09 October 2020

Court of Sessions can permit u/s. 301, 24(8) of CrPC to the advocate of victim to make oral argument too apart from submission of the written argument

Advocate is treated to be officer of the court and supposed to assist the court in arriving the truth, so, right to address the court to an Advocate cannot be curtailed while representing his client


    In proviso added to Section 24(8) Cr.P.C., the word used are "assist the prosecution" and not to assist the public Prosecutor as mentioned in Section 301 Cr.P.C. There is difference in the scheme of two sections. From perusal of Sub-section 2 of section 301 Cr.P.C., made it clear that if in any case private person instruct a pleader to prosecute any person in any court even though the Public Prosecutor in charge of case shall conduct the prosecution and the pleader instructed shall act therein under the directions of the Public Prosecutor. Up to this stage no permission of court is needed for appointment of pleader by a private person. The permission is only required to the pleader if he want to file written argument in the case. However after insertion of proviso to Section 24(8) Cr.P.C., the court can permits a victims advocate to assist the prosecution. The status and position of Advocate engaged by the victim would be changed because in that situation the court at the very inception may permit the Advocate of the choice of the victim to participate in the proceeding and to assist the prosecution and not to the public prosecutor. Prosecution include investigation, enquiry, trial and appeal within the meaning of Section 24 Cr.P.C. Section 301 Cr.P.C., deals with only inquiry, trial or appeal. Inquiry has been defined in Section 2(g) Cr.P.C., means every inquiry, other than a trial, conducted under this Code by a Magistrate or Court. As such inquiry is different from investigation as defined in section 2(h) Cr.P.C.[Para No.39]

    Neither word prosecution nor trial has been defined in the Cr.P.C. Trial has been defined by the Apex Court in Union of India v. Major General Madan Lal Yadav [(1996) 4 SCC 127]. It means an act of proving or judicial examination or determination of the issues including its own jurisdiction or authority in accordance with law or adjudging guilt or innocence of the accused including all steps necessary thereto. Meaning of trial changes in view of specific provision of the code. The expression trial used in Section 306 Cr.P.C., includes both an inquiry as well as trial as held by the Apex Court in A. Devendran v. State of Tamilnadu (1997) 11 SCC 720.[Para No.40]

    The prosecution has not been defined specifically in the light of proviso to Section 24(8) Cr.P.C. The meaning of word prosecution as defined in Webster Dictionary, 3rd Edition is as follow;
"the carrying out of a plan, project, or course of action to or toward a specific end."[Para No.41]
..........

Court of Sessions can permit u/s. 301, 24(8) of CrPC to the advocate of victim to make oral argument too apart from submission of the written argument
    The whole scheme if taken into consideration for prosecution and trial of an accused the dominant role is played by the public prosecutor but by insertion of proviso to Section 24(8) Cr.P.C., the Court is now authorised to permit the victim to engage a lawyer of his choice to assist the prosecution. The prosecution of an offender is virtually carried out in the court of law constituted under some statute presided over by a judge and not by any party to the proceedings. The public prosecutors, the advocate of the accused or special counsel appointed by the aggrieved person or the Advocate engaged by a victim, all are officers of the court. They all assist the court to arrive at truth during prosecution of an accused. Therefore in section 24 or in section 301 phrase with the permission of court is used. So, once the permission is accorded to the Advocate of the victim to assist the prosecution his assistance could not be restricted to the terminology of Section 301, i.e., only to assist the prosecutor. The court in view of the same can permit to advance the oral argument too to the Advocate engaged by the victim apart from submission of the written argument. The importance of oral argument cannot be out weight by saying that right to written argument has been given in Section 301 Cr.P.C.[Para No.43]

    In Section 301 Cr.P.C., there seems no previous permission to engage a private pleader by any private person even if he has no personal interest. The permission is required only if he intents to file the written argument. However in proviso to Section 24(8) Cr.P.C., permission is accorded to the Advocate of the choice of the victim to assist the prosecution and not to the public prosecutor.[Para No.44]

    Thus, Section 301 Cr.P.C., does not say that oral argument cannot be permitted to an advocate engage by the victim. It only prohibits that if a private party engaged a pleader he can assist the public prosecutor and court may permit him to file the written argument. There is difference between the pleader and Advocate. Advocate is treated to be officer of the court and supposed to assist the court in arriving the truth, so, right to address the court to an Advocate cannot be curtailed while representing his client in the light of provisions of Advocates Act. In Poonam v. Sumit Tiwari AIR 2010 SC 1385 their Lordship has discussed the importance of assistance of a lawyer in the light of section 35 of Advocates Act and observed that in absence of proper assistance to Court by the lawyer, there is no obligation on the part of the Court to decide the case, for the simple reason that unless the lawyer renders the proper assistance to the Court, the Court is not able to decide the case properly. It is not for the Court itself to decide the controversy. The counsel cannot just raise the issues in his petition and leave it to the Court to give its decision on those points after going through the record and determining the correctness thereof. It is not for the Court itself to find out what the points for determination can be and then proceed to give a decision on those points. In case counsel for the party is not able to render any assistance, the Court may decline to entertain the petition. Moreover if the petition is decided in such cases the judgment given may be violative of principles of natural justice as the opposite counsel would not "have a fair opportunity to answer the line of reasoning adopted" in this behalf. (See Zahira Habibulla H. Sheikh v. State of Gujarat, [(2004) 4 SCC 158], M/s. J.K. International v. State, 2001 Cr.L.J. 1264 and Bhagwant Singh v. Commissioner of police, [(1985) 2 SCC 537])[Para No.45]


Allahabad High Court

Suneel Kumar Singh
Vs.
State Of U.P.

2019 SCC OnLine All 957


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