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Criminal Appeal Cannot Be Dismissed As Infructuous Merely Because Appellant Served Out Sentence: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
15 Nov 2021 2:17 PM GMT
Criminal Appeal Cannot Be Dismissed As Infructuous Merely Because Appellant Served Out Sentence: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that an appeal against conviction cannot be treated as infructuous merely for the reason that the convicted appellant had served out the sentence awarded by the Trial Court.Merely for execution of the sentence, an appeal against conviction cannot be treated as infructuous, the bench comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath said.In this case, a...

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The Supreme Court observed that an appeal against conviction cannot be treated as infructuous merely for the reason that the convicted appellant had served out the sentence awarded by the Trial Court.

Merely for execution of the sentence, an appeal against conviction cannot be treated as infructuous, the bench comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath said.

In this case, a regular criminal appeal filed by the appellant-convict was dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the ground that no one appeared for the appellant. The Court had also accepted the submission of the State counsel that the appeal was rendered infructuous for the reason that the appellant had served out the sentence. [The accused- appellant was convicted under Section 18 of The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and the sentence awarded was only of five months' imprisonment with fine of Rs.3,000/-. ]

Before the Apex Court, the appellant contended that even at the initial stage of appeal, it was specifically pointed out before the Court that the appellant had undergone the sentence of imprisonment and had deposited the fine imposed but, he was nevertheless seeking to assail his conviction. An appeal against conviction could not have been treated as infructuous merely for the reason that the convicted appellant had served out the sentence awarded by the Trial Court, it was contended.

Agreeing with this contention, the bench observed:

"Though learned counsel for the respondent has attempted to support the conviction and sentence of the appellant but could not dispute the position that merely for execution of the sentence, an appeal against conviction cannot be treated as infructuous."

The court further added that, since the matter before the High Court was an appeal against conviction, if nobody was present for the appellant for any reason, the High Court could have taken appropriate steps for representation on behalf of the appellant. In any case, the appeal could not have been dismissed as infructuous, the court said.

Therefore, setting aside the High Court order, the bench restored the appeal filed by the appellant before the High Court for consideration on merits.


Case name and Citation: Gurjant Singh vs State of Punjab LL 2021 SC 650

Case no. and Date: CrA 1385-1386 OF 2021 | 13 November 2021

Coram: Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath

Counsel: AOR Yadav Narender Singh for appellant, Adv S.S. Boparai for respondent


Click here to Read/Download Judgment



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