The Supreme Court recently set aside a judgment of Delhi High Court which disposed of a criminal appeal without the record of the trial court before it.
The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Krishna Murari was considering an appeal against a Delhi High Court order which upheld the conviction and sentence imposed on a man under Sections 498A and 304 IPC by the trial court without the record of the trial court, which was lost during the pendency of the appeal before it.
One of the issue raised in the appeal [Savita vs. State of Delhi] was whether the order of High Court disposing of the criminal appeal in the absence of original record can be held sustainable in the eyes of law. In this regard, the bench observed:
It is not in dispute that the High Court has disposed of the appeal filed by the appellant herein without the record of the trial court, which was lost during the pendency of the appeal before it. The chronology of events also indicates that there is some effort were made by the State to re-construct the record of the trial court but the reconstruction of the record could not be completed. However, learned senior counsel for the respondent-State submits that some of the records are available. Having heard learned senior counsel for the parties and perusing the material placed before us, we are of the view that disposing of the appeal filed by the appellant-accused without the record of the trial court is not sustainable.
The bench then remanded the matter back to the High Court for hearing of the appeals afresh after reconstruction of the record of the trial court.
Considering the fact that the appellant has already suffered incarceration for a period of approximately 27 months out of a total sentence of 10 years Rigorous Imprisonment, the bench said that it is a fit case to grant bail to him.
Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra assisted by Advocate Sandeep Sudhakar Deshmukh and Senior Advocate Sonia Mathur assisted by Advocates B. V. Balaram Das, Seema Bengani,Vikas Bansal and Anas Zaid appeared for the parties.
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