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INHERENT POWERS AND FINAL ORDER

INHERENT POWERS – FINAL ORDER CAN NOT BE REOPENED OR ALTERED

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1389 OF 2008

(Arising out of SLP (Crl) No. 5238 of 2004)

State Rep. By D.S.P., S.B.C.I.D., Chenai ...Appellants

VERSUS

K.V. Rajendran & Ors ...Respondents

( Also reported in 2009 Cr.L.J. 355 )


JUDGMENT

TARUN CHATTERJEE, J.

Excerpts from the Judgment

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18. Section 482 enables the High Court to make such order as may be necessary to give effect to any order underthe Code or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. The inherent powers, however, as much are controlled by principle and precedent as are its express powers by statutes. If a matter is covered by an express letter of law, the court cannot give a go-by to the statutory provisions and instead evolve a new provision in the garb of inherent urisdiction.

19. In the case of Smt Sooraj Devi vs. Pyare Lal & Anr, AIR 1981 SC 736, this Court held "that the inherent power of the Court cannot be exercised for doing that which is specifically prohibited by the Code."

20. Similar view was expressed in the case of Sankatha Singh vs. State of U.P. [1962] Supp 2 SCR 817, in which it was held:

"It is true that the prohibition in Section 362

against the Court altering or reviewing its

judgment is subject to what is "otherwise

provided by this Code or by any other law for

the time being in force". Those words,

however, refer to those provisions only where

the Court has been expressly authorised by the

Code or other law to alter or review its

judgment. The inherent power of the Court is

not contemplated by the saving provision

contained in Section 362 and, therefore, the

attempt to invoke that power can be of no

avail."

21. As noted herein earlier, Section 362 of the Code prohibits reopening of a final order except in the cases of clerical or arithmetical errors. Such being the position and in view of the expressed prohibition in the Code itself in the form of Section 362, exercise of power under Section 482 of the Code cannot be exercised to reopen or alter an order disposing of a petition decided on merits.

22. In the present case, we find that the High Court, in the original final order, disposing of the petition under Section 482 of the Code has specifically given reasons for rejecting the prayer for handing over the investigation to the CBI authorities.

23. That apart, after the final order was passed rejecting the prayer of the respondent to hand over the investigation to the CBI authorities, by which, the criminal petition filed under Section 482 was practically rejected, it was not open to the High Court to pass a fresh order in the disposed of petition or even in the pending petition of the DSP (SB CID) Nagapattinam, directing investigation to be made by the CBI authorities.

24. As noted herein earlier, Section 362 of the Code prohibits a Court from making alternation in a judgment after the final order or Judgment was signed by the Court disposing of the case finally except to correct clerical or arithmetical errors. In our view, therefore, Section 362 of the Code cannot apply in the facts and circumstances of the present case. There was no clerical or arithmetical error in the order.

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