Introduction

An appeal is a complaint or grievance to a superior court for reconsideration or review of a decision, verdict or sentence of a lower court. It has been said that every human being is fallible and a judge is not an exception. It is thus possible that even a judge may err or commit a mistake and his decision may be wrong or faulty.

Article 25 of the Constitution of India guarantees life and liberty to every citizen, small or big, rich or poor, as one of the Fundamental Rights. It is, therefore, necessary that a person aggrieved by an order of the court of the first instance may be able to challenge it by preferring an appeal.

An appeal is a method of correction of a manly error or solution of human frailty. An individual who’s been convicted of a crime may “appeal” their case, or ask a higher court to review certain aspects of the case for legal error.

This isn’t the same as asking for a new trial because the defendant didn’t like the outcome; rather, an appeal will determine whether the conviction itself or the sentence imposed was reached in error. Therefore, the appellant (the party who’s appealing the verdict) must show a higher court that there were errors in how the trial was conducted. This means no new evidence may be considered.

After a court has convicted and sentenced a criminal defendant, the defendant may file an appeal to a higher court, asking it to review the lower court’s decision for legal errors that may have affected the outcome of the case. If the appellate court grants the appeal, it may reverse the lower court’s decision in whole or in part. If the appellate court denies the appeal, the lower court’s decision stands.

Appeal In Indian Law

The word “appeal” has not been defined in The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; however, it can be described as the judicial examination of a decision, given by a lower court, by a higher court. It needs to be pointed out that except for the statutory provisions laid down by The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, or any other law which is in force, an appeal cannot lie from any judgment or an order of a criminal court. Thus, there is no vested right to appeal as such as even the first appeal will be subjected to statutory limitations. The justification behind this principle is that the courts which try a case are competent enough with the presumption that the trial has been conducted fairly. However, as per the proviso, the victim has a right to appeal against any order passed by the Court under special circumstances comprising of a judgment of acquittal, conviction for lesser offence or inadequate compensation. Generally, same sets of rules and procedures are employed to govern the appeals in the Sessions Courts and High Courts (highest court of appeal in a state and enjoys more powers in matters where appeal is permissible). The highest court of appeal in the country is the Supreme Court and hence, it enjoys the most extensive discretionary and plenary powers in the cases of appeals. Its powers are largely governed by the provisions laid down in, Indian Constitution, and the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction), 1970. The accused has been given the right to appeal to the Supreme Court against the judgment of the High Court if the High Court has reversed an order of his acquittal on appeal by convicting him, thereby, sentencing him to imprisonment for life or for ten years or more, or to death. Understanding the relevance of a criminal appeal being made to the Supreme Court, the same law has also been laid down in Article 134(1) of the Indian Constitution under the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court Act, 1970, has also been passed by the legislature in consonance with Article 134(2) of the Indian Constitution to confer additional powers on the Supreme Court.

Case Law For Appeal

 The law provides a person who has been convicted of a crime to appeal to the Supreme Court or the High Court or the Sessions Court as per the circumstances. In the case  the Honorable Supreme Court held that if the High Court found that the view taken by the Sessions Judge to acquit the appellants was manifestly wrong, moreover, it even led to a miscarriage of justice; therefore, the High Court was correct in setting aside this acquittal and convicting them. In the case of Satya Pal Singh vs State of Madhya Pradesh, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the father of the deceased has a locus standi to present an appeal to the High Court under the proviso of Section 372 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, as he falls within the definition of “victim”, to question the correctness of judgment and order of an acquittal of accused. The Hon’ble Supreme Court held in the similar case of Satya Pal Singh vs State of Madhya Pradesh that the victim cannot file an appeal against an order of acquittal without obtaining the leave of the High Court.

NO APPEAL GROUNDS: Section 375 and 376 bar appeals in some instances, though a provision of Revision is maintainable. Thus no appeal shall lie.

• Where a High Court passes a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding one thousand rupees or both.

• Where a Court of Session or a Metropolitan Magistrate passes a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding two hundred rupees or both.

• Where a Magistrate of the First Class passes a sentence of fine not exceeding one hundred rupees; or

• Where in a summary case, a Magistrate passes a sentence of fine not exceeding two hundred rupees.