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Report No. 141

Chapter VI

Inherent Powers

6.1. Observations in 14th Report.-

The Law Commission in its 14th Report, while dealing with the question of inherent powers, recommended that such inherent powers of all criminal courts should be statutorily recognised. The question regarding the restoration of the case dismissed for default was, however, not considered by the Law Commission in the said report. The recommendations made by the Law Commission were to the following effect1:-

"12. The doctrine of inherent jurisdiction was for the first time given statutory recognition in the case of High Courts exercising criminal jurisdiction by the enactment of section 561A in the Criminal Procedure Code in 1923. This section assumes the existence of such inherent power in the High Courts and provides that nothing in the Code is to be deemed to limit its inherent power to make such orders as would be necessary to give effect to any order under the Code or to prevent abuse of the process of any court or to otherwise secure the ends of justice.

The inherent power, thus recognised, empowers the Court, inter alia, to prevent the abuse of the process not only of the High Court but of any court. The High Court thus exercises its inherent jurisdiction not only in respect of proceedings before it but also in respect of proceedings in the subordinate court.

13. This statutory recognition, however, extends only to the inherent powers of the High Court. One may compare it with the recognition of the inherent powers of all civil courts by section 151, Civil Procedure Code."

We reiterate the substance of the recommendation made in the earlier Reports, and recommend, that section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (which deals with inherent powers) should be amended for the purpose. However, we are of the view, that in actually formulating the amendment, the language employed should be affirmative, rather than negative as suggested in the earlier Reports.2 Because, what was then suggested was on the premise that even criminal courts did possess inherent powers, which premise no longer holds good in the light of the Supreme Court decision in Gauraya's case.3

1. Law Commission of India, 14th Report (Reform of Judicial Administration).

2. Law Commission of India, 41st Report (The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1988).

3. A.S. Gauraya v. S.N. Thakur, (1986) Cri LJ 1074 (SC): 1986 (2) SCC 709.

Need for amending the Law as regards to the Power of Courts to Restore Criminal Revision Applications and Criminal cases dismissed for Default in Appearance Back

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