The Supreme Court on October 14, 2019, in the case of Savita v. State of Delhi, has held that disposing of the appeal filed by the appellant-accused without the record of the Trial Court is not sustainable.
The Bench comprising of Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Krishna Murari while hearing the instant appeals has set aside a judgment passed by the Delhi High Court which disposed of a criminal appeal without the record of the Trial Court before it.
The appeals were filed against a Delhi High Court order which upheld the conviction and sentence imposed on the appellants-accused by the Trial Court under Sections 498A and 304 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Learned senior counsel, Advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the appellants brought to the court’s notice that the High Court while disposing of the appeal filed by the appellants-accused upheld the conviction and sentence imposed by the Trial Court without the record of the Trial Court, which was lost during the pendency of the appeal before it.
Thus the question before the court was whether the order of High Court disposing of the criminal appeal in the absence of original record can be held sustainable in the eyes of law.
In this regard, the court observed that “It is not in dispute that the High Court has disposed of the appeal filed by the appellant herein without the record of the trial court, which was lost during the pendency of the appeal before it. The chronology of events also indicates that there is some effort were made by the State to re-construct the record of the trial court but the reconstruction of the record could not be completed. However, learned senior counsel for the respondent-State submits that some of the records are available. Having heard learned senior counsel for the parties and perusing the material placed before us, we are of the view that disposing of the appeal filed by the appellant-accused without the record of the trial court is not sustainable.”
Accordingly, the court set aside the impugned order passed by the High Court and remanded the matter back to the High Court for hearing of the appeals afresh after reconstruction of the record of the Trial Court.
Before parting with the matter, the court directed that the appellant should be released on bail as the appellant has already suffered incarceration for a period of approximately 27 months out of a total sentence of 10 years Rigorous Imprisonment.