of Rajasthan Vs. Rohitas & Ors  Insc
272 (22 February 2008)
Arijit Pasayat & P. Sathasivam
APPEAL NO. 361 OF 2008 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) NO. 5125 of 2007) Dr. ARIJIT
Challenge in this appeal is to the order passed by a learned Single Judge of
the Rajasthan High Court, Jaipur Bench, dismissing the application filed for
grant of leave to prefer an appeal in terms of Section 378 (1) of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short the 'Cr.P.C.').
Background facts in a nutshell are as follows:
faced trial for alleged commission of offences punishable under Sections 498
(A) and 304 (B) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the 'IPC'). It was the
case of the prosecution that because of the torture meted out for bringing less
dowry, she was murdered. Her dead body was found in the well of the accused
persons. It was the case of the complainant that after killing her for dowry,
she was thrown into the well. Charges were framed and the accused persons faced
trial court directed acquittal. Thereafter, as noted above, the appellant-State
filed an application for grant of leave, which was rejected. Stand of the
appellant was that the summary dismissal is not sustainable in law. There is no
appearance on behalf of the respondent-accused.
Section 378 of the Code deals with the power of the High Court to grant leave
in case of acquittal. Sub-sections (1) and (3) of Section 378 read as follows:
Save as otherwise provided in sub- section (2) and subject to the provisions of
sub-section (3) and (5), the State Government may, in any case, direct the
Public Prosecutor to present an appeal to the High Court from an original or
appellate order of acquittal passed by any Court other than a High Court or an
order of acquittal passed by the Court of Session in revision.
appeal under sub-section (1) or sub- section (2) shall be entertained except
with the leave of the High Court".
say the least the order is practicably unreasoned.
effect of the admission of the accused in the background of testimony of
official witnesses and the documents exhibited needed adjudication in appeal.
The High Court has not given any reasons for refusing to grant leave to file
appeal against acquittal, and seems to have been completely oblivious to the
fact that by such refusal, a close scrutiny of the order of acquittal, by the
appellate forum, has been lost once and for all. The manner in which appeal
against acquittal has been dealt with by the High Court leaves much to be
desired. Reasons introduce clarity in an order. On plainest consideration of
justice, the High Court ought to have set forth its reasons, howsoever brief in
its order, indicative of an application of its mind; all the more when its
order is amenable to further avenue of challenge. The absence of reasons has
rendered the High Court order not sustainable.
view was expressed in State of U.P. v. Battan
and Ors (2001 (10) SCC 607). About two decades back in State of Maharashtra v. Vithal Rao Pritirao Chawan (AIR
1982 SC 1215) the desirability of a speaking order while dealing with an
application for grant of leave was highlighted. The requirement of indicating
reasons in such cases has been judicially recognized as imperative. The view
was re-iterated in Jawahar Lal Singh v. Naresh Singh and Ors. (1987 (2)SCC
discipline to abide by declaration of law by this Court, cannot be forsaken,
under any pretext by any authority or Court, be it even the highest Court in a
State, oblivious to Article 141 of the Constitution of India, 1950 (in short
Reason is the heartbeat of every conclusion, and without the same it becomes
lifeless. (See Raj Kishore Jha v. State of Bihar and Ors. (2003 (7) Supreme 152).
Even in respect of administrative orders, Lord Denning M.R. in Breen v.
Amalgamated Engineering Union (1971 (1) All E.R. 1148) observed "The
giving of reasons is one of the fundamentals of good administration". In
Alexander Machinery (Dudley) Ltd. v. Crabtree (1974 ICR 120)(NIRC)
it was observed: "Failure to give reasons amounts to denial of
justice". Reasons are live links between the mind of the decision-taker to
the controversy in question and the decision or conclusion arrived at".
Reasons substitute subjectivity by objectivity. The emphasis on recording
reasons is that if the decision reveals the "inscrutable face of the
sphinx", it can, by its silence, render it virtually impossible for the
Courts to perform their appellate function or exercise the power of judicial
review in adjudging the validity of the decision. Right to reason is an
indispensable part of a sound judicial system; reasons at least sufficient to
indicate an application of mind to the matter before Court. Another rationale
is that the affected party can know why the decision has gone against him. One
of the salutary requirements of natural justice is spelling out reasons for the
order made; in other words, a speaking out.
"inscrutable face of a sphinx" is ordinarily incongruous with a
judicial or quasi-judicial performance.
above position was highlighted in State of Orissa v. Dhaniram Luhar (2004(5) SCC 568).
Therefore, the impugned order of the High Court cannot be sustained and is set
aside, and matter is remitted to it. The High Court shall take up the matter
afresh and dispose of the same in accordance with law. The appeal is allowed
without any order as to costs.