Accused has no inherent right to appeal against conviction: HC

High court

In a significant ruling, the Bombay High Court has held that an accused does not have an inherent right of appeal against his conviction and the same has to be conferred by a statute.

"The legislature can confer the said right or can make available the said right conditionally. It (legislature) may withdraw the said right by amending the statute which confers the right of appeal", Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sadhana Jadhav observed in a recent judgement.

The judges gave the ruling on a petition challenging a provision in Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc), which restricts the right to appeal in small cases in which the punishment is less than the stipulated period of imprisonment or amount of

fine.

The petition, filed by three convicts, sought a direction from the High Court to declare 376 (b) and (c) of CrPc as unconstitutional and ultravires the Constitution as it takes away the right to appeal.

It also prayed for quashing an order of a sessions court which ruled that such an appeal was not maintainable in view of clause 376 (b).

Two petitioners were asked to suffer imprisonment for a day until the rising of the court in a cheque bouncing case, while all the three were ordered to pay compensation of Rs 15 lakh to the complainant within three months.

They filed an appeal in a sessions court which rejected it in view of clause (b) of 376. Against this, they filed a petition in the High Court.

The judges observed that there is no inherent right of appeal. If statute creates a right of appeal against an order of conviction, any Act which prevents an accused from preferring an Appeal may be in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution.

But a legislation cannot be struck down on the ground that there is a violation of Article 21 as a result of failure to provide for an Appeal against a conviction.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.