Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 – Section 374 – Appeals from convictions – In an appeal from a judgment of conviction, the Appellate Court is required not only to review, but re-appreciate the entire evidence on record afresh, and determine for itself, whether the prosecution have succeeded in establishing the charge against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
The only point that arises for determination in this revision is about the duties of the AppellateCourt under Section 374 of the Code, while hearing and determining an appeal from a judgment of conviction.
The Appellate Court has not done any reassessment of evidence afresh, but has merely surveyed it. That the Appellate has done by detailing the evidence in the judgment. There is hardly any appraisal done by the AppellateCourt to find out for itself, whether the prosecution have successfully established the charge against the revisionists, of which they have been convicted by the Trial Court.
Rather, the Appellate Court has expressed its agreement with the Magistrate with remarks to the effect that a criminal appeal can be accepted only if it is shown that the Trial Court has committed any error of fact or law that is manifest, or ignored evidence on record and passed a wrong and illegal order. The Appellate Court has further remarked that a criminal appeal cannot be allowed solely on the ground that a different view of the evidence is possible.
The way, the Appellate Court has opined about the law relating to the duties of the AppellateCourt, while hearing an appeal from a judgment of conviction, it has gone utterly wrong. In an appeal from a judgment of conviction, the Appellate Court is required not only to review, but re-appreciate the entire evidence on record afresh, and determine for itself, whether the prosecution have succeeded in establishing the charge against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
Contrary to what the Appellate Court has said, if two views of the evidence are possible, certainly the Appellate Court is duty bound to take the view that favours the accused. This is in keeping with the presumption of innocence of the accused and the jurisdiction that Court exercises in an appeal from conviction, where the entire case is at large for a plenary re-appraisal.
The parameters, by which the Appellate Court has judged the revisionists’ appeal, would be those applicable to a Court of revision or may be to the Appellate Court in some measure, if it were hearing an appeal from a judgment of acquittal; not of conviction.
The Appellate Court has gone utterly wrong about the standard, by which it had to judge the revisionists’ appeal. The impugned judgment cannot, therefore, be sustained. However, since the AppellateCourt has not yet discharged its sacrosanct duties of doing a complete independent re-appraisal of evidence, it is not for this Court to put a terminus to the proceedings. The case must go back to the AppellateCourt for determination of the appeal afresh, after setting aside the impugned judgment.
Important Paragraphs : 5, 6, 7
Case Law Reference
- Lal Mandi v. State of W.B., (1995) 3 SCC 603
CRIMINAL REVISION No. -756 of 2020 | Rajan @Raja Ram v. State of U.P. | Counsel for Revisionist :- Nirbhay Singh | Counsel for Opposite Party :- G.A.
View Judgment : Hon’ble J.J. Munir, J.