AdvocateKhoj
Login : Advocate | Client
Home Post Your Case My Account Law College Law Library
    

Report No. 14

11. Anomalies in the right of appeal (Powers of presidency magistrates).-

We may here refer to certain anomalies in regard to rights of appeal which, in our view, need to be removed. As set out above, a sentence upto six months' imprisonment or a fine upto two hundred rupees by a presidency magistrate is not appealable. The main reason for not permitting appeals in such cases would appear to be that the presidency magistrates are, or at any rate were at one time, highly paid officers, generally selected from men of experience at the Bar or highly experienced judicial officers.

Appeals from sentences passed by them lie to the High Court. The non-appealable sentences which they may pass are, therefore, naturally higher than those of ordinary first class magistrates. They have been exercising these powers ever since the Code came into existence. experience has shown that the institution of presidency magistrates has been very useful. Notwithstanding the recent appointments of junior judicial officers from the service to their cadre, the general view seems to favour the retention of their existing special powers.

Sessions judges.- But it is surprising that in contrast with the position of presidency magistrates, the limit of non-appealable sentences in the case of sessions judges and additional sessions judges (other than those in Greater Bombay) should be much lower. These officers are empowered to impose the extreme penalty provided by law. They are recruited from persons with a long judicial experience or from among experienced members of the Bar. Cases which are normally heard by a court of session are of a very serious and complicated nature and more difficult than those tried by presidency magistrates. It may also be pointed out that presidency magistrates other than the Chief presidency magistrate are lower in status than a sessions judge.

It is far from logical that a right of appeal should exist from a conviction by a judge enjoying a superior status while no such right is available in respect of a like sentence passed by a judge of an inferior status. The limits of the non-appealable sentence that can be passed by a judge of the city sessions court in Calcutta or Madras are the same as those of sessions judges in the mofussil and thus lower than those in the case of presidency magistrates in the same towns. If the denial of a right of appeal in a certain categories of cases is justified, the rule should work uniformly. We are of the view that the limits of non-appealable sentences passed by sessions judges and additional sessions judges should be raised and made identical with those (in the case) of presidency magistrates.

12. Appeals from second and third class magistrates (Recent amendment of the law).-

We have pointed out earlier that under the Code, as amended in 1955, appeals by persons convicted on trial held by second and third class magistrates lie to the court of session. These appeals can, however, be heard by an assistant sessions judge. Prior to the amendment, such appeals were heard by either district magistrate or first class magistrate specially empowered in that behalf. The reason for this amendment was to prevent appeals from sentences of magistrates of even the lower categories being dealt with by executive officers like a district magistrate or a sub-divisional magistrate.

13. Resulting inconvenience and congestion.-

This amendment, though enacted to effectuate a very desirable purpose, has resulted in great inconvenience and congestion of work. An assistant sessions judge is generally an officer of the status of a subordinate judge or civil judge, senior division. On the civil side he has unlimited jurisdiction and is also generally invested with powers to hear appeals from the decisions of munsifs or junior civil judges. As assistant sessions judge he is also competent to try criminal cases punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years. It has been recognized that assistant sessions judges have, as a class been handling very heavy and important cases both on the civil and criminal side. It is on this class of officers that the amended Code has laid the additional duty of hearing appeals from sentences passed by the second and third class magistrates.

14. Transfer of work to the court of session undesirable.-

We are of the view that these subordinate judges who would also be entrusted with the powers of assistant sessions judges should not be entrusted with criminal appellate work in the shape of appeals from second and third class magistrates as we would prefer them to devote their entire time to the trial of suits. If, on the other hand, these appeals are to be heard by sessions judges or additional sessions judges, it would mean burdening these highly paid and overworked officers with a good deal of petty work.

15. State amendments.-

In States where separation of the judiciary from the executive has been effected, the amendment of the Code has not much meaning. The district magistrates have been under the direct control of the High Court except in the State of Bombay. In the State of Madras, the Code as amended, was, therefore, further amended by Act XXXI of 1956 which restored section 407 of the Code to its form prior to the Central amendment. The same measure was taken in the State of Kerala by Act V of 1957.

In States where separation has been introduced, except Bombay and parts of Andhra Pradesh where there are no Judicial district magistrates, the entire criminal judiciary, including the district magistrates (judicial), is under the control of the High Court and the reason which led to the Central amendment of the Code has no application.

16. Restoration of old position in Separation States.-

We have, in another place, recommended the immediate introduction of the separation of the judiciary from the executive in States where it does not yet prevail by issue of executive orders as in Madras and that Central Legislation providing for a uniform system of separation in all States be enacted. In the circumstances, the Central Amendment will have to be repealed and the provision in section 407, as it stood before the amendment, restored.

