Dhondiba Gundu Pomaje & Ors Vs.
The State of Maharashtra  INSC 179 (17 September 1974)
REDDY, P. JAGANMOHAN
CITATION: 1976 AIR 1151 1975 SCR (2) 66 1976
SCC (1) 162
Practice and Procedure-Criminal appeal to
High Court-Summary dismissal by High Court-Duty to give reasons.
Inasmuch as under the Constitution any person
aggrieved by an order of the High Court can petition to the Supreme Court under
Art. 136 for special leave, it is necessary, having regard to the long series
of decisions beginning with  S.C.R. 809, which discourage the practice of
dismissal by the one word 'dismissed, that the High Court should give some
reasons why no arguable case is made out on a perusal of the appeal petition
and the judgment of the lower court.
In the absence of reasons. this Court can
hold the dismissal to be justified or allow the appeal only after sending for
the records, getting the paper books prepared, hearing the parties and
appreciating the evidence. This process involves the Supreme Court being
burdened with such appeals and doing what the High Court should do. Further
during such avoidable delay the conviction person entertains a doubt about his
conviction and suffers anxiety. [66H-67D]
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal
Appeal No. 325 of 1974.
Appeal by Special Leave from the Judgment and
Order dated the 8th April, 1974 of the Bombay High Court in Crl. Appeal No. 305
Sharad Manchar, B. P. Maheshwari and Suresh
Sethi, for the appellants.
S. B. Wad and M. N. Shroff, for the
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
JAGANMOHAN REDDY, J.-We have just now admitted the special leave, petition and
after the appeal was registered heard the learned Advocates for the parties.
This is yet another case in which a criminal first appeal against a conviction
has been dismissed summarily under Section 421 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
We have heard both sides. Mr. Wad for the State has strenuously contended that
the High Court has power to dismiss summarily and has cited several decisions,
but in all these cases there is nothing to the contrary to justify a view
different from the one we are taking in this case. It is submitted that the
dismissal, was so summary that even the record was not called for. No doubt,
Section 421, Criminal Procedure Code does vest a power in the High Court to
dismiss an appeal summarily but it can do so only on a perusal of the petition
and the copy of the judgment. Inasmuch as under our Constitution any person
aggrieved by an order of the High Court can petition to this Court under
Article 136 for special leave, it is not only necessary but having regard to
the long series of decisions beginning as far back as 1953 (see 1953 SCR 809)
onwards which discourages this practice of dismissal by one word 'dismissed',
the High Court should at least have given some reasons 67 why no arguable case
is made out on a perusal of those documents. Since we are not in a position to
ascertain and it is contended before us that arguable points do arise in this
case in support of which the statement made in special leave petition has been
read to us, we are not in a position to say that an arguable case does not
arise. We would have been able to do so even if we had the slightest inkling in
the order of the High Court. In the absence of any reasons what has been
happening in many cases is that special leave is admitted, and after hearing
the appeal if this Court has come to the conclusion that the conviction is
valid, it has held that the dismissal by the High Court is justified. But this
method, in our view, reverses the process and imposes unnecessary burden on
this Court. What should have been done by the High Court, is now being done by
this Court. It is only after sending for the records, getting the paper books
prepared, hearing both parties in the appeal and after appreciation of the
evidence that it may be held that in some cases the dismissal, in fact, was
In many cases the appeals were even allowed.
Long avoidable delay thus ensues during which
the person convicted entertains a doubt about his conviction and has to suffer
the anxiety caused thereby.
We do hope and trust that the series of
decisions over this long period disapproving of the practice of summarily dismissing
by one word will be taken note of and this Court will not be ultimately
burdened with such appeals arising out of summary dismissals which is really
the function of the High Court at the first instance.
The appeal is accordingly allowed. The order of
the High Court is set aside. The appeal is remanded to the High Court for
hearing for admission and disposal in accordance with law and in the light of
the directions made here in above.