Accused can challenge conviction in Appeal filed by State even if never preferred a Formal Appeal - Synopsis
Dilpreet Singh 8 May 2020

The Supreme Court noted in an appeal brought by the State, an accused could challenge the findings and order of conviction, even though the accused did not choose a formal appeal.

The Rajasthan High Court has changed the conviction of one of the convicted in a murder case (Mehram) from Section 302 of the IPC to that of Section 326 of the IPC. The State favoured the appeal against this judgment seeking to restore its conviction pursuant to Section 302 of IPC and grant him life sentence.

Relying to Chandrakant Patil vs. State through CBI, Sumer Singh vs. Surajbhan Singh & Ors, State of Rajasthan vs. Ramanand and Section 377(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the accused's advocate claims that he had the right to contest the finding of guilt and prosecution under Section 326 and 148 of the IPC, registered against him, even though the defendant did not want a formal appeal. In accordance with the conflict, the bench consisting of the Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari stated:

The accused No. 5 (Mehram S/o Chhagna Ram) is justified in contending that it is open to the said accused to challenge the finding and order of conviction under Section 326/148, IPC recorded against him in the appeal filed by the State, assailing the impugned judgment of the High Court. That being the settled legal position, as expounded in Chandrakant Patil (supra), Sumer Singh (supra) and Ramanand (supra) including Section 377(3) of the Cr.P.C., which predicates that in the appeal filed against the sentence on the ground of its inadequacy, the accused may plead for his acquittal or for reduction of the sentence”.

However, the Court permitted the appeal in part and found the accused guilty of a crime liable under Section 304 of Part I and Section 148 of the Indian Penal Code. He was convicted to basic imprisonment for ten (10) years for a crime punishable through Section 304 Part I and for imprisonment of six (6) months for a crime punishable under Section 148 of IPC.

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