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Section 372 CrPC: Victim Cannot Prefer An Appeal On The Grounds Of Inadequate Sentence

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The Supreme Court on 28th August 2020 dismissed an appeal filed by the appellant under section 372 of the Code of Criminal Procedure seeking enhancement of sentence given by the Delhi High Court, by observing that victim’s right of appeal is restricted to eventualities prescribed under a statute, and under the Code they include: acquittal of the accused; conviction of the accused for lesser offence; or for imposing inadequate compensation.

While explicating their stance in this case, of Parvinder Kansal v. State of NCT of Delhi Crim. Appeal No. 555 of 2020, Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy stated that,

“… While the victim is given the opportunity to prefer an appeal in the event of imposing inadequate compensation, but at the same time, there is no provision for appeal by the victim for questioning the order of sentence as inadequate, whereas Section 377, Cr.PC gives the power to the State Government to prefer appeal for enhancement of sentence. While it is open for the State Government to prefer appeal for inadequate sentence under Section 377, Cr.PC but similarly no appeal can be maintained by the victim under Section 372, Cr.PC on the ground of inadequate sentence. It is fairly well settled that the remedy of appeal is creature of the Statute. Unless same is provided either under Code of Criminal Procedure or by any other law for the time being in force no appeal, seeking enhancement of sentence at the instance of the victim, is maintainable.”

The Apex Court relied on the National Commission for Women v. State of Delhi & Anr. (2010) 12 SCC 599 to dismiss the appeal as not maintainable.