Supreme Court does not function, as a regular Court of Criminal Appeal without a fit certificate u/a 134 (1) (a) or (b) of Constitution by a High Court

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA JUDGMENTS

Supreme Court does not function, ordinarily as a Court of Criminal Appeal without a fit certificate from High Court

In other words, the Supreme Court does not function, ordinarily, as a Court of Criminal Appeal. Under the Constitution, it has the power, and it is its duty, to hear appeals, as a Regular Court of Appeal, on facts involved in cases coming up to this Court on a certificate under Art. 134 (1) (a) or (b). To the same effect are the other decisions of this Court, referred to in the reported decision aforesaid, for example, Narasingh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, (1955) 1 SCR 238, Baladin vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, (S) A I R 1956 S C 181 (C), Sunder Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, (S) A I R 1956 S C 411 (D). It is therefore, incumbent upon the High Courts to be vigilant in cases coming up before them, by way of an application for a certificate of fitness under Art. 134 (1) (c) of the Constitution. [Khushal Rao Versus State of Bombay-25/09/1957]

134A. Certificate for appeal to the Supreme Court. – Every High Court, passing or making a Judgement, decree, final order, or sentence, referred to in clause (1) of article 132 or clause (1) of article 133, or clause (1) of article 134,-

(a) may, if it deems fit so to do, on its own motion; and

(b) shall, if an oral application is made, by or on behalf of the party aggrieved, immediately after the passing or making of such Judgement, decree, final order or sentence, determine, as soon as may be after such passing or making, the question whether a certificate of the nature referred to in clause (1) of article 132, or clause (1) of article 133 or, as the case may be, sub-clause (c) of clause (1) of article 134, may be given in respect of that case.

The mere disability of the High Court to remedy this circumstance and vouchsafe a full and fair trial could not be any justification for granting a certificate under Art. 134 (1) (c) and converting this Court into a Court of Appeal on facts. No High Court has the jurisdiction to pass on mere questions of fact for further consideration by this court under the relevant Articles of the Constitution. We no doubt possess that power and in proper cases have exercised it under Art. 136 (1).

Regular appeal vs Special Leave Appeal

In Haripada Dey Versus The State of West Bengal and another– 05/09/1956 the position of Law explained :

If there has been a gross miscarriage of justice or a departure from legal procedure such as vitiates the whole trial we would certainly intervene and we would also intervene if even the findings of fact were such as were shocking to our judicial conscience and grant in such cases special leave to appeal under Art. 136(1). That is, however, a special jurisdiction which we can exercise under Art. 136 (1), but no High Court can arrogate that function to itself and pass on to us a matter which in its view is purely one involving questions of fact, because it finds itself helpless to redress the grievance. In such a case, the High Court should refuse to give a certificate under Art. 134 (1) (c) and ask the parties to approach us invoking our special jurisdiction under Art. 136 (1) of the Constitution. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the discretion that was so elaborately exercised by the Calcutta High Court in this case was wrongly exercised. The certificate purporting to have been granted under Art. 134 (1) (c) was no certificate at all and it does not avail the appellant before us.

3. Following our decisions in Narsingh V. The State of Uttar Pradesh, 19551 S.C.R. 238, Buladin vs. The State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1956 S.C. 181 (C) and Sunder Singh vs. The State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1956 S.C. 411 (D), Mr. Sukumar Ghose for the appellant urged that this was a fit case where we should exercise our discretion and grant the appellant special leave to appeal under Art.136 (1) of the Constitution. He pointed out that even though the appellant had led no evidence in defence there were on the record of the case certain documents which if taken as proved would have been sufficient to demolish the prosecution case. These were commented upon by the learned Chief Justice in the Judgment which he delivered when certificate for leave to appeal under Art. 134 (1) (c) was granted by him. These documents, it was urged, went to show that sometime before the car in question was stolen, an application had been made by the appellant to the police authorities in Chandarnagore for registration of Hillman Minx 1951 Model car which bore the same number on the engine, chassis and tinplate as the car in question and on that application, investigation had been made by the A.S.I. police, who made his report, the contents of which would go to establish the case which was put forward by the appellant in his defence.