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Reportable
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
Special Leave Petition (Crl! No"#$ o% &'("
Kushalbhai Ratanbhai Rohit & Ors. …Petitioners
Versus
The State of Gujarat …Respondent

O R D E R
1. This petition has been filed against the interim order dated
!.1."1#$ passed b% the &igh 'ourt of Gujarat at (hmedabad in
'riminal (ppeal )o."1 of ""*.
. +a,ts and ,ir,umstan,es gi-ing rise to this petition are .
(. That an +/R '.R. )o.*" of ""1 0as registered at (mrai0adi
Poli,e Station$ (hmedabad against one 1ahalingam alias Shi-a for
the offen,e punishable under the pro-isions of )ar,oti, 2rugs and
Ps%,hotropi, Substan,es (,t$ 1345 6for short 7)2PS (,t89. Pursuant
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to the said +/R$ ,ase ,ommen,ed 0hi,h 0as ,ommitted to the
Sessions 'ourt$ :hadra$ (hmedabad and the trial ,ommen,ed.
:. On ;.4.""#$ Shi-a$ a,,used 0ho 0as detained at Vadodara
'entral <ail$ 0as re=uired to be ta>en to the Sessions 'ourt at :hadra$
(hmedabad and for that purpose an es,ort 0as arranged$ ho0e-er$ the
,ase 0as adjourned and the a,,used 0hile going ba,> 0as ta>en for a
,up of tea to the Tea stall outside the ,ourt ,ompound. Subse=uent
thereto$ he e?pressed the desire to see his ailing mother and the es,ort
persons tried to find the auto@ri,>sha0 but the es,ort persons started
nauseating and -omiting as some substan,e 0as allegedl% had been
mi?ed up 0ith tea b% the relati-es of the a,,used and it 0as at that
time Shi-a$ a,,used abs,onded from the ,ustod% of these persons
although in hand,uffs. Thus$ a ,omplaint 0as lodged in this respe,t
b% the seniormost person of the said es,ort part%. /n this regard$ /st
'.R. )o.;; of ""# 0as re,orded for the offen,e punishable under
Se,tions #4$ $ #$ ; and 11; of the /ndian Penal 'ode 14*"
6hereinafter referred to as 7/P'89.
'. (fter the in-estigation$ ,hargesheet 0as filed against the es,ort
personnel in,luding the petitioners on 5.3.""5 and the petitioners

