Libertatem Magazine

Supreme Court Sets Aside High Court Order and states “Liberty of a Citizen cannot be taken away in the Absence of Lawyer”

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In the case of Parveen v. State of Haryana, the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that “a citizen’s liberty cannot be taken away”. This observation was taken while setting aside the order of the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court, dismissing the plea of a man when his counsel was absent for the hearing.

Facts of the Case

The Appellant had to suffer three years of simple imprisonment via a judgement dated 12 January 2015 as he was convicted under section 25 of the Arms Act by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Rohtak. 

However, the judgment dated 12 January 2015 was challenged before the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Rohtak. The Appellant was granted bail during the pendency of the appeal, but this appeal was dismissed and the conviction was upheld by the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Rohtak on 10 July 2017.

Further, a revision was filed against the order of the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Rohtak by the Appellant through Legal Services Authority, Rohtak. Since the revision was pending, the Appellant was granted bail on 16 April 2018 by the High Court, however, on 11 February 2020, the revision was dismissed by the Hon’ble court.

Aggrieved by the order of the High Court, the Appellant filed a Criminal Appeal through Special Leave Petition under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.

Petitioner’s Submission

It was submitted that the High Court had dismissed the Appellants appeal on 11 February 2020 because of the absence of his advocate. The learned High Court observed that the matter was taken up six times, but the majority of the times no one appeared before the court. The Court stated ‘it seems that neither the petitioner nor the counsel is interested in pursuing this revision’. However, the court directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate to issue a warrant to arrest the petitioner and let him complete his remaining sentence. 

Further, the application for restoration was also dismissed by the learned court dated 16 July 2020 on the basis that no ground for the restoration has been established. 

Supreme Court’s Observation

After scrutinizing the submissions of the counsels, the Supreme Court was of the view that “Since the revision before the High Court emerged out of a request for the conviction under the Arms Act, the High Court should have designated Amicus Curiae without counsel, who has been locked in by the Legal Services Authority, Rohtak. The freedom of a citizen can’t be removed as such.”

Court’s Decision

In its order, the Hon’ble Supreme Court allowed the appeal and set aside the impugned orders of the High Court dated 11 February and 16 July. Further, while restoring the files of the High Court, the court ordered that during the pendency of the Special Leave Petition the Appellant was admitted to bail by this court and he was on bail during the pendency of the revision before the High Court, the bail will continue in operation till the revision gets disposed of by the High Court. The Appellant was also directed to cooperate in the process of the disposal of the revision. 

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