HC can review its order in criminal case in rare cases only: SC

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New Delhi, Mar 21 (UNI) The Supreme Court has said a High Court can review its own order in a criminal case only under rare circumstances such as when the relief has been obtained by playing fraud on the court.

A bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and V S Sirpurkar also ruled, " By reason of the authority granted by a litigant in favour of his advocate which, inter alia, empowers the latter to enter into a settlement, any settlement arrived at on behalf of a party to a lis would be binding on the parties there too." The apex court while dismissing the appeal of R Rajeshwari, who had challenged the Karnataka High Court's order on the grounds that her counsel played fraud on her and had entered into a settlement without her consent, permitted the appellant to approach the concerned bar council for an appropriate action against the lawyer concerned.

Rajeshwari had filed a complaint against one H N Jagdish under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act for bouncing of a cheque of Rs one lakh, issued by Jagdish. The trial court sentenced him to one month simple imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs two lakh and in default to suffer simple imprisonment of one month.

Rs 1,75,000 was to be paid to Rajeshwari.

Additional Civil and Sessions Judge , Bangalore dismissed the appeal filed by Jagdish. In Karnataka High Court the two counsels for Rajeshwari and Jagdish agreed to settle the dispute for Rs 105000.

She, however, filed an application that her counsel had acted against her instructions and she had told him to argue the matter on merit and the proposal for settlement was rejected by her.

The apex court in its judgement ruled," In such situation a settlement could be arrived at by and between the complainant and accused. While a settlement is arrived at, it is not necessary under the provisions of the act and/or code of criminal procedure (CrPC) to file any affidavit affirmed by the complainant or the accused.

In view of the aforementioned specific bar created in regard to exercise of the jurisdiction of the High Court to review its own order (Section 362 of CrPC), we are of the opinion that ordinarily exercise of the jurisdiction under Section 482 of CrPC would be unwarranted.

We assume that in some rare cases, the High Court may do so where a judgment has been obtained from it by practising fraud." The court also ruled, " We are merely suggesting that such settlement was permissible in law. It also does not violate any public policy.

We are of opinion that no case has been made out for interference with the impugned judgement. The appeal is dismissed accordingly.

However the appellant shall be at liberty to approach the concerned bar council for appropriate action against the lawyer concerned." UNI SC KK RP AS1818

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