Enterprises Vs. State of Jharkhand & Anr  Insc 286 (25 February 2008)
Arijit Pasayat & J.M. Panchal
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 377 OF 2008 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) NO. 4710 of 2006)
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
Challenge in this appeal is to the order passed by a Division Bench of the Jharkhand
High Court refusing to grant leave to appeal.
Stand of the appellant is that the order of the Division Bench summarily
dismissing the application cannot be sustained. Learned counsel for respondent
No.2, on the other hand, supported the order stating that though the order is
non-reasoned, yet this is not a fit case for exercise of power under Article
136 of the Constitution of India, 1950 (for short 'The Constitution').
application before the High Court for grant of leave was filed under Section
378(4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short 'The Cr.P.C.').
the instant case proceeding was initiated on the basis of a complaint filed
before the learned Judicial Magistrate, Ist Class, Jamshedpur alleging
commission of offence punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable
Instruments Act, 1881 (for short 'The Act'). The accused who is respondent No.2
in the petition was found guilty, and was accordingly, convicted and sentenced
to undergo simple imprisonment for six months. He was also directed to pay by
way of compensation the cheque amount of Rs.61,860/- and Rs.62, 860/- to the
complainant within one month from the passing of the order. The accused filed a
petition for revision before the Sessions Court. Learned Additional Sessions
Judge, Fast Track Court No.2, Jamshedpur, by
order dated 2.3.2006 set aside the judgment of conviction and sentence as
passed by the learned Judicial Magistrate. Thereafter, as noted above,
application in terms of Section 378(4) Cr.P.C, was filed. The same has been
dismissed summarily by a Division Bench of the High Court.
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
(2001 (10) SCC 607). About two decades back in State of Maharashtra v. Vithal Rao Pritirao Chawan (1981
(4) SCC 129), 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 recognised as imperative. The view was
reiterated in Jawahar Lal Singh v. Naresh Singh (1987 (2) SCC 222). Judicial
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.
Reason is the heartbeat of every conclusion, and without the same it becomes
lifeless. (See Raj Kishore Jha v. State of Bihar 2003 (11) SCC 519)
Even in respect of administrative orders Lord Denning, M.R. in Breen v.
Amalgamated Engg. Union (1971) 1 All ER 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:
to give reasons amounts to denial of justice."
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. The "inscrutable face of the sphinx" is ordinarily
incongruous with a judicial or quasi-judicial performance.
above position was highlighted by this Court in State of Punjab v. Bhag Singh (2004 (1) SCC 547).
view of the aforesaid legal position, the impugned judgment of the High Court
is unsustainable and is set aside.
grant leave to the State to file the appeal. The High Court shall entertain the
appeal and after formal notice to the respondents hear the appeal and dispose
of it in accordance with law, uninfluenced by any observation made in the
present appeal. The appeal is allowed to the extent indicated.