Limiting victim’s right to appeal under section 372 of the Criminal Procedure Code

Parvinder Kansal V. The State of NCT of Delhi & And
Decided on: 28/8/2020
Court: Supreme Court
Citation: SLP Crl No 3928 of 2020

Issue: Whether the victim has a right to appeal on the ground of inadequate sentence under section 372 of the Criminal Procedure Code?

The court has been approached through an SLP under Article 136 of the constitution, thereby challenging the order passed by the Hon’ble high court, that dismissed the appeal filed on the ground of inadequate sentence under section 372 of the Criminal Procedure Code, citing that it is not maintainable.

Brief facts:
An FIR was registered on 15/10/2007 for an offence punishable under section 364 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. After investigation a charge sheet was filed recording an offence under section 364(A), 302,201 of the Indian Penal Code against the second respondent and the said matter was placed before the special judge, sessions court.

The second respondent was convicted by the sessions court under section 364(A), 302, and section 201, wherein under section 302 and 364A he was convicted with life imprisonment, fine of Rs 100000 and SI for a period of 5 years and under section 201 with rigorous imprisonment for 5 years, fine of Rs50000 and SI for one year. The accused had the benefit of section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code with regard to the offence under section 201.

Being aggrieved by the father of the deceased filed an appeal, challenging the order passed by the sessions court under section 372 of the crpc, for the purpose of enhancement of punishment to death penalty and that the sentence awarded was not adequate. After hearing both the parties the high court vide it’s judgement dismissed the appeal citing non maintainability.

Therefore aggrieved by the decision of the High court, the appellant filed an SLP challenging the order of the High court and thereby contending that section 372 gives the right to prefer an appeal to the victim, when the accused is acquitted, convicted for a lesser offence or where compensation imposed is not adequate. There was no reason to restrict the scope of appeal only to lesser offences and not to lesser sentences.

After considering all the aspects in question the supreme court was of the opinion that according to the plain reading of section 372, it appears that the victim has a right to prefer an appeal but only for the purpose of inadequate compensation and also added that, there is no provision for appeal by the victims for questioning the order of sentence as inadequate as the power to question the same is only granted to the state under section 377 of the crpc.

Therefore placing it’s reliance on the case of National commission for women v. State of Delhi & Anr (2010) 12 SCC 599, it upheld the decision of the High court and therefore dismissed the appeal on the ground of non maintainability, as the right to appeal is a creation of the statute and as section 372 does not provide anything related to the victims right to question the order of sentence as inadequate, the same cannot be allowed.

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