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Revision Petition Filed Before High Court By Third Party / Defacto Complainant Maintainable : Supreme Court

Ashok KM
13 Aug 2022 1:28 PM GMT
Revision Petition Filed Before High Court By Third Party / Defacto Complainant Maintainable  : Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that a revision petition filed before a High Court by a third party/de facto complainant is maintainable.

As the power of revision can be exercised by the High Court even suo moto, there can be no bar on a third party invoking the revisional jurisdiction and inviting the attention of the High Court that an occasion to exercise the power has arisen, the bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and JB Pardiwala said.

In this case, the First Informant (defacto complainant) had approached the High Court by filing a revision petition challenging the order passed by the Trial Court declining to mark his complaint together with the signature as an exhibit. Dismissing his petition on the ground of maintainability, the High Court observed that the de-facto complainant had no locus standi to file the revision petition. It was held that a victim/ complainant needs to restrict his revision petition to challenging final orders either acquitting the accused or convicting the accused of a lesser offence or imposing inadequate compensation (three requirements mentioned under Section 372 CrPC).

While considering his appeal, the court noted that the statement of the appellant was the basis on which the FIR was registered and thus it was legitimately open to the prosecution to have the statement proved and marked as an exhibit during the course of the trial.

"There would be a serious miscarriage of justice in the course of the criminal trial if the statement were not to be marked as an exhibit since that forms the basis of the registration of the FIR. The order of the trial judge cannot in these circumstances be treated as merely procedural or of an interlocutory in nature since it has the potential to affect the substantive course of the prosecution.", the court observed.

Referring to scope of revisional jurisdiction, the bench further observed:

According to the charge sheet, the statement of the appellant/ informant formed the basis of the FIR and set the criminal law in motion. Rejection of the prayer of the Public Prosecutor to mark the statement as an exhibit would possibly imperil the validity of the FIR. In this background, the order of the trial court declining to mark the statement of the informant as an exhibit is an intermediate order affecting important rights of the parties and cannot be said to be purely of an interlocutory nature. In the present case, if the statement of the appellant/ informant is not permitted to be marked as an exhibit, it would amount to a gross miscarriage of justice.

Disagreeing with the view of the High Court regarding maintainability of the revision petition at the instance of first informant, the bench (referring to K Pandurangan v SSR Velusamy (2003) 8 SCC 625, Sheetala Prasad v Sri Kant (2010) 2 SCC 190 and Menoka Malik v State of West Bengal (2019) 18 SCC 721) observed:-

"The revisional jurisdiction of a High Court under Section 397 read with Section 401 of the CrPC, is a discretionary jurisdiction that can be exercised by the revisional court suo motu so as to examine the correctness, legality or propriety of an order recorded or passed by the trial court or the inferior court. As the power of revision can be exercised by the High Court even suo moto, there can be no bar on a third party invoking the revisional jurisdiction and inviting the attention of the High Court that an occasion to exercise the power has arisen...
...The view of the High Court that a victim/ complainant needs to restrict his revision petition to challenging final orders either acquitting the accused or convicting the accused of a lesser offence or imposing inadequate compensation (three requirements mentioned under Section 372 CrPC) is unsustainable, so long as the revision petition is not directed against an interlocutory order, an inbuilt restriction in Section 397(2) of the CrPC. In the present case, the appellant filed a criminal revision as his interests as an informant and as an injured victim were adversely affected by the trial court rejecting the prayer to mark the statement of the informant as an exhibit. Having held that the order of the trial court is not interlocutory in nature and that the bar under Section 397(2) of the CrPC in inapplicable, a criminal revision filed by an informant against the said order of the trial court was maintainable.

Observing thus, the bench allowed the appeal and directed the Trial Court to allow the plea of the Public Prosecutor, in the course of the examination of the first informant, to prove his statement, so that it can be marked as an exhibit during the course of the trial.

Case details

Honnaiah T.H. vs State of Karnataka | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 672 | CrA 1147 of 2022 | 4 August 2022 | Justices DY Chandrachud and JB Pardiwala

Counsel: Adv Senthil Jagadeesan for appellant, Adv Shubranshu Padhi for State , Adv T.R.B. Sivakumar for respondent

Headnotes

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 397, 401 - Maintainability of revision petition at the instance of de facto complainant - As the power of revision can be exercised by the High Court even suo moto, there can be no bar on a third party invoking the revisional jurisdiction and inviting the attention of the High Court that an occasion to exercise the power has arisen - The view of the High Court that a victim/ complainant needs to restrict his revision petition to challenging final orders either acquitting the accused or convicting the accused of a lesser offence or imposing inadequate compensation (three requirements mentioned under Section 372 CrPC) is unsustainable, so long as the revision petition is not directed against an interlocutory order. (Para 14- 15)

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 397, 401 - Any order which substantially affects the right of the parties cannot be said to be an "interlocutory order - The expression "interlocutory order" denotes orders of a purely interim or temporary nature which do not decide or touch upon the important rights or liabilities of parties - Referred to Amar Nath v State of Haryana (1977) 4 SCC 137 et al. (Para 12)

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ; Section 397, 401 - The order of the trial court declining to mark the statement of the informant as an exhibit is an intermediate order affecting important rights of the parties and cannot be said to be purely of an interlocutory nature - if the statement of the informant is not permitted to be marked as an exhibit, it would amount to a gross miscarriage of justice. (Para 13)

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