A learned Judge of the Hon’ble High Court of Kerala has inter alia observed as follows:-
“13. It is noticed that numerous applications are being filed before the High Court and the Sessions Court for enlargement of time for the deposit of fine as the Trial Courts refuse to accept the fine/compensation after the period stipulated by the superior Courts, even after the decision of this Court in Gireesh Vs. Muthoot Capital (supra). It is to be remembered that the default sentence is not punitive, but is only a measure to enforce payment of fine/compensation ordered by the Court. I make it clear that it is illegal, incorrect and unjust to refuse to permit the convict to deposit the fine amount after the date stipulated by the High Court/Sessions Court on the mere reason that no direction for extension has been granted by the High Court/Sessions Court.”
( emphasis is mine )
(Vide Subash Sait Vs. Sree Gokulam Chits and Finance – 2015 (4) KHC 741)
The question posed by the Judge at the commencement of the order is whether the convict can deposit the fine amount after the time stipulated by the High Court or Sessions Court, without any further direction from the High Court or Sessions Court, so as to avoid the default sentence.
The necessary facts
WHY THIS RESPONSE?
“If Section 421 of the Code puts compensation ordered to be paid by the Court on a par with fine so far as the mode of recovery is concerned, then there is no reason why the Court cannot impose a sentence in default of payment of compensation as it can be done in the case of default in payment of fine under Section 64 IPC”.
In my humble view, the learned Judge, went wrong in holding that it was unnecessary for the convict to approach the High Court. By means of the order in question, made “reportable”, the learned judge has blocked all petitions to be filed hereafter for enlargement of time. Is the judicial reluctance attributable to a “pendency phobia” or a “petition allergy”.What was ordered to be communicated to the lower Courts was an illegal direction.
5. Judicial personage of the superior Courts, before finding fault with their brethren at the lower tiers, should be doubly cautious to ensure that the mistakes pointed out are indeed avoidable legal infirmities. This is particularly so in the case of those in the High Court since their orders and verdicts constitute binding precedents for the subordinate judiciary. A good majority of errors are not committed deliberately or in bad faith unless the errant is found to be incorrigible or actuated by ulterior motives. Omnibus directions of a general character for the lower Courts to follow, should be lawful directions consistent with the established procedure. Otherwise, such directions may amount to a command to follow a procedure which is not sanctioned by law.
Justice V.Ramkumar is a Former Judge, High Court of Kerala and Chairman, Advisory Board, Kerala Anti-social Activities Prevention Act