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0ere found guilt% for the offen,e punishable under Se,tion /P'
-ide judgment and order dated 3.11.""* and the petitioner no.1 0as
a0arded # %ears8 R/ and a fine of Rs.5$"""A@ and in default thereto$ to
undergo simple imprisonment for one %ear. Petitioner nos. and #
0ere ,on-i,ted under Se,tion /P' but the% had been a0arded the
senten,e for a period of t0o %ears ea,h and a fine of Rs.$"""A@ea,h$
and in default thereto$ to undergo simple imprisonment for si?
months.
2. (ggrie-ed$ the petitioners preferred 'riminal (ppeal )o."1
of ""* before the &igh 'ourt of Gujarat and during the penden,% of
the appeal$ the petitioners had been enlarged on bail -ide order dated
.11.""*. The appeal 0as finall% heard on 11.1."1# and the ,ourt
too> a -ie0 that san,tion of the State Go-ernment under Se,tion 13!
of the 'ode of 'riminal Pro,edure$ 13!# 6hereinafter referred to as
B'r.P.'.C9 0as ne,essaril% re=uired$ and in -ie0 thereof$ the order
0as di,tated in open ,ourt allo0ing the appeal on te,hni,al issue.
&o0e-er$ the order di,tated in open ,ourt and a,=uitting the
petitioners -ide order dated 11.1."1# 0as re,alled b% the ,ourt suo
moto -ide order dated !.1."1# and dire,ted the appeal to be re@
heard. The order had been re,alled on the ground that the ,ourt
#
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0anted to e?amine the issue further as to 0hether in the fa,ts and
,ir,umstan,es of the ,ase 0here the a,,used had been poli,e
,onstables$ the offen,e ,ould not be attributed to ha-e been ,ommitted
under the ,ommission of their dut% 0here san,tion under Se,tion 13!
'r.P.'. 0ould be attra,ted.
&en,e$ this petition.
#. &eard Shri +a>hruddin$ learned senior ,ounsel for the
petitioners and Shri (nurag (hlu0alia$ learned ,ounsel for the State
and perused the re,ord.
;. De do not find an% for,ible submission ad-an,ed on behalf of
the petitioners that on,e the order had been di,tated in open ,ourt$ the
order to re-ie0 or re,all is not permissible in -ie0 of the pro-isions of
Se,tion #* 'r.P.'. for the simple reason that Se,tion #* 'r.P.'.
puts an embargo to ,all$ re,all or re-ie0 an% judgment or order passed
in ,riminal ,ase on,e it has been pronoun,ed and signed. /n the
instant ,ase$ admittedl%$ the order 0as di,tated in the ,ourt$ but had
not been signed.
;
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5. /n Mo)an Sin*) v +in*,E-peror 13;# /ER 6Pat9 4$ a
similar issue 0as e?amined 0herein the fa,ts had been that the
judgment 0as deli-ered b% the &igh 'ourt holding that the trial 0as
0ithout jurisdi,tion and a dire,tion 0as issued to release the appellant
therein. &o0e-er$ before the judgment ,ould be t%ped and signed the
,ourt dis,o-ered that the ,op% of the notifi,ation 0hi,h had been
relied upon 0as an a,,urate ,op% and that the Spe,ial <udge had
jurisdi,tion in respe,t of the offen,e under 0hi,h the appellant therein
had been ,on-i,ted. Thereupon$ the order dire,ting the release of the
a,,used 0as re,alled and the appeal 0as dire,ted to be heard de no-o.
Dhen the matter ,ame up for re@hearing$ the obje,tion that the ,ourt
did not ha-e a po0er to re,all the order and hear the appeal de novo$
0as reje,ted.
*. /n -ie0 of the pro-isions of Se,tion #* 'r.P.'. 0hile de,iding
the ,ase$ the Patna &igh 'ourt relied upon the judgment of 'al,utta
&igh 'ourt in A-o.ini Da/ee v Dar/an 0)o/e$ 1311 /ER 6'al9 44
and the judgment of (llahabad &igh 'ourt in E-peror v
Pra*-a.)o Sin*)$ 13# /ER 6(ll.9 1#. ( similar -ie0 has been
reiterated b% the 2i-ision :en,h of the :omba% &igh 'ourt in State
o% 1o-ba2 v 0eo%%re2 Manner/ 3 Co$ (/R 1351 :om. ;3. The
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:omba% &igh 'ourt had ta>en the -ie0 that unless the judgment is
signed and sealed$ it is not a judgment in stri,t legal sense and
therefore$ in e?,eptional ,ir,umstan,es$ the order ,an be re,alled and
altered to a ,ertain e?tent.
!. /n San*a- Lal v Rent Control an. Eviction O%%icer4
Alla)aba. 3 Or/$ (/R 13** (ll. 1$ 0hile dealing 0ith the rent
,ontrol matter$ the ,ourt ,ame to the ,on,lusion that until a judgment
is signed and sealed after deli-ering in ,ourt$ it is not a judgment and
it ,an be ,hanged or altered at an% time before it is signed and sealed.
4. This 'ourt has also dealt 0ith the issue in S5ren.ra Sin*) 3
Or/ v State o% UP$ (/R 135; S' 13; obser-ing as under.
“Now up to the moment the judgment is delivered Judges
have the right to change their mind. There is a sort of
'locus paenitentiae' and indeed last minute alterations
often do occur. Therefore, however much a draft
judgment may have been signed beforehand, it is nothing
but a draft till formally delivered as the judgment of the
Court. nly then does it crystallise into a full fledged
judgment and become operative. !t follows that the Judge
who "delivers" the judgment, or causes it to be delivered
by a brother Judge, must be in e#istence as a member of
the Court at the moment of delivery so that he can, if
necessary, stop delivery and say that he has changed his
mind. There is no need for him to be physically present
in court but he must be in e#istence as a member of the
Court and be in a position to stop delivery and effect an
*
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alteration should there be any last minute change of
mind on his part. !f he hands in a draft and signs it and
indicates that he intends that to be the final e#pository of
his views it can be assumed that those are still his views
at the moment of delivery if he is alive and in a position
to change his mind but ta$es no steps to arrest delivery.
%ut one cannot assume that he would not have
changed his mind if he is no longer in a position to do so.
& Judge's responsibility is heavy and when a man's life
and liberty hang upon his decision nothing can be left to
chance or doubt or conjecture' also, a (uestion of public
policy is involved. &s we have indicated, it is fre(uently
the practice to send a draft, sometimes a signed draft, to
a brother Judge who also heard the case. This may be
merely for his information, or for consideration and
criticism. The mere signing of the draft does not
necessarily indicate a closed mind. )e feel it would be
against public policy to leave the door open for an
investigation whether a draft sent by a Judge was
intended to embody his final and unalterable opinion or
was only intended to be a tentative draft sent with an
unwritten understanding that he is free to change his
mind should fresh light drawn upon him before the
delivery of judgment.*
3. Thus$ from the abo-e$ it is e-ident that a <udge8s responsibilit%
is -er% hea-%$ parti,ularl%$ in a ,ase 0here a manFs life and libert%
hang upon his de,ision nothing ,an be left to ,han,e or doubt or
,onje,ture. Therefore$ one ,annot assume$ that the <udge 0ould not
ha-e ,hanged his mind before the judgment be,ome final.
!
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1". /n I6bal I/-ail So.a7ala v T)e State o% Ma)ara/)tra 3
Or/$ (/R 13!; S' 144"$ the judgment in S5ren.ra Sin*) 6supra9
referred to hereinabo-e 0as ,onsidered in this ,ase. /n that ,ase$
,riminal appeal 0as heard b% the 2i-ision :en,h of the &igh 'ourt$
the judgment 0as signed b% both of them but it 0as deli-ered in ,ourt
b% one of them after the death of the other. /t 0as held that there 0as
no -alid judgment and the ,ase should be re@heard. This 'ourt too>
the -ie0 that the judgment is the final de,ision of the ,ourt intimated
to the parties and the 0orld at large.
11. /n -ie0 of the abo-e$ 0e are of the ,onsidered opinion that no
e?,eption ,an be ta>en to the pro,edure adopted b% the &igh 'ourt in
the instant ,ase.
1. The petition is de-oid of an% merit and is a,,ordingl%
dismissed.
88888888888J
(Dr 1S CHAUHAN!
88888888888J
(J CHELAMES9AR!
88888888888J
(M: E;1AL!
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Ne7 Del)i4
Ma2 <4 &'("

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