Case Involving Liberty of a Citizen Can’t be Dismissed for Absence of Lawyer: SC

While setting aside an order passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana wherein a plea of a man was dismissed due to the absence of his counsel, the Apex Court observed that the liberty of a citizen of the country could not be taken away in this manner.

A three-judge bench of the Apex Court comprising Hon’ble Justice DY Chandrachud, Hon’ble Justice Indu Malhotra and Hon’ble Justice Indira Banerjee observed that the High Court was manifestly in error in rejecting revision order of conviction under Arms Act in default, on the ground that the counsel of the appellant was not present on the previous four occasions.

As per the matrix of events, the appellant was convicted for offences u/s 25 of the Arms Act by Judicial Magistrate First Class, Rohtak and was sentenced to simple imprisonment for three years.

During the Appeal, the appellant was released on bail. The Appeal was dismissed on 10.07.2017, and the conviction was upheld.

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A revision was filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, during the pendency of the revision, the appellant was enlarged on bail.

Then on 11.02.2020, the revision was dismissed by the High Court in the absence of the appellant and his advocate.

While dismissing the revision, the High Court observed that the revision was taken onboard six-time and on four occasions no one came forward to represent the petitioner, the Court held that it could be inferred that the petitioner or his counsel were not interested in pursuing the revision and so the revision was dismissed for want of prosecution.

The application for restoration was dismissed on 16.07.2020 on the ground that no ground for restoration was established.

However, the Supreme Court allowed the Appeal and the orders passed on 11th February and 16th July were set aside, and the case was restored on the file of the High Court.

The Apex Court further observed that since during the pendency of the SLP the appellant was admitted to bail by this Court and the appellant was already out on bail during the pendency of revision before the High Court, the order of bail shall remain in operation during the pendency of revision before the High Court.

Case Details:

Title: Parveen vs the State of Haryana

Case No.: Special Leave to Appeal: 4292-4294 of 2020

Date of Order:16.11.2020

Coram: Hon’ble Justice DY Chandrachud, Hon’ble Justice Indu Malhotra and Hon’ble Justice Indira Banerjee

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