Judges should own up mistakes and correct it: SC

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - 22:05

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said if
judges commit mistake in their judicial decisions they should
be open to correct the mistakes.
"It is true that in the last two decisions, one of us,
Hon`ble Mr. Justice Markandey Katju, was a member but a Judge
should always be open to correct his mistakes. We feel that
these decisions require re-consideration and hence we direct
that this matter be placed before a larger Bench to reconsider
the correctness ," a Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and
Gyan Sudha Mishra said in an order.

The apex court passed the order while admitting that it
has passed erroneous orders in three earlier cases by
compounding (paying fine and being absolved of the offence)
offences under 120B(criminal conspiracy) though there was no
provision in the law to compound such offences.

The Bench admitted its mistake while dealing with an
appeal filed by an accused Gian Singh who sought compounding
of the cases registered against him under Section 420 IPC and
120 B(criminal conspiracy).

Under Section 320 Cr PC offences committed under 420
IPC can be compounded by way of fine but not for offences
under 120B. However, in earlier judgements Justice Katju,
while sitting with another judge, had allowed compounding of
offences under Section 120B also.
The Bench said "the court cannot amend the statute and
must maintain judicial restraint in this connection. The
courts should not try to take over the function of Parliament
or executive. It is the legislature alone which can amend
Section 320 Cr.P.C.

"We are of the opinion that the above three decisions
require to be re-considered as, in our opinion, something
which cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly. In
our prima facie opinion, non-compoundable offences cannot be
permitted to be compounded by the court, whether directly or
indirectly. Hence, the above three decisions do not appear to
us to be correctly decided," the Bench said in its order.

The three decisions in which the erroneous orders were
passed are-B.S.Joshi vs. State of Haryana (2003), Nikhil
Merchant vs. Central Bureau of Investigation(2008)and Manoj
Sharma (2008).


First Published: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - 22:05

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