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Report No. 277

B. Issue Under Consideration

1.2 The expression 'miscarriage of justice' is of wide amplitude. It has been defined as an error of justice meaning "errors in the interpretation, procedure, or execution of the law - typically, errors that violate due process, often resulting in the conviction of innocent people."2 Wharton's Law Lexicon (9th Edition) defines 'Miscarriage of Justice' as the failure of justice.

1.3 The Privy Council in Bibhabati Devi v. Ramendra Narayan Roy,3 defined the contours of the term 'miscarriage of justice' as a departure from the rules that permeates all judicial procedure so as to make the resulting proceedings not in the proper sense of the word 'judicial procedure' at all. The Court highlighted two scenarios: one, where violation of law or procedure must be of such erroneous proposition of law that if that proposition were to be corrected, the finding could not stand; and the other, where the neglect is of such principle of law or procedure, whose application will have the same effect.4

1.4 Over the years, the expression 'miscarriage of justice' has been looked into in a plethora of judicial pronouncements, including within its purview a multitude of violations and desecrations. Miscarriage of justice is what arises from misconception of law, irregularity of procedure, neglect of proper precaution leading to apparent harshness of treatment or some underserved hardship to individuals.5

1.5 In Ayodhya Dube & Ors. v. Ram Sumar Singh6, the Supreme Court held that lack of judicial approach, non-application of mind, non-consideration or improper consideration of material evidence inconsistencies with faulty reasoning such that amounts to perversity amounts to grave miscarriage of justice.

1.6 A glaring defect in the procedure or a manifest error on a point of law is consequently a flagrant miscarriage of justice.7 If a judgment is unreasonable, based on an erroneous understanding of the law and of the facts of the case, it occasions miscarriage of justice. If a court's approach in dealing with the evidence is found to be patently illegal, with findings recorded to be perverse, and the conclusions arrived thereto contrary to the evidence on record, it leads to miscarriage of justice.8

1.7 Non-compliance of the principles of natural justice, may deprive the accused to explain a particular circumstance. Unjust failure to produce requisite evidence may cause prejudice to the accused, which may result in failure of justice. Prejudice is incapable of being interpreted in its generic sense. The expression failure of justice is an extremely pliable or facile expression, which can be made to fit into any situation of a case.9

1.8 Miscarriage of justice arises from a faulty and erroneous appreciation of evidence.10 In Ramesh Harijan v. State of Uttar Pradesh11, the Court overturning an acquittal order, noted that undue importance to 'insignificant discrepancies and inconsistencies' by the trial court observing that such a course tantamount to miscarriage of justice - and preventing the same is of paramount importance.12

1.9 These judicial pronouncements discuss a broader view of the expression 'miscarriage of justice', but in the context of issue under discussion in this report, 'miscarriage of justice' refers to wrongful or malicious prosecution, whether or not it leads to a conviction by any court of law, and whether or not it leads to any incarceration. These are the cases where the accused was not guilty of the offence, and the police and/or the prosecution engaged in some form of misconduct in investigating and/or prosecuting the person.



Wrongful Prosecution (Miscarriage of Justice) - Legal Remedies Back




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