MALA PEDDA LINGANNA Vs. STATE
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
MALA PEDDA LINGANNA
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(1.)This is a reference made by the learned Sessions Judge of Kurnool
under the following circumstances.
Three accused were charged before him under section 302, I.P.C. The trial
was commenced on and March, 1955 and the following three persons were empanelled
as assessors, (1) Sri Kristappa of Kappatralla village in Pattikonda taluk ;
(2) Sri K. Narasinga Rao of Kurnool Town and (3) Sri. Pandugala Atchanna of
Kurnool Town. After four of the 21 witnesses cited for the prosecution were
examined and while Santemma who was one of the witnesses in the case was in the
box, the assessors told the Court that this witness happened to contact them during
the lunch interval and told them something about the case outside the Court which
was quite contrary to what she had deposed in the court. Thereafter, the Public
Prosecutor filed a memo in Court which runs as follows :
"As the assessors are acting on outside information, it is not safe and just to keep them as assessors
during the trial of this case. It is prayed that they may be discharged and fresh assessors may be
taken and trial commenced afresh."
(2.)The counsel for the second and the third accused made an endorsement to the
effect that they had no objection to the course suggested by the Public Prosecutor,
but the learned Sessions Judge felt that he had no power to discharge the assessors in
the circumstances aforesaid and therefore referred the matter to this Court.
Section 285 Criminal Procedure Code enables the Sessions Court to discharge
the assessors and it reads :
235 (1) : If in the course of a trial with the aid of assessors at any time before the finding, any
assessor is, from any sufficient cause prevented from attending throughout the trial, or absent himself,
and it is not practicable to enforce his attendance, the trial shall proceed with the aid of the other
assessor or assessors.
285(2) : If all the assessors are prevent from attending, or absent themselves, the proceedings
shall be stayed and a new trial shall be held with the and of fresh assessors."
(3.)It is clear from the aforesaid provisions that sub-section (1) enables the Court to
proceed dispensing with one of the assessors only if the said assessor is not able
to attend throughout the trial or absents himself and it is not practicable to
enforce his attendance and sub-section (2) enables the Court to empanel fresh
assessors only if they are prevented from attending or absent themselves. In the
present case, none of the conditions laid down in either of the two sub-sections
of that section are complied with. The assessors have disqualified themselves from
functioning as such, as they were acting on outside information. There is no
specific provision enabling either the Sessions Judge or the High Court to discharge
the assessors in the circumstances of the case. In my view, this is one of the classes
of cases which attracts the inherent power of the High Court under section 561-A
of the Criminal Procedure Code which says :
"Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent power of the High Court
to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent
abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice."
I accept the reference and discharge the assessors and direct the learned Sessions
Judge, Kurnool to proceed with a de novo trial after empanelling a new body of
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