Whether High Court can render an order under Section 482 Cr.P.C. that will override the bar instituted under Section 362

Whether High Court can render an order under Section 482 Cr.P.C. that will override the bar instituted under Section 362

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Whether High Court can render an order under Section 482 Cr.P.C. that will override the bar instituted under Section 362 CrPC?

Dr Sanjeev Kumar Rasania v. CBI and Ors.

 

Citation: 2022 Live Law (Del) 87 (03rd JANUARY, 2022)

The main issue that arose in the instant case was Whether High Court can render an order under Section 482 Cr.P.C. that will override the bar instituted under Section 362 CrPC?

The Delhi High Court has refused to entertain a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 for setting aside its own Judgment holding that the bar under Section 362 applies to Section 482 of the Code.

Section 362 stipulates that no Court, when it has signed its Judgment or final order disposing of a case, shall alter or review the same except to correct a clerical or arithmetical error.

Hon’ble High Court explained that the Court's inherent powers under Section 482 does not confer any new powers, at the cost of an existing provision under the Code.  The Court held that the provision does not grant unlimited jurisdiction. 

"While it is true that Section 482 Cr.P.C. does confer wide powers to the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under the Cr.P.C. or to prevent the abuse of process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice, but the expressions "abuse of the process of law" or "to secure the ends of justice" do not confer unlimited jurisdiction on the High Court."

The Court clarified that the extraordinary power under Section 482 can only be applied where there is no express provision empowering the High Court to achieve the ends of justice.

Reiterating the significance of Section 362, Justice Prasad observed:

"The purpose of Section 362 Cr.P.C. is that once a court delivers a judgment or a final order disposing of a case, that judgment becomes functus officio, and it cannot be reconsidered or modified"

It relied on several Supreme Court precedents.

For instance, in the Supreme Court case of Simrikhia v. Dolley Mukherjee (1990)it was held that:

"The inherent power under Section 482 is intended to prevent the abuse of the process of the Court and to secure ends of justice. Such power cannot be exercised to do something which is expressly barred under the Code. If any consideration of the facts by way of review is not permissible under the Code and is expressly barred, it is not for the Court to exercise its inherent power to reconsider the matter and record a conflicting decision. If there had been change in the circumstances of the case, it would be in order for the High Court to exercise its inherent powers in the prevailing circumstances and pass appropriate orders to secure the ends of justice or to prevent the abuse of the process of the Court. 

Where there is no such changed circumstances and the decision has to be arrived at on the facts that existed as on the date of the earlier order, the exercise of the power to reconsider the same materials to arrive at different conclusion is in effect a review, which is expressly barred under Section 362."

Thus, the Court could only exercise its Section 482 power in changed circumstances.

In all other circumstances, the decision rendered under Section 362 is functus officio i.e. the Court cannot override the bar of review. Justice Prasad conclusively held that:

"The inherent power of the Court cannot be exercised for doing something that is specifically prohibited by the Cr.P.C. as doing so would be a violation of the law laid down by the Parliament and the precedents of the Supreme Court"

Citing Arun Shukla v. State of UP (1999), the Court observed the limited/exceptional scope of Section 482 as "It cannot be invoked in respect of any matter covered by specific provisions of Cr.P.C. or if its exercise would infringe any specific provision of the Cr.P.C." 

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