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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Confirmation of conviction with out assigning valid reasons - not valid and as such remanded to consider afresh =The High Court’s cryptic reasoning is contained in two short paragraphs. We find such disposal of a criminal appeal by the High Court particularly in a case involving charge under Section 302 of the IPC where the accused is sentenced to life imprisonment unsatisfactory. It was necessary for the High Court to consider whether the trial court’s assessment of the evidence and its opinion that the appellant must be convicted deserve to be confirmed. This exercise is necessary because the personal liberty of an accused is curtailed because of the conviction. The High Court must state its reasons why it is accepting the evidence on record. The High Court’s concurrence with the trial court’s view would be acceptable only if it is supported by reasons. In such appeals it is a court of first appeal. Reasons cannot be cryptic. By this, we do not mean that the High Court is expected to write an unduly long treatise. The judgment may be short but must reflect proper application of mind to vital evidence and important submissions which go to the root of the matter. Since this exercise is not conducted by the High Court, the appeal deserves to be remanded for a fresh hearing after setting aside the impugned order.

published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgs1.aspx?filename=40502
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NON-REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 818 OF 2013
[ARISING OUT OF SLP (CRL.) NO. 1300 OF 2013]
Majjal … APPELLANT
Versus
State of Haryana … RESPONDENT
O R D E R
1. Leave granted.
2. This appeal, by grant of special leave, is directed
against the judgment and order dated 14/2/2012 passed by
the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh
dismissing Criminal Appeal No.920-DB of 2009 filed by the
appellant. Page 2
3. Briefly stated the prosecution case is that the
complainant – Ramjani (PW-4) made a complaint with
police station Punhana against the appellant and others. It
was alleged in the complaint that during the night
intervening 30/10/1995 and 31/10/1995 the appellant along
with his sons namely Harun, Rajak, Khurshid and Bhati and
other persons arrived at the house of Deen Dar with
common object to kidnap Farida daughter of Deen Dar. The
appellant and his associates were armed with guns and
country made pistols. They tried to take away Farida on
which she raised cries. Consequently Abdul Karim son of
Deen Dar, Lal Khan(PW-3) and Khurshid sons of Rojdar,
Deen Dar son of Chand Khan and Roshni arrived at the
house of Deen Dar along with the complainant and tried to
rescue Farida. At that time the appellant fired a shot at Lal
Khan, Harun fired a shot at Abdul Karim and Khurshid fired
a shot at Deen Dar. Injuries were caused to Roshni with
lathis. Thereafter Mehboob son of Rojdar came. He was
abducted by the appellant and his son Khurshid. Abdul
2Page 3
Karim expired at the spot due to firearm injury. Deen Dar
also got injured. Thereafter, the assailants fled away from
the scene of occurrence.
3. On the basis of the information given by PW-4, FIR
No.277 was registered under Sections 148, 149, 302, 307,
364, 323, 120B of IPC and Section 25 of Arms Act against
the appellant and investigation commenced. On completion
of investigation, charge-sheet was filed against the
appellant. The appellant pleaded not guilty to the charges
and claimed to be tried. The prosecution, in support of its
case, examined as many as 16 witnesses (PW-1 to PW-16).
The prosecution exhibited 29 documents (Exhibits P1 to P29)
in evidence. No defence evidence was adduced.
4. Upon perusal of the evidence, the trial court convicted
the appellant under Section 302 read with Section 149 of the
IPC and sentenced him to imprisonment for life and to pay a
fine of Rs. 10,000/-, in default, to further undergo simple
imprisonment for a period of 3 months. The appellant was
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directed to pay Rs. 25,000/- as compensation to injured Lal
Khan. As already stated, the appeal preferred by the
appellant was dismissed by the High Court. Hence, this
appeal by special leave.
5. We have heard Shri Dushyant Parashar, learned
counsel for the appellant as well as Shri Narender Hooda,
Sr. Assistant Advocate General for the State.
6. In this case what strikes us is the cryptic nature of the
High Court’s observations on the merits of the case. The
High Court has set out the facts in detail. It has mentioned
the names and numbers of the prosecution witnesses.
Particulars of all documents produced in the court along with
their exhibit numbers have been mentioned. Gist of the trial
court’s observations and findings are set out in a long
paragraph. Then there is a reference to the arguments
advanced by the counsel.
Thereafter, without any proper
analysis of the evidence almost in a summary way the High
Court has dismissed the appeal.
The High Court’s cryptic
4Page 5
reasoning is contained in two short paragraphs. 
We find
such disposal of a criminal appeal by the High Court
particularly in a case involving charge under Section 302 of
the IPC where the accused is sentenced to life imprisonment
unsatisfactory.
It was necessary for the High Court to
consider whether the trial court’s assessment of the
evidence and its opinion that the appellant must be
convicted deserve to be confirmed. 
This exercise is
necessary because the personal liberty of an accused is
curtailed because of the conviction. 
The High Court must
state its reasons why it is accepting the evidence on record.
The High Court’s concurrence with the trial court’s view
would be acceptable only if it is supported by reasons. 
In
such appeals it is a court of first appeal. 
Reasons cannot be cryptic. 
By this, we do not mean that the High Court is
expected to write an unduly long treatise. 
The judgment
may be short but must reflect proper application of mind to
vital evidence and important submissions which go to the
root of the matter. 
Since this exercise is not conducted by
5Page 6
the High Court, the appeal deserves to be remanded for a
fresh hearing after setting aside the impugned order. 
7. Hence, we set aside the impugned judgment and order
dated 14/2/2012 and remand the appeal to the High Court.
We request the High Court to hear the appeal afresh and
deliver judgment in light of our above observations as
expeditiously as possible as the appellant is in jail and he is
stated to be 84 years of age. We make it clear that we have
not considered the merits of the case. The appeal shall be
disposed of independently and on merits. 
8. The appeal is disposed of in the aforestated terms.
……………………………………………..J.
(G.S. SINGHVI)
……………………………………………..J.
(RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI)
……………………………………………..J.
(SHARAD ARVIND BOBDE)
NEW DELHI,
July 2, 2013.
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