Judges should own up mistakes and correct it: SC
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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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