0

Right of appeal from a judgment of conviction affecting the liberty of a person falls under the expansive definition of Article 21: High Court of Delhi

In an appeal against conviction, the appellate court is under duty and obligation to look into the evidence adduced in the case and arrive at an independent conclusion. Right of appeal from a judgment of conviction affecting the liberty of a person keeping in view the expansive definition of Article 21 is also a fundamental right. Right of appeal, thus, can neither be interfered with nor impaired, nor can it be subjected to any condition and the same was upheld by High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri in the case of MOHAMED ANAS vs. NARCOTICS CONTROL BUREAU [CRL.A. 245/2021] on 23.02.2022.

The facts of the case are that a charge sheet was filed and a charge was framed against the appellant under Section 20(b)(ii)(B) read with Section 23(b) of the NDPS Act vide to which he pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. All recovered material along with samples, passport of accused, e-ticket, cancelled boarding pass, ticket information and visa confirmation documents were taken in possession. Seizure and sealing proceedings were completed.

The recovery from the appellant is stated to be of 200 grams of charas, which constitutes an intermediate quantity. Therefore, present appeal has been preferred under Section 374 Cr.P.C. on behalf of the appellant assailing the judgment on conviction.

The appellant’s counsel prayed that the appellant isn’t pressing the appeal on merits, however, considering the period of his incarceration and the fact that he is the sole bread-winner of his family, which includes a minor child, his sentence may be modified to the period already undergone.

The respondent’s counsel submitted that the appellant is a foreign national, who was apprehended while he was in process of taking the seized contraband substance out of India, and thus no leniency may be shown in respect of his sentence.

Considering the aforesaid, the fact that the appellant has undergone more than 03 years out of a total sentence of 04 years and that the recovery from him was of 200 grams of charas, which constitutes an intermediate quantity, the Court modified the sentence of the appellant to the period already undergone by him.

The Court observed, “In an appeal against conviction, the appellate court is under duty and obligation to look into the evidence adduced in the case and arrive at an independent conclusion. Right of appeal from a judgment of conviction affecting the liberty of a person keeping in view the expansive definition of Article 21 is also a fundamental right. Right of appeal, thus, can neither be interfered with nor impaired, nor can it be subjected to any condition.”

Click here to read the Judgment

Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat