Article 136 and Criminal Appeals III

The jurisdiction which this Court exercises under Article 136 has its own self-imposed restrictions. It is sufficient to refer to this Court’s decision reported in Ganga Kumar Srivastava v. State of Bihar, (2005) 6 SCC 211, where this Court after referring to various decisions has laid down certain principles for exercising the power of this Court under Article 136.

It is useful to refer to paragraph 10 of the judgment…

  • The powers of this Court under Article 136 of the Constitution are very wide but in criminal appeals this Court does not interfere with the concurrent findings of fact save in exceptional circumstances.
  • It is open to this Court to interfere with the findings of fact given by the High Court, if the High Court has acted perversely or otherwise improperly.
  • It is open to this Court to invoke the power under Article 136 only in very exceptional circumstances as and when a question of law of general public importance arises or a decision shocks the conscience of the Court.
  • When the evidence adduced by the prosecution fell short of the test of reliability and acceptability and as such it is highly unsafe to act upon it.
  • Where the appreciation of evidence and finding is vitiated by any error of law of procedure or found contrary to the principles of natural justice, errors of record and misreading of the evidence, or where the conclusions of the High Court are manifestly perverse and unsupportable from the evidence on record.

To the similar effect, another judgment of this Court reported in Alamelu v. State, (2011) 2 SCC 385, where this Court held that even though the powers of this Court under Article 136 are very wide, but in criminal appeals, this Court would not interfere with the concurrent findings of facts, save in very exceptional cases.

Following was laid down in paragraph 19

We may point out that even though the powers of this Court under Article 136 of the Constitution are very wide, but in criminal appeals, this Court would not interfere with the concurrent findings of facts, save in very exceptional cases. In an appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution, this Court does not normally appreciate the evidence by itself and go into the question of credibility of witnesses. The assessment of the evidence by the High Court is accepted as final except where the conclusions recorded by the High Court are manifestly perverse and unsupportable by the evidence on record.”

Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan, Devraj v. State of Chattisgarh, [Criminal Appeal No. 423 of 2015].

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