David Stephen vs State – S 372,386 CrPC – Reversal Of Acquittal In Accused’s Appeal Against Conviction

Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 372,386 – Can High Court reverse acquittal of an accused from a particular charge while considering appeal filed by accused who was convicted under other charges ? In this case, appellant was convicted under Section 302 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code – High Court rejected the appeal preferred by the appellant and at the same time, reversed the acquittal of the appellant as recorded by the trial Court for the charge under Section 449 IPC; convicted him for the said offence. Partly allowing appeal, SC held: High Court committed grave error in law while reversing the acquittal of the accused as recorded by the trial Court for the offence under Section 449 IPC and sentencing him to suffer seven years rigorous imprisonment. It may be noted that the acquittal of the accused from the said charge had not been challenged either by the State or by the complainant before the High Court and without an appeal being filed for questioning the acquittal of the appellant from the said charge, the High Court could not have exercised jurisdiction so as to reverse the said finding of acquittal and that too, without putting the accused to notice.

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