Mohite Vs. State of Maharashtra  INSC 1361 (13 August 2008)
JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1294 OF 2008 [Arising out of SLP(Crl.) No.
1923/2008] MACHINDRA HARIBA MOHITE ... APPELLANT(S) :VERSUS:
Our attention has
fairly been drawn to the fact that the criminal appeal filed by the appellant
herein was heard out by the High Court in absence of his counsel.
Although there cannot
be any doubt, whatsoever, that the Court's valuable time is wasted in such a
matter but as the right to be represented by a lawyer is also a valuable right,
we are of the opinion that in a case of this nature, the High Court would be
well advised to appoint an amicus curiae and proceed to hear out the matter
after giving an opportunity of hearing to the appellant.
Even on the date
fixed for hearing if the amicus curiae does not appear, the High Court would be
at liberty to take up the hearing of the matter and proceed to decide the same
by obtaining the assistance of the counsel or the public prosecutor present.
-2- We deprecate
such a practice on the part of the members of the Bar failing to appear before
the High Court, particularly when a case of this nature comes up for hearing.
We, therefore, with
great reluctance, set aside the impugned judgment and remit the matter back to
the High Court for consideration of the criminal appeal afresh. The High Court
shall appoint an amicus curiae and proceed to hear the matter upon fixing a
date of hearing.
The appeal is
disposed of with the aforementioned observation and direction.
DELHI, AUGUST 13, 2008.