of Haryana Vs. Ram Pal & Ors  Insc
86 (7 February 2005)
Pasayat & S.H. Kapadia
out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 3370 of 2003 ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
State of Haryana questions legality of the order passed by the Division Bench
of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissing its application under Section
378(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (in short the 'Code').
faced trial for alleged commission of the offences punishable under Sections
148, 302, 452, 506, 323 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
(in short the 'IPC'). The accusations against the accused persons were that
they formed an unlawful assembly and being members of such unlawful assembly,
they trespassed into the house of one Dalel Singh (hereinafter referred to as
the 'deceased') and inflicted injuries on him and his son Nafe Singh (PW-5) by
deadly weapons which they were carrying. The date and time of occurrence was
stated to be 23.2.1999 at about 6.00 a.m. There were two eyewitnesses to the occurrence namely Parma Nand (PW-4),
the informant and Nafe Singh, the injured (PW-5). Accused persons took the plea
of false implication and attributed assaults on the accused persons by the
deceased and Nefa Singh (PW-5). Three witnesses were examined to further the defence
version of false implication.
trial Court found the evidence of witnesses to be credible and cogent and found
that some of the accused persons were responsible for the injuries on the
deceased and the injured PW-5. It held that some of the accused persons did not
inflict any injury and the assault made by accused Ram Chander was an
individual act and the other two accused persons, namely, Ram Pal and Palla Ram
were to be convicted for offence punishable under Sections 452 and 323 read
with Section 34 IPC.
held that since the total number of persons proved to have committed the
offences was only three, provisions of Section 149 were not attracted.
Ultimately, accused Ram Chander was found guilty of offence punishable under
Section 304 Part II IPC and other two accused persons named above for the
offences punishable under Sections 452 and 323 read with Section 34 IPC. Other
accused persons were acquitted of the charges.
State of Haryana filed an application in terms of
Section 378(3) of the Code taking the stand that for attracting Section 149 IPC
it is not necessary to attribute any particular overt act. Further, merely
because the accused Ram Chander had assaulted by the blunt side of the Gandasa,
it cannot mean that he did not have the requisite intention to commit the
offence of murder. The trial Court having noticed that the blow was given with
such great force that it caused multiple fractures and laceration of the brain,
the alteration of the conviction from Section 302 IPC to Section 304 Part II
was not correct.
High Court dismissed the application with the following order:
find no good ground to interfere with the reasoned judgment of the trial Court.
Dismissed." Learned counsel for the appellant-State submitted that the
manner of disposal of the application as done by the High Court is
response, learned counsel for the accused persons submitted that the High Court
was justified in not interfering with the elaborate judgment of the trial
Court, by refusing grant of leave.
trial Court was required to carefully appraise the entire evidence and then
come to a conclusion. If the trial Court was at lapse in this regard the High
Court was obliged to undertake such an exercise by entertaining the appeal. The
trial Court on the facts of this case did not perform its duties, as was
enjoined on it by law. The High Court ought to have in such circumstances
granted leave and thereafter as a first court of appeal, re-appreciated the
entire evidence on the record independently and returned its findings
objectively as regards guilt or otherwise of the accused. It has failed to do
so. The questions involved were not trivial. The question regarding application
of Sections 302 and 149 IPC as raised does require consideration, keeping in
view the evidence adduced and conclusions of trial 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. Similar view has been 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 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 of India, 1950 (in short the 'Constitution').
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).
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.
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 a sphinx" is ordinarily incongruous
with a judicial or quasi- judicial performance.
above position was highlighted 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. We grant leave to the State to file the
appeal. The High Court shall entertain the appeal and after requisite 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.