SC: Revisional court has no superintendence over employer of accused

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 6th December 2019, in the matter of New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Krishna Kumar Pandey pronounced that revisional power under Sections 397 and 401 of Cr.P.C cannot be converted into the power of superintendence over the employer of the person accused. None of the provisions of Sections 397 to 401 confer any power upon the High Court to declare that there shall be no civil consequences, resulting from the conviction.

Question(s) before the Hon’ble Supreme Court / Court’s Observations:

Whether in a revision under Section 397 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, arising out of conviction, the High Court could have, even while affirming the conviction, taken away the right of the employer to exercise disciplinary control over an employee, on the basis of the conviction by the criminal court.

The scope of the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court (or Sessions Court) under Section 397 Cr.P.C, is limited to the extent of satisfying itself as to the correctness, legality or propriety of any finding, sentence or order passed by an inferior Court. The revisional Court is entitled to look into the regularity of any proceeding before an inferior Court. (Para 8)

The purpose of this revisional power is to set right a patent defect or an error of jurisdiction or law. (Para 8)

Obviously the power conferred by Sections 397 and 401 of Cr.P.C are actually powers of superintendence/supervision over inferior Courts. The power cannot be converted into the power of superintendence over the employer of the person accused. None of the provisions of Sections 397 to 401 confer any power upon the High Court to declare that there shall be no civil consequences, resulting from the conviction. (Para 9)

Section 362 of Cr.P.C is expressly subjected to “what is otherwise provided by the Code or by any other law for the time being in force.” (Para 11)

The High Court, in a revision arising out of conviction, cannot seal the right of the employer to take action on the basis of conduct which led to the conviction of an employee, within the parameters of the service Rules. (Para 13)

 Copy of order: Order_06-Dec-2019

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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