is maintainable. Further we are of the
view that the High Court while referring to the judgment of this
Court in the case of National Commission for Women v. State
of Delhi & Anr. (2010) 12 SCC 599 has rightly relied on the
same and dismissed the appeal, as not maintainable.

10. For the aforesaid reasons, we do not find any merit in this
appeal, so as to interfere with the impugned order passed by the
High Court. The appeal is accordingly dismissed.
………….………………………………...J.
[ASHOK BHUSHAN]
….…………………………………………J.
[R. SUBHASH REDDY]
New Delhi.
August 28, 2020.

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