17. Cadre of assistant sessions judges to be strengthened.-

We recommend, however, that till a real system of separation is introduced in States where it does not exist, care should be taken to see that the strength of the judiciary at the level of the assistant sessions judge which has to hear these appeals is suitably. strengthened in order that the other work allotted to these officers does not fall into arrears. This has, we understand, been done in the Punjab.

18. Speedy disposal of criminal appeals essential (Disposal within six months in the High Courts).-

It is important that appeals by persons who have been found guilty of offences should be disposed of quickly. If one of the objects of punishment is to deter people from committing offences on account of a fear of the consequences, delay in the execution of the sentence against a person found guilty on appeal would only dull the edge of the deterrent effect. On the other hand, if a person is found not guilty on appeal, it is equally important that he should have been spared the agony of a long suspense. Looked at from any angle, therefore, it is very desirable that criminal appeals should be disposed of far more expeditiously than most other judicial work.

As paper books have to be prepared in the High Courts before the appeal is heard, we suggest that criminal appeals in the High Courts should be disposed of within a period of six months from the date of their institution. Greater expedition can be achieved if suitable administrative arrangements are made, in order that printing is completed within a month or paper books are cyclostyled instead of being printed.

19. An examination of the figures reveals, however, a very disheartening situation in regard to the pace and the volume of the disposal of criminal appeals in most of the High Courts. The tables set out below give the figures showing the institution, disposal and pendency of criminal appeals in the High Courts of various States in the year 1956 and also the years of institution of the criminal appeals pending in the various High Courts on the 1st of January 1957.

Table A

Comparative Statements Showing The Institution, Disposal and Pendency of Criminal Appeals in The High Courts of Various States in The Year 1956.

Name of the State

Pending at the beginning of the year

Institution

Disposal

Pending at the close of the year

Remarks

1

2

3

4

5

6

Andhra Pradesh

544

902

954

492

(a) on.-11-56

Assam

78

194

91

181

(b) The figure represents the institution in original Nagpur Bench for the whole year and institution in indore and Gwalior from.-11-56 to 31-12-56.

Bihar

554

654

503

705

Bombay

299

1644

1529

414

(C) The figure represents the disposal in original Nagpur Bench for the whole year and Indore and Gwalior from.-11-56 to 31-12-56.

Kerala (A)

57

219

211

65

Madhya Pradesh

322(a)

485(b)

380(c)

382

(X) Includes Institutions by transfer as a result of the Reorganisation of states.

Madras

225

838

744

319

(A) Includes institutions and disposals by transfer as a result of the Reorganisation of States.

Mysore

106

92

63

135

Orissa

252

205

168

289

(C) Includes the figures relating to the Original Side of High Court.

Punjab(X)

239

928

729

438

Rajasthan

334

388

432

290

Uttar Pradesh

4401

2453

3127

3727

West Bengal(C)

238

733

539

432

Table B

Statement Showing The Year of Institution of Criminal Appeals Pending In Various High Courts on.-1-1957.

Before

Name of the State

1949

1949

1950

1951

1952

1953

1954

1955

1956

Total

Remarks

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

Andhra Pradesh(A)

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

32

281

313

(A) Does not include the pendency of Criminal Appeals received from the Telengana region

Assam

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

44

137

181

Bihar

..

..

..

..

..

..

24

170

511

705

Bombay(B)

..

..

..

..

..

..

1

22

571

594

(B) Includes the pendency in the Nagpur and Rajkot Benches.

Kerala

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

1

64

65

(C) Relates To the Year 1947.

Madhya Pradesh

..

..

..

..

..

5

19

28

330

382

*The figures shown against this State include Criminal Appeals from the Original Side of the High Court.

Madras

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

3

316

319

Mysore

..

..

..

..

..

4

..

1

130

135

Orissa

..

..

..

..

..

15

99

175

289

Punjab

..

..

..

2

2

..

7

61

366

438

Rajasthan

..

3

1

2

12

4

7

52

209

290

Uttar Pradesh

..

..

..

..

3

40

295

1408

1981

3727

West Bengal (C)

1

..

..

..

..

..

..

96

335

432

20. Delays in the High Courts.-

It will be noticed that in several of the High Courts the disposal of criminal appeals has not kept pace with the institution. In fact, an analysis of the statistics for the years 1953 to 1956 reveals that the pendency of criminal appeals in the High Courts of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Bombay, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab and West Bengal has been progressively rising. As many as 3727 criminal appeals were pending in the High Court of Uttar Pradesh on the 1st of January, 1957 and quite a high percentage of those appeals had been pending for more than one year. In Rajasthan also, some of the pending criminal appeals are very old. We have earlier referred to the target of six months for the disposal of criminal appeals and revisions in the High Courts and strenuous efforts will be needed if this target is to be achieved .



Reform of Judicial Administration Back




Client Area | Advocate Area | Blogs | About Us | User Agreement | Privacy Policy | Advertise | Media Coverage | Contact Us | Site Map
powered and driven by neosys