‘This Court Hadn’t At All Finally Disposed Of The Petition’: Punjab & Haryana HC ‘Defends’ Itself After SC Criticizes It For ‘One Line’ Disposal [Read Order]

‘This Court Hadn’t At All Finally Disposed Of The Petition’: Punjab & Haryana HC ‘Defends’ Itself After SC Criticizes It For ‘One Line’ Disposal [Read Order]

This Court had never decided the above revision petition finally much less by one line order, observed the high court.

 The disposal that wasn’t.

In an order passed earlier this year, the Supreme Court had criticized Punjab and Haryana High Court for disposing of a revision petition in a one-line order by merely making the interim order absolute.

We need not remind the High Court that this has been held to be impermissible by this Court in several decisions, observed the bench headed by Justice SA Bobde while remanding the matter to the high court.

Thereafter, this matter got listed before the high court bench presided by Justice AB  Chaudhari who clarified his earlier order that he had not at all finally disposed of the petition, but by issuing Rule, only admitted the matter for final hearing and thus, the matter was required to be kept pending for final hearing.

The following was the order which invited criticism of the apex court.

“Rule. Heard learned counsel for the rival parties. Interim order dated 31.08.2017 passed by this Court, is made absolute. The trial Court can proceed with the regular trial.”

Explaining this order, the high court judge said: “The above order shows that this Court issued Rule, which means 'rule nisi' that the matter was admitted for final hearing and the interim order that was made on 31.08.2017 was made absolute with a further direction that the trial Court can proceed with the regular trial. However, it appears that the Registry under a misconception or lack of knowledge about the word “Rule” published on the website that the revision petition was disposed of by this Court, finally.”

The Case

The accused in a murder case had challenged an order of the trial court that allowed an application filed by mother of the deceased seeking summoning of a person as a witness. The accused contended that there was no statement of the said witness ever recorded in the police record.

Disposing of the petition finally, the high court observed: “If at all the prosecution wanted to rely upon or cite him as a witness, the same ought to have been the part and parcel of the report under Section 173 CrPC., which is the sine qua non for proceeding further in a police case. This is the first principle in a police case. In the absence of the said mandatory procedure being followed, I do not think the prosecution can be allowed to be carried away by any other person or agency, or complainant except the State which is the prosecuting agency. To put in other words, the trial Court could not have acted on the basis of the application filed by Kaushalaya Devi who has not even filed the original alleged statement under Section 161 CrPC., but has filed a photocopy which did not even bear any date and the same did not form part and parcel of any report under Section 173 CrPC as stated by the Investigating Officer. If such a course of action is allowed in a prosecution filed by the State, the mandate of law and the concept of fair trial will be violated, which cannot be allowed. “

Read the Order Here