Revision Against Rejection of Application for Release of Vehicle by Trial Court

Iftikhar Hasasan Samoon
  1. Introduction

This report aims to discuss the issue regarding the rejection of an application for the release of a vehicle by the trial court and the subsequent revision sought against this order. The question arises whether this order can be subject to a revision plea as it might be deemed an ‘interlocutory order’.

  1. Understanding the Issue

Before delving into the crux of the matter, it is vital to understand the terms involved:

Interlocutory Order: An order passed during the pendency of a case that does not determine the rights and liabilities of the parties finally and conclusively. They are usually procedural in nature, giving directions for the conduct of the case.

Revision: The revisional jurisdiction of a court enables it to satisfy itself on the correctness, legality, or propriety of any finding, sentence, or order recorded or passed, and as to the regularity of any proceedings of any inferior court.

  1. Legal Provisions Involved

In this case, the key legal provision is Section 397 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, which governs the revisional powers of the High Court and the Sessions Court which section starts off as follows: “(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 as to the 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 ”

However, Section 397(2) states that, “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 proceeding.”

  1. Legal Reasoning

While Section 397(2) CrPC bars the revision of interlocutory orders, it becomes necessary to identify whether the order rejecting the release of the vehicle is indeed an interlocutory order.

It is here that the proverbial fine print of the order has to be examined, and it is very clear that if such an order, which is claimed to be an interlocutory order, has the trappings or nature of a final order, and determines the rights of the parties in any way, then it cannot be considered to be merely an interlocutory order.

  1. Relevant Judgments

1. Madhu Limaye v. The State of Maharashtra [1978 AIR 47, 1977 SCR

(3) 552] In this judgement, the Supreme Court provided a wider explanation to interlocutory orders, stating that an order which substantially affects the rights of the accused, or decides certain rights of the parties cannot be termed as an interlocutory order. Below is an extract from said judgment:

“The majority view is based upon the dis6nc6on pointed out in the above passage and concluding that it is a final order within the meaning of Ar6cle 134(1) (c). While Bachawat J., said at page 695 : “It is merely a preliminary step in the prosecu6on and therefore an interlocutory orders.” Even though there may be a scope for expressing different opinions apropos the nature of the order which was under considera6on in Mohan Lars case, in our judgment, undoubtedly, an order direc6ng the filing of a complaint aRer enquiry made under a provision of the 1973 Code, similar to sec6on 476 of the 1898 Code will not be an interlocutory order within the meaning of ‘sec6on 397(2). The order will be clearly revisable by the High Court. We must, however, hasten to add that the majority decision in Mohan Lal’s case treats such an order as an order finally concluding the enquiry started to find out whether a complaint should be lodged or not, taking the prosecu6on launched on the filing of the complaint as a separate proceeding. From that point of view the ma\er under discussion may not be said to be squarely covered by the decision of this Court in Mohan Lal’s case. Yet for the reasons already alluded to, we feel no difficulty in coming to

the conclusion, aRer due considera6on, that an order rejec6ng the plea of the accused on a point which, when accepted, will conclude the par6cular proceeding, will surely be not an interlocutory order within the meaning of sec6on 397(2).

We may also refer to the decision of this Court in Parmeshwari Devi v. State and Anr.(1) that an order made in a criminal proceeding against a person who is not a party to the enquiry or trial and which adversely affected him is not an interlocutory order within the meaning of sec6on 397 (2). Referring to a passage from the decision of this Court in Mohan Lals case- the passage which is to be found in Halsbury’s Laws of England, Volume 22, it has been said by Shinghal J., delivering the judgment of the Court, at page 164 :

“It may thus be conclusive with reference to the stage at which it is made, and it may also be conclusive as to a person who is not a party to the enquiry or trial, against whom it is directed.”

As already men6oned, the view expressed in Mohan Lal’s case may be open to debate or difference. One such example is to be found in the (1) [1977] 2 S.C.R. 160.

decision of this Court in Prakash Chand Agarwal & Ors. v. M/s Hindustan Steel Ltd.(1) wherein it was held that an order of the High Court sekng aside an ex-parte decree in the suit and restoring the suit to the file of the Trial Court is not a final order within the meaning of Ar6cle

133. It is to be no6ced that if the High Court would have refused to set aside the ex-parte decree, the proceeding for sekng it aside would have finally ended and on some of the principles culled out by the majority in Mohan Lars case, such an order would have been a final order. We are, however, not under any necessity to enter into this controversial arena. In our opinion whether the type of the order aforesaid would be a final order or not, surely it will not be an interlocutory order within the meaning of sub-sec6on (2) of sec6on 397 of the 1973 Code. Before we conclude we may point out an obvious, almost insurmountable, difficulty in the way of applying literally the test laid down in Kuppuswami Rao’s case and in holding that an order of the kind under considera6on being not a final order must necessarily be an interlocutory one. If a complaint is dismissed under sec6on 203 or under sec6on 204(4), or the Court holds the proceeding to be void or discharges the accused, a revision to the High Court at the instance of the complainant or the prosecutor would be competent, otherwise it will

make sec6on 398 of the new Code o6ose. Does it stand to reason, then, that an accused will have no remedy to move the High Court in revision or invoke its inherent power for the quashing of the criminal proceeding ini6ated upon a complaint or otherwise and which is fit to be quashed on the face of it ? The legislature leR the power to order further inquiry intact in ‘sec6on

398. Is it not, then, in consonance with the sense of jus6ce to leave intact the remedy of the accused to move the High Court for sekng aside the order adversely made against him in similar circumstances and to quash the proceeding ? The answer must be given in favour of the just and reasonable view expressed by us above. For the reasons stated above, we allow this appeal, set aside the judgment and order of the High Court and remit the case back to it to dispose of the appellant’s pe66on on merits, in the manner it may think fit and proper to do in accordance with the law and in the light of this judgment.”

  1. Conclusion and Suggestion

Thus, whether the order rejecting the release of the vehicle is an interlocutory order would depend on its nature and content and its bearing on the final outcome of the case. If it doesn’t decide or touch the important rights or liabilities of the parties, then it can be termed an interlocutory order and hence not open to revision. However, if it does impact the rights and liabilities of the parties involved, it may not be an interlocutory order and could be revised under Section 397(1) CrPC.

It is suggested that the revisional court, in this case, should examine the nature of the order and determine whether it is indeed an interlocutory order. If it isn’t, and instead affects the rights and liabilities of the party involved, the court should exercise its revisional jurisdiction as per Section 397(1) of the CrPC.


If the revisional court upholds the objection and concludes that the order is indeed interlocutory and thus not open to revision, the party has the option to approach the High Court under Section 482 CrPC. This section grants inherent powers to 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.

  1. Final Words

Therefore, although the path to revision might be complex in this case, it is not impossible. It is advised that a detailed examination of the order and its implications should be done before proceeding further in the course of action. Legal provisions and judgment mentioned in this report will be of significant guidance in this matter.

Happy Hunting ! Iftikhar Hassan Samoon,

Advocate, Hon’ble High Court Of

Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh

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