Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: Rumi Kumari Phukan, J. dismissed an application seeking leave to appeal against an Assistant Sessions Judge’s order of acquittal, holding that the forum for preferring such an appeal would be the Court of Sessions Judge and not the High Court. 

The petitioner (herein) in the instant case alleged before the trial court that the accused persons had forcefully kidnapped his daughter while she was returning from college. She was also kept confined by them. As a result, the petitioner registered complaint under Section 366 read with Section 34 of Penal Code, 1860. Learned Assistant Sessions Judge acquitted all the accused persons. Aggrieved by this order of acquittal the petitioner preferred the present application under Section 378(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 seeking leave to file an appeal against the acquittal order.

The counsel for the petitioner, A.T. Sarkar, placed reliance upon the decision rendered in Satyapal Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2015) 15 SCC 613, while preferring appeal under 378(3) of CrPC. He contended, “even though the victim has a right to prefer an appeal against the order of acquittal u/s 372 CrPC but same can be filed only after obtaining leave of the Court as required under sub-section 3 of Section 378 CrPC.” 

The Court after perusing the legal provisions and pronouncements observed, “it appears that there is a confusion in the mind of the petitioner that he has to seek for leave to prefer the appeal in view of the decision in Satypal Singh case.” It was further observed, “As the appeal sought to be preferred against the order of the learned Assistant Sessions Judge so the appeal will lie to the Court of learned Sessions Judge.” Thus, the Court taking into consideration the bona fide nature of application by quoting the provision under Section 378(3) of CrPC, opined that the petitioner was not debarred to prefer the appeal to which he was entitled under the statute. The Court held, “the petitioner herein being the informant has a right to prefer an appeal u/s 372 (proviso) CrPC and he being the informant in the GR Case he cannot be equated as complainant within the purview of Section 378 (3) of CrPC and no leave is required to prefer such appeal.”

In light of the above, the Court dismissed the instant appeal but granted him liberty to prefer an appeal in the Court of concerned Sessions Judge.[Akhtar Mirza v. State of Assam, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 2295, decided on 14-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Bench of Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, JJ. dismissed an appeal filed by the prosecutrix under Section 372 CrPC challenging the trial court’s judgment whereby the accused was acquitted of the charge of rape.

Simran Sadyora and Sanjeev Bhatia, Advocates, representing the prosecutrix, submitted that the trial court failed to appreciate that there is a presumption under Section 114-A of the Evidence Act as to absence of consent in a case for prosecution of the offence under Section 376 IPC and consequently the onus to prove that he had not committed the offence under Section 376(2)(n) had shifted to the accused.

At the outset, the High Court observed: “the presumption under Section 114-A of the Evidence Act would only be attracted if the factum of sexual intercourse is proved.” It was noted that the prosecutrix had refused an internal medical examination. the Court was also of the opinion that her testimony was highly unreliable, untrustworthy and inspired no confidence. It was noted further that the delay in registering FIR was not successfully explained. Also, she made 529 calls to the accused between the dates of the alleged rape and filing of the complaint. Her acts were inconsistent with her allegations. Moreover, the factum of sexual intercourse remained not proved. Keeping on view such and other findings, the Court held that the accused was entitled to be given benefit of doubt. Hence, the appeal was dismissed. [Rachna Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 8519, decided on 13-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan: The appellate court had allowed the appeal of the respondent-complainant under Sections 372 and 378 CrPC and set aside the acquittal of the appellant recorded by the trial court and convicted the appellant under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. This decision of the learned appellate court was challenged by the appellant.

Learned counsel for the appellants contended that the learned Sessions Judge had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal against acquittal preferred by the respondent complainant. Drawing attention of the Court to the Hon’ble Division Bench Judgment dated 2.12.2014 rendered in the case of Dhanne Singh v. State of Rajasthan, 2014 SCC OnLine Raj 5499, he urged that the only remedy available to the complainant was to file an application for grant of leave to appeal before the High Court under Section 378(iv) CrPC. He further contended that the impugned judgment is per se without jurisdiction and bad in the eye of law and thus deserved to be set aside.

The Court held that in a suit where the jurisdiction to entertain a challenge to an order of acquittal in a complaint case is questioned, the complainant can only avail the remedy of filing an application for grant of leave to appeal against the judgment of acquittal in the High Court under Section 378(iv) CrPC and opined that the Sessions Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the victim’s appeal under Section 372 CrPC when the acquittal was recorded in a complaint case.

The Bench of Sandeep Mehta, J. set aside the impugned judgment dated 30.10.2015 passed by the learned District and Sessions Judge, Dungarpur and upheld the acquittal of the appellant recorded by the trial court vide judgment dated 19.9.2013. [Praveen Kumar v. The State of Rajasthan, 2017 SCC OnLine Raj 2209, decided on 9.8.2017]