Explain Revisional Power of High Court u/s 401 of Cr.P.C

Sec- 401- High Court’s Powers of  Criminal Revision


(1) In the case of any proceeding the record of which has been called for by itself or which otherwise comes to its knowledge, the High Court may, in its discretion, exercise any of the powers conferred on a Court of Appeal by sections 386, 389, 390 and 391 or on a Court of Session by section 307 and, when the Judges composing the Court of revision are equally divided in opinion, the case shall be disposed of in the manner provided by section 392.

(2) No order under this section shall be made to the prejudice of the accused or other person unless he has had an opportunity of being heard either personally or by pleader in his own defence.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to authorise a High Court to convert a finding of acquittal into one of conviction.

(4) Where under this Code an appeal lies and no appeal is brought, no proceeding by way of revision shall be entertained at the instance of the party who could have appealed.

(5) Where under this Code an appeal lies but an application for revision has been made to the High Court by any person and the High Court is satisfied that such application was made under the erroneous belief that no appeal lies thereto and that it is necessary in the interests of justice so to do, the High Court may treat the application for revision as a petition of appeal and deal with the same accordingly.

In Vimal Singh v. Khuman Singh and Another 1999 CriLJ 16 , this Court after considering various decisions, observed as under:

“Coming to the ambit of power of the High Court under Section 401 of the Code, the High Court in its revisional power does not ordinarily interfere with judgments of acquittal passed by the trial court unless there has been manifest error of law or procedure. The interference with the order of acquittal passed by the trial court is limited only to exceptional cases when it Is found that the order under revision suffers from glaring illegality or has caused miscarriage of justice or when it is found that the trial court has no jurisdiction to try the case or where the trial court has illegally shut out the evidence which otherwise ought to have been considered or where the material evidence which clinches the issue has been overlooked. These are the instances where the High Court would be justified in interfering with the order of acquittal. Sub-section (3) of Section 401 mandates that the High Court shall not convert a finding of acquittal into one of conviction. Thus, the High Court would not be justified in substituting an order of acquittal into one of conviction even if it is convinced that the accused deserves conviction. No doubt, the High Court in exercise of its revisional power can set aside an order of acquittal if it comes within the ambit of exceptional cases enumerated above, but it cannot convert an order of acquittal into an order of conviction. The only course left to the High Court in such exceptional cases is to order retrial.”

Same is the view taken by the Apex Court in Logendra Nath Jha and Others v. Polaital Biswas (1951) 2 SCR 676 , K. Chinnaswamy Reddy v. State of A.P. (1963) 3 SCR 412 , Mahendra Pratap Singh v. Sarju Singh 1968 CriLJ 665 , Pakalapathi Narayana Gajapathi Raju and Others v. Bonapalli Peda Appadu and Others AIR 1975 SC 1854 and Ayodhya Dube and Others v. Ram Sumer Singh 1981 CriLJ 1016 .


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