Appeals by Third Persons in Criminal Cases

Forums The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 Appeals by Third Persons in Criminal Cases

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  • #3138

    As a general rule under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, appeals lie only in limited cases, as per Sec 372. Appeals in criminal cases may be preferred by the Prosecution. However, Sec 372 contains a proviso that says “victim shall have a right to prefer an appeal.
    Ques: Are there any other provisions under the CrPC that allow for appeal to be pressed by anyone other than the Prosecution? If so, how are they different from the proviso to Sec 372?

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    • #3139

      In 2008 Parliament on the basis of the 154th Law Commission Report and Malimath Committee Report, which was victim orientated in approach, amended certain provisions of Code of Criminal Proceedings (CrPC) and proviso to section 372 of CrPC was added to confer statutory right upon the victim to prefer an appeal before the High Court . The proviso to Section 372 provides three circumstances under which the victim of a crime can file an appeal to higher court. They are Acquittal of accused, Conviction of accused and Inadequacy of compensation to victim.

      However it is not the only provision which allows for a party other than the prosecution to file appeal against judgement of the trial Court. Such a provision is already into existence under section 378(4) of the code. Section 378(4) allows for an appeal against acquittal of the accused by the complainant. When the accused, the complainant may make an application to High Court, which may then grant a Special Leave to the complainant to appeal.

      Clearly while this section allows for an appeal similar to that of Section 372, the conditions and procedures are not the same.
      From the language of the sections, we may locate a few clear distinctions between the two provisions for parties to appeal a decision. They include-

      1. The word used in section 372 proviso is victim. On the other hand, Section 378(4) uses the word complainant.
      2. Section 372 proviso lays down three conditions under which a victim can appeal – acquittal, conviction for lesser offence and inadequate compensation. Section 378(4) restricts itself to acquittal.
      3. Section 378(4) seeks an application to be made to the High Court and then special leave is granted. Whereas 372 proviso does not require such special leave from High Court

    • #3140

      It has been rightly said that nobody is perfect. This is applicable to judges as well. There are chances of mistake & error in their judgment. Sec 372 of CrPC deals with provision of appeals in criminal cases but there is no doubt that proviso to Sec 372 must be given life, to benefit victim of an offence . In a historic Verdict of Suresh Vs State of Haryana, the Supreme Court ruled that beside the state, third person i.e. the victim can also file an appeal. The Code of Criminal Procedure deals with appeal from Section 372 to 394.
      There are different orders against which appeal can be filed:-
      • Order acquitting the accused
      • Order convicting for lesser offence
      Section 24 of CrPC lays down that a Public Prosecutor should be appointed for conducting appeal and he may appear and plead on behalf of the victim and he can do that without any written authority. The court will have to follow the principle of natural justice and the principle of Audi Alteram Partem. The third person should also be given the right to appeal in criminal cases. In a 2:1 majority judgment, a three judge bench held that section 372 of CrPC has to be given liberal interpretation to benefit the victim and after the judgment victims was also allowed to appeal in the criminal cases. Besides the state, the victims are also entitled to appeal against the orders by the court. The above provisions clearly indicate that there is scope of third party intervention in criminal cases. The court also held that it would be unfair to disallow the victim or any third party from having any representation. One of the main aim of punishment under criminal law is deterrence and as a good principle it really makes sense to permit third party intervention in criminal cases.

    • #3141

      Appeals in criminal cases may be preferred by the prosecution as mentioned under proviso of section 372 of code of criminal procedure,1973 but there are also other sections which deals with appeals by anyone other than the prosecutions such as section 351, Section 363(4), section 374, section 377 and Section 380 of Code of criminal procedure.

      Section 372 ( proviso) of CrPC states that the victim have the right to appeal against any order by the court under three circumstances:
      1. Acquitting the accused
      2. convicting for a lesser offence
      3. imposing inadequate compensation
      Whereas, Section 351(1) of CrPC states about appeals from convictions only under sections 344,345,349 and 350. An appeal from such conviction by a court of small causes shall lie to court of session and the appeal by sub section(1) is not controlled by any other provisions of the code. Therefore, an appeal against above mentioned sections only lies under this subsection even when the fine is imposed.

      Section 363(4) states when the accused is sentenced to death by any court then the accused have the right to appeal whereas proviso to section 372 only talks about the right of victims to appeal.

      Section 374 of Code of criminal procedure also states about appeals from convictions on a trial which is held by the high court may appeal to the Supreme Court whereas proviso to section 372 of CrPC states about the appeal against an order convicting the accused for the lesser offence.Even in section 377 of CrPC it mentioned that the state government or the central government can file an appeal regarding inadequate sentence.In this case, the accused had a right to plead for acquittal or for reduction of sentence whereas proviso to section 372 talks about the right of victim to appeal against the same order.

      Section 380 of CrPC is stating about the fact that an accused person whose sentence is unappealable has a right of appeal under this section only his co accused has been given an appealable sentence.

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