In a new turn of events the Supreme Court had refuted high court orders. The top court said that a citizen’s liberty cannot be taken away.
The top court observed that the high court was “manifestly in error” in rejecting the revision in default and it ought to have appointed another lawyer as amicus curiae to assist it in the matter which pertained to conviction under the Arms Act.
“The high court, in our view, was manifestly in error in rejecting the revision in default, on the ground that the appellant’s advocate had remained absent on the previous four occasions,” a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said.
“Since the revision before the high court arose out of an order of the conviction under the Arms Act, the high court ought to have appointed an amicus curiae in the absence of counsel, who has been engaged by the legal services authority, Rohtak. The liberty of a citizen cannot be taken away in this manner,” the bench, also comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, said in its November 16 order.
The Supreme court allowed the appeal filed by the man. It also set aside the February 11 and July 16 orders of the high court.
Why did the High Court dismiss his plea?
The high court on February 11 had dismissed a plea. The plea was of a man who wanted to challenge his conviction.
The high court rejected it saying saying that,”Perusal of file shows that this revision has been taken on board six times, including today. On four occasions, none came forward to represent the petitioner in the span of approximately one year and four months. Therefore, it can safely be inferred that petitioner or his counsel is no more interested in pursuing this revision. Dismissed for want of prosecution.”
On July 16 again, the man sought for restoration of plea. Even then the high court dismissed it saying that there were no grounds of restoration.
The man then sought help from the top court with the aid of his counsel MK Ghosh.
He was convicted for an arms offence under the Arms Act by a magisterial court in January 2015. The man was the sentenced to three-year imprisonment.
After being rejected by the session court and the high court, the petitioner moved to the Supreme Court.
The top court, while setting aside the high court orders, restored his revision.
“Since during the pendency of the special leave petition, the appellant was admitted to bail by this court and the appellant was on bail during the pendency of the revision before the high court, the order enlarging the appellant on bail shall continue to remain in operation pending the disposal of the revision by the high court. The appellant shall cooperate in the disposal of the revision,” the bench said.