Inherent jurisdiction of the High Court U/S 482 CrPC cannot be relied upon to override the control bar U/S 362: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court declined to consider a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 to set aside its own judgment, citing the proposed ban on review under Section 362 CrPC. Section 362 provides that no court, when it has signed its judgment or final order deciding a case shall alter or revise it, except to correct a note of writing or…

The Delhi High Court declined to consider a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 to set aside its own judgment, citing the proposed ban on review under Section 362 CrPC.

Section 362 states that no court, when it has signed its final judgment or order deciding a case, may alter or revise it, except to correct a clerical or calculation error.

Explaining that the Court’s inherent powers under section 482 do not confer any new power, to the detriment of an existing provision of the Code, the Court held that the provision did not grant unlimited jurisdiction. Judge Subramonium Prasad tenuous:

“While Section 482 Cr.PC confers broad powers on the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under the Cr.PC or to prevent the abuse of process by a court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice, but the expressions ‘abuse of process’ or ‘to secure the ends of justice’ do not confer unlimited jurisdiction on the High Court.”

The Court clarified that the extraordinary power provided for in Section 482 can only be applied in the absence of an express provision empowering the High Court to achieve the ends of justice. Reiterating the importance of section 362, Judge Prasad observed:

“The purpose of Section 362 Cr.PC is that once a court has rendered a final judgment or order deciding a case, that judgment becomes functus officio and cannot be reviewed or varied”

The main question that arose in this case was whether this Court can make an order under Section 482 Cr.PC which will override the prohibition instituted under article 362 CrPC. Holding that the prohibition provided for in section 362 applies to section 482 of the Code, the Court dismissed the motion.

He relied on several Supreme Court precedents to defend the spirit of section 362, notwithstanding section 482. For example, in the Supreme Court case of Simrikhia vs. Dolley Mukherjee (1990), it was decided that:

“The inherent power under Section 482 is intended to prevent abuse of the process of the Court and to secure the ends of justice. Such power cannot be exercised to do anything which is expressly prohibited by the Code If an examination of the facts by way of review is not authorized under the Code and is expressly prohibited, it is not for the Court to exercise its inherent power to reconsider the case and enter a contradictory decision. Had there been a 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 make such orders as are appropriate to secure the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of the Search procedure. When there are no changed circumstances and the decision must be made on the basis of the facts that existed at the date of the previous order, the exercise of the power to re-examine the same elements to arrive at a conclusion different constitutes in effect a reconsideration, which is expressly prohibited under section 362.”

Thus, the Court could only exercise its power under section 482 if circumstances changed. In all other circumstances, the decision made under section 362 is official function that is, the Court cannot override the control bar. Judge Prasad concluded conclusively that:

“The inherent power of the Court cannot be exercised to do anything which is specifically prohibited by the Cr.PC as it would be a violation of the law established by Parliament and of the precedents of the Supreme Court”

Citing Arun Shukla v. State of UP (1999), the Court observed the limited/exceptional scope of Article 482 as “It cannot be invoked in respect of any matter covered by specific provisions of the Cr.PC or if its exercise would violate a specific provision of the Cr.PC”

Case details

Case Title: Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Rasania v. CBI and Ors.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 87

Case No: CRL.MC 878/2021 & CRL.MA 4402/2021

Date: 03 JANUARY 2022

Coram: JUSTICE SUBRAMONIUM PRASAD

Click here to read/download the order

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