SC: High Court cannot alter its own sentence under Section 482 CrPC

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 4th November 2019, in the matter of State of Madhya Pradesh v. Man Singh pronounced that where the High Court alters the sentence in a revision petition, it becomes functus officio and cannot entertain a petition under Section 482 CrPC for altering the sentence.

The Question before the Court was:

Whether a Judge of the High Court can exercise powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short ‘CrPC’) to alter the sentence which has been passed by the High Court itself ?

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

There is no power of review granted to the Courts under CrPC. (Para 4)

Where the High Court alters the sentence in a revision petition, it becomes functus officio and cannot entertain a petition under Section 482 CrPC for altering the sentence.(This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 4)

[State of Kerala v. M.M. Manikantan Nair, (2001) 4 SCC 752] High Court has no jurisdiction to review its order either under Section 362 or under Section 482 of CrPC . (Para 5)

[State Rep. by D.S.P., S.B.C.I.D., Chennai v. K.V. Rajendran & Ors., 2009 CriLJ 355 SC] The inherent power under Section 482 CrPC cannot be used by the High Court to reopen or alter an order disposing of a petition decided on merits. (Para 5)

[Hari Singh Mann v. Harbhajan Singh Bajwa & Ors. (2001) 1 SCC 169] After disposing of a case on merits, the Court becomes functus officio and Section 362 CrPC expressly bars review and specifically provides that no Court after it has signed its judgment shall alter or review the same except to correct a clerical or arithmetical error. (Para 5)

[Sooraj Devi v. Pyare Lal & Anr., AIR 1981 SC 736] Recall of judgment would amount to alteration or review of judgment which is not permissible under Section 362 CrPC. It cannot be validated by the High Court invoking its inherent powers. (Para 5)

Even in a case where the High Court grants benefit of probation to the accused, the Court has no jurisdiction to pass an order that the employee be retained in service. (Para 9)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_04-Nov-2019

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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