High Court (India)

April 17, 2019

Appeal can be filed by Victim without leave of the Court against accused's acquittal

Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court has reiterated a Supreme Court decision and said that the victim of an offence or his/her guardian and legal heirs are entitled to challenge an acquittal or conviction order for a lesser offence or inadequate compensation under Section 372 of the Criminal Procedure Code, by way of a ‘Criminal Appeal’ before it. A Criminal Leave Petittion need not be filed by such a victim.

Whenever a ‘criminal leave petition’ is filed by a victim of an offence, the same will be treated by the Registry as ‘criminal appeal’. Objection will be raised by the Registry at the time of clearing the petition so that the counsel for the petition can correct the defect right away.

A Division Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Vinod Goel passed the order while hearing a ‘criminal leave petition’ by the deceased’s father, against the acquittal of all accused persons being tried for offences under Sections 302, 201, 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

Inspite of the SC decision in Mallikarjun Kodagali vs. State of Karnataka [(2019) 2 SCC 752] that apart from the State, a victim can also file an appeal against the acquittal of the accused, without seeking the leave of the appellate court, the Court held that the practice of filing criminal leave petitions was still prevalent.

“It has come to our notice that despite the above legal position, the Registry has not been raising any objections as to the maintainability of Criminal Leave Petitions like the present one, filed by the victims and/or his/her legal heirs/guardians when such a right has been vested in them by virtue of the captioned decision,” the Court stated.

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