Have you been convicted of a crime, and are unhappy with the final verdict? Do you wish to appeal to a higher court to reconsider the verdict or sentence given by a subordinate court, but are unsure how to go about it?
An appeal is a statutory right, that is governed by the statute by virtue of which it can be granted. To ensure that the accused does not suffer from any injustice due to any irregularities or mistake made by the concerned court. There is a provision for appeals.
- Criminal Appeals – Getting the Terms Right!
If the accused has been convicted for an offense that’s punishable with imprisonment for seven years or more and has been sentenced in a trial held by a Sessions Judge or another court, you may appeal to the High Court. On the other hand, if the accused has been tried and convicted in a High Court, an appeal can be made to the Supreme Court of India.
If the appeal is granted by the appellate court, the lower court’s decision can either be reversed in part, or in whole or be enhanced. If the appeal is denied, the lower court’s decision stands, and cannot be reversed.
- Limited Appeal or No Appeal
Certain circumstances constitute grounds for no appeal. These include if the offense is punishable with an imprisonment sentence, that doesn’t exceed a term of three months, or if the fine doesn’t exceed Rs 200, or if the accused is sentenced to pay a fine of Rs 100 or less, as dictated by a magistrate of first-class, or if the sentence is a fine of Rs 200 or less, as dictated in a summary trial.
Also, an appeal cannot be granted before any court, in those cases where the accused has confessed his guilt before conviction. In such an event, the accused can only appeal for the legality or extent of his sentence. An appeal can also be made in cases where the co-accused in the same trial, has been granted an appealable sentence.
If the sole accused dies during the pendency of the appeal, then the appeal will be abated. However, an abatement on an appeal against the sentence of a fine, will not be granted. If there are multiple accused persons, the hearing of their appeal will continue even if one of the accused among them died.
- Criminal Appeals – How to Go About Them
An appeal filed before a High Court should be in a written format and should contain clear grounds. It can be presented by the accused, his advocate, or the jail authorities if the accused is behind bars.
For a death sentence, the appeal must be filed within a limited period of thirty days from the date of sentencing by the sessions court, or high court. The limitation period for appeals against an acquittal order, or where an order requires seeking special leave of the Court, is ninety days.
While the court has the power to summarily dismiss an appeal, without conducting a detailed hearing provided there are sufficient grounds for it.
The court can also suspend the sentence passed against a convicted person, when the appeal is pending against the court, provided it records the reason for doing so, in writing. An appellant whose case is pending also be granted bail by the High Court if the latter is convinced that the offense committed by the accused is bailable, if the imprisonment sentence is of 3 years or less, or if there are no special circumstances to refuse bail.
An appeal can have a few possible outcomes, that is, the higher court may affirm the decision of the trial court, and the verdict at trial will stand, or the court may choose to reverse the decision rendered by the trial court and may order a new trial, or the case may be remanded to the trial court.
We recommend that you consult a legal counsel, if you wish to file an appeal, as he/she will not only take care of the drafting and filing but will also legally represent your case in court.