Friday, 25 December 2020

Supreme court: Court should not dismiss criminal revision if Advocate for accused remains absent

The High Court, in our view, was manifestly in error in rejecting the revision

in default, on the ground that the appellant’s advocate had remained absent

on the previous four occasions. Since the revision before the High Court

arose out of an order of the conviction under the Arms Act, the High Court

ought to have appointed an Amicus Curiae in the absence of counsel, who

has been engaged by the Legal Services Authority, Rohtak. The liberty of a

citizen cannot be taken away in this manner.


 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

Criminal Appeal Nos 750-751 of 2020


Parveen Vs  State of Haryana 

Dated: November 16, 2020

1 Leave granted.

2 By a judgment dated 12 January 2015, the appellant has been convicted for

an offence under Section 25 of the Arms Act by the Judicial Magistrate First

Class, Rohtak in Criminal Case No 85-2 of 2013 and has been sentenced to

suffer simple imprisonment for a period of three years.

3 Criminal Appeal No 24 of 2015 was filed against the judgment of conviction

before the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Rohtak. During the

pendency of the appeal, the appellant was admitted to bail. The Additional

Sessions Judge upheld the conviction while dismissing the appeal on 10 July

2017.

4 The appellant filed a revision, CRR No 1316 of 2018, before the High Court of

Punjab & Haryana. During the pendency of the revision, the appellant was

enlarged on bail on 16 April 2018. The revision was filed before the High

Court through the Legal Services Authority, Rohtak. The High Court by its

order dated 11 February 2020, dismissed the revision in the absence of the

appellant and his advocate, observing as follows:

“Perusal of file shows that this revision has been taken on board

six times, including today. On four occasions, none came forward

to represent the petitioner in the span of approximately one year

and four months. Therefore, it can safely be inferred that

petitioner or his counsel is no more interested in pursuing this

revision.

Dismissed for want of prosecution.

Learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Rohtak, is directed to issue

warrants of arrest of the petitioner to undergo remaining

sentence.

A copy of this order be sent to learned Chief Judicial Magistrate,

Rohtak, for compliance.”

5 On 16 July 2020, the High Court dismissed the application for restoration of

the revision on the ground that no ground for restoration has been

established.

6 Notice was issued by this Court on 12 October 2020. In pursuance of the

notice, Mr Vishal Mahajan, learned Additional Advocate General for the State

of Haryana has appeared on behalf of the first respondent – State.

7 The High Court, in our view, was manifestly in error in rejecting the revision

in default, on the ground that the appellant’s advocate had remained absent

on the previous four occasions. Since the revision before the High Court

arose out of an order of the conviction under the Arms Act, the High Court

ought to have appointed an Amicus Curiae in the absence of counsel, who

has been engaged by the Legal Services Authority, Rohtak. The liberty of a

citizen cannot be taken away in this manner.


8 In the circumstances, we are of the view that it would be appropriate to allow

this appeal and set aside the impugned orders of the High Court dated 11

February 2020 and 16 July 2020. CRR No 1316 of 2018 is restored to the file

of the High Court. Since during the pendency of the Special Leave Petition,

the appellant was admitted to bail by this court and the appellant was on bail

during the pendency of the revision before the High Court, the order

enlarging the appellant on bail shall continue to remain in operation pending

the disposal of the revision by the High Court. The appellant shall cooperate

in the disposal of the revision.

9 The appeals are accordingly disposed of.

10 Pending applications, if any, stand disposed of.

….....…...….......………………........J.

[Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud]

..…....…........……………….…........J.

[Indu Malhotra]

..…....…........……………….…........J.

[Indira Banerjee]

New Delhi;

November 16, 2020


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