Criminal Procedure Code 1973

Whether a Victim can prefer an appeal for inadequate sentence?

Sec 372of Cr.P.C

No appeal to lie unless otherwise provided.

 No appeal shall lie from any judgment or order of a Criminal Court except as provided for by this Code or by any other law for the time being in force:

Provided 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.

Section 372, Cr.PC which gives right to prefer appeal to the victim, when the accused is convicted for  lesser offence, there is  scope of appeal only for a lesser offence but not for lesser sentence.

A reading of the proviso makes it clear that so far as victim’s right of appeal is concerned, same is restricted to three eventualities, namely, acquittal of the accused; conviction of the accused for lesser offence; or for imposing inadequate Crl.A.@S.L.P.(Crl.)No.3928 of 2020 compensation. While the victim is given opportunity to prefer appeal in the event of imposing inadequate compensation, but at the same time there is no provision for appeal by the victim for questioning the order of sentence as inadequate, whereas Section 377, Cr.PC gives the power to the State Government to prefer appeal for enhancement of sentence. While it is open for the State Government to prefer appeal for inadequate sentence under Section 377, Cr.PC but similarly no appeal can be maintained by victim under Section 372, Cr.PC on the ground of inadequate sentence.

It is fairly well settled that the remedy of appeal is creature of the Statute. Unless same is provided either under Code of Criminal Procedure or by any other law for the time being in force no appeal, seeking enhancement of sentence at the instance of the victim, is maintainable.

Further we are of the view that the High Court while referring to the judgment of this Court in the case of National Commission for Women v. State of Delhi & Anr. (2010) 12 SCC 599 has rightly relied on the same and dismissed the appeal, as not maintainable.

Chapter XXIX of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with “Appeal”(s). Section 372 specifically provides that no appeal shall lie from a judgment or order of a Criminal Court except as provided by the Code or by any other law which authorizes an appeal. The proviso inserted by Section 372 (Act 5 of 2009) w.e.f. 31st December, 2009, gives a limited right to the victim to file an appeal in the High Court against any order of a Criminal Court acquitting the accused or convicting him for a lesser offence or the imposition of inadequate compensation. The proviso may not thus be applicable as it came in the year 2009 (long after the present incident) and, in any case, would confer a right only on a victim and also does not envisage an appeal against an inadequate sentence. An appeal would thus be maintainable only under Section 377 to the High Court as it is effectively challenging the quantum of sentence.

Section 377 is reproduced below:

“377. Appeal by the State Government against sentence:

(1) Save as otherwise provided in sub-section (2), the State Government may, in any case of conviction on a trial held by any Court other than a High Court, direct the Public Prosecutor to present an appeal against the  sentence on the ground of its inadequacy–

(a) to the Court of session, if the sentence is passed by the Magistrate; and

(b) to the High Court, if the sentence is passed by any other Court.

(2) If such conviction is in a case in which the offence has been investigated by the Delhi Special Police Establishment, constituted under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (25 of 1946), or by any other agency empowered to make investigation into an offence under any Central Act other than the Code, [the Central Government may also direct] the Public Prosecutor to present an appeal against the sentence on the ground of its inadequacy–

(a) to the Court of session, if the sentence is passed by the Magistrate;
and

(b) to the High Court, if the sentence is passed by any other Court.

(3) When an appeal has been filed against the sentence on the ground of the inadequacy the Court of Session, or, as the case may be, the High Court shall not enhance the sentence except after giving to the accused a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against such enhancement and while showing cause, the accused may plead for his acquittal or for the reduction of the sentence.”

This Section specifically provides that it is the State Government or the Central Government which can issue a direction to the Public Prosecutor to present an appeal before the Court of Session or the High Court on the ground of inadequacy of the sentence. This Section does not in any manner authorize an appeal to the Supreme Court.


Refer Supreme Court of India -Parvinder Kansal vs The State Of Nct Of Delhi on 28 August, 2020[Crl.A.@S.L.P.(Crl.)No.3928 of 2020]