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SC expounds: No Court can alter its Judgement, once pronounced, in the name of Typographical Error
Jitendra @ Kalla vs State of Govt of NCT of Delhi
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 2133 OF 2017
About/from the judgment:
Apex Court took exception on High Court Bench for altering its order in a Murder Appeal.
Matter pertained to Two Appeals preferred by a Murder Convict against order of the High Court before the Bench of Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan.
Appellant Jitendra @ Kalla was found guilty by Trial Court for Murder on the narratives of Eyewitnesses. He was sentenced in Murder Case along with an Attempt to Murder Case.
He was sentenced with to rigorous imprisonment for life with a direction that he shall not be considered for grant of remission till he undergoes the actual sentence of 30 years plus fine in the sum of Rs. 3 lac.
However during the arguments in Appeal against Conviction before the High Court, the counsel for the Convict made a statement at the Bar to the effect that the appellant did not intend to press the challenge to the findings of conviction recorded by the Trial Court and confined his submissions only to the sentencing part. Still, the High Court discussed the evidence which was produced by the prosecution in both the cases and remarked that the appellant was rightly convicted.
The High Court concluded that the punishments awarded to the appellant were excessive in nature and modified the same by removing the cap of 30 years and sentencing the appellant to the period already undergone, i.e., 16 years and 10 months.
The direction was given to release the appellant forthwith if not required in any other case. The aforesaid judgment was delivered on December 24, 2016. Thereafter, the High Court listed the matter of its own for directions on February 14, 2017 as according to it, an
error was noticed in the said judgment. On this day, following order was passed:
“This matter has been listed today for directions. A
typographical error was noticed post delivery this judgment
dated 24.12.2016 in the concluding portion. The error is
rectified and the extraneous sentence, which crept in, is
“…..to the period already undergone by the appellant i.e.
16 years and 10 month.”
“…..The appellant be released forthwith, if not required in
any other case……”
Mr. Sharma, learned counsel for the appellant, submits that he
has no contact with the appellant.
Let a copy of this order be sent to Superintendent Central Jail
for appropriate action and DASTI be also given to the counsel
for the parties, under the signatures of the Court Master.”
On this action of the High Court, Hon’ble Supreme Court took an exception that this is a patently erroneous action and the Bench observed,”We are of the view that order dated February 14, 2017 deleting two lines from the main judgment dated December 24, 2016 does not stand judicial scrutiny, inasmuch as, by no stretch of imagination it can be treated as typographical error………….For the offence of murder, minimum sentence is ‘life imprisonment’. For that reason, obviously, the High Court could not have modified the sentence to the one already undergone. Therefore, modification in the aforesaid manner as done by the High Court was clearly erroneous. In fact, it appears that the High Court realised this mistake and, therefore, made amends by correcting this mistake vide orders dated February 14, 2017. However, that step taken by the High Court was beyond its jurisdiction. It could have been done only in appeal…… Order dated February 14, 2017, therefore, cannot hold the ground and is hereby set aside.”
Consequently the life sentence with 30 years’ cap without remission was awarded by the trial court was upheld.
Read the Judgment
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