Criminal Revision in Indian Law

Criminal Revision in Indian Law

What is Criminal Revision?

Criminal revision is the process of examination of an order of a lower court by a superior court so as to rectify any improper exercise of judicial power. The provisions for revision are given in sections 397-405 and 482 CrPC and Article 227 of the Constitution of India.


Section 397 CrPC

(1) The High Court or any Sessions Judge may call for and examine the record of any proceeding before any inferior Criminal Court situate within its or his local jurisdiction for the purpose of satisfying itself or himself

  • To correctness, legality or propriety of any finding sentence or order, recorded or passed 
  • and as to the regularity of any proceedings of such inferior court 

may when calling for such record, direct that the execution of any sentence or order be suspended and if the accused is in confinement that he be released on bail or on his own bond pending the examination of the record. 

(2)  The powers of revision conferred by Sub-Section (1) shall not be exercised in relation to any interlocutory order passed in any appeal, inquiry, trial, or other proceedings.

(3)   If an application under this section has been made by any person either to the High Court or to the Sessions Judge, no further application by the same person shall be entertained by the other of them.

Note: Criminal revision is to be filed by the aggrieved party within 90 days from the decree or order passed. However, the court can admit a revisional application if sufficient cause is shown for condonation of delay.


Section 482 CrPC

Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. 


Article 227 of the Constitution of India 

(1) Every High Court shall have superintendence over all courts and tribunals throughout the territories interrelation to which it exercises jurisdiction

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions, the High Court may

               (a) call for returns from such courts;

               (b) make and issue general rules and prescribe forms for regulating the practice and proceedings of such courts; and

               (c) prescribe forms in which books, entries and accounts shall be kept by the officers of any such courts

(3) The High Court may also settle tables of fees to be allowed to the sheriff and all clerks and officers of such courts and to attorneys, advocates, and pleaders practising therein: Provided that any rules made, forms prescribed or tables settled under clause ( 2 ) or clause ( 3 ) shall not be inconsistent with the provision of any law for the time being in force, and shall require the previous approval of the Governor

(4) Nothing in this article shall be deemed to confer on a High Court powers of superintendence over any court or tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to the Armed Forces


Difference between appeal and revision
  • An appeal is a statutory and substantial right while revision is not a statutory right. 
  • In appeal, a superior court has the jurisdiction to set aside the previous judgement given by the lower court, which it does not have while determining a revisional application. It can only order a retrial of the case instead of a new verdict. 
Case Laws:
  • Amit Kapoor vs Ramesh Chander & Anr. Supreme Court held that revisional jurisdiction can be invoked only when the impugned decisions are grossly erroneous and there has been no compliance to the provisions of the law in those judgments and the findings recorded are based on no evidence, the material evidence is ignored or judicial discretion is exercised arbitrarily or perversely.
  • Madhu Limaye vs. State of Maharashtra: 1978 AIR 47, 1978 SCR (1) 749, it was held that the bar under Section 397(2) to entertain the revision application regarding the interlocutory orders cannot be said to be a bar under 482 of Cr.P.C., as Section 482 is independent of Section 397- 401 of Cr.P.C. which gives wide ambit of powers to the High Court which cannot be listed exhaustively. 
  • Raj Kapoor v. State: 1980 AIR 258, 1980 SCR (1)1081, it was reiterated that Section 397 of Cr.P.C. could not be held as a bar on Section 482 of Cr.P.C. and therefore, the inherent powers of High Courts cannot be affected by other provisions of Cr.P.C. 
  • Prabhu Chawla v. state of Rajasthan: Criminal Appeal No. 842 of 2016, the three-judge bench held and clarified the law deciding that the available remedy under 397 Cr.P.C. would not be held as a bar to make a petition under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. Therefore, it was held, that there cannot be a bar on the exercise of such wholesome jurisdiction. Hence, it has now been decided that the remedy under Section 397 of Cr.P.C. does not bar the same remedy sought under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. 
  • Krishnan and Anr. v. Krishnaveni and Anr. it was held that though the revision before the High Court under sub-Section (1) of Section 397 is prohibited by sub-Section (3) thereof, the inherent power of the High Court is still available under Section 482 of the Code and as it is paramount power of continuous superintendence of the High Court under Section 483, the High is justified in interfering with the order leading to miscarriage of justice and in setting aside the order of the courts below. 
  • Surendra Singh And Ors vs The State of Bihar And Ors Patna High Court Sep 19, 1990 it was held that the power under Article 227 of the Constitution of India may be invoked to amend judicial orders passed by the criminal courts in very exceptional circumstances even where a revision application has already been dismissed by the Sessions Judge and bar under section 397(3) CrPC is applicable.

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