Bom HC | Victim’s right to appeal against acquittal of accused upheld in light of amendment to S. 372 CrPC

Bombay High Court: M.G. Giratkar, J. quashed an order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge wherein the victim’s (applicant’s) appeal against the acquittal of the accused was dismissed as not maintainable.

The accused was prosecuted for the offences punishable under Sections 354-A, 354-D, 323 and 506 IPC. He was, however, acquitted by the Judicial Magistrate (First Class). The victim appealed against the said order. The Additional Sessions Judge dismissed the appeal holding it to be not maintainable in view of Sections 372 and 378(3) CrPC.

R.K. Borkar, Advocate for the victim submitted that the offence took place in 2016 and the Judgment of acquittal was passed in 2017. The appeal, it was contended, was maintainable in view of the amendment to Section 372.

 The High Court noted that before 2009, there was no provision of filing an appeal by the victim before the first appellate court. However, after the amendment in Section 372 in the year 2009, the victim can challenge the order of acquittal passed by the Judicial Magistrate (First Class) before the Sessions Judge. The proviso added to Section 372 reads thus:

“that the victim shall have a right to prefer an appeal against any order passed by the Court acquitting the accused or convicting for a lesser offence or imposing inadequate compensation, and such appeal shall lie to the Court to which an appeal ordinarily lies against the order of conviction of such court.”

The Court held that in view of the provisions of Section 372, the Sessions Court ought to have entertained the appeal. Hence, the revision was allowed. The Sessions Court was directed to decide the appeal as per law.[Ragini v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 697, dated 23-04-2019]

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