Criminal Revision

Criminal Revision

Revision confers the idea to revising or revisiting a work done with intent to fix the thing for betterment. Revision of something may or may not attract alteration of work. To make revision of something is to make modifications to improve, to make it more modern, or make it more suitable for purpose. Under Indian Law, Revision is the process of examination of an order of a lower court by a Higher Court so as to rectify any improper exercise of judicial power. The purpose of revision is to examine the correctness, legality or propriety of any proceedings before the inferior court. Revision keeps the inferior court within their bounds of authority and makes them work accordingly to well define principle of law. It is a power of supervision and superintendence.


The dictionary meaning of Revision is “a change or set of changes that corrects or improves something.” As per Macmillan Dictionary the word revision means “the process of changing, improving, or making additions to something such as a plan, law, or piece of writing.” According to Black’s Law Dictionary it is “a re-examination or careful reading over for correction or improvement.” Revision is a re-consideration of cases involving the illegal belief, non-exercise or irregular exercise of jurisdiction. The power to hear revision is generally given to the superior court so as to ensure that a particular case has been decided according to law.

What are provisions under Code of Criminal Procedure?

The provisions relating to criminal revision are enshrined under Code of Criminal Procedure from Sections 397 to 405. The Sections 399, 400 and 401 of Cr.P.C. confers powers of revision upon Sessions Judge, Additional Sessions Judge and High Court. While exercising the revision powers, the High Court is superior to Sessions Judge, Sessions Judge is superior to Additional Sessions Judge and Additional Sessions is superior to Chief Judicial Magistrate, all other Magistrates including District Magistrate. The High Court or any Sessions Judge have been empowered to call for and examine the records of any proceedings to make sure that order or judgement passed by inferior court is legally correct.

Is stranger can initiate revision proceedings?

The affirmative attitude of the law about this doubt allows the stranger means who is not a party to the case to initiate revision proceedings. In revision, revisional court can initiate revision suo moto or on the motion of even a stranger. The court can even take action on the basis of newspaper report on sufficient ground for revision.

Is revisional powers of High Court differs from Sessions Court?

The only difference lies between the revisional powers of High Court and the Sessions Court is that Sessions Judge can exercise its revisional powers when revisionist brought revision petition before the judge, whereas the High Court has power to take up a revisional matter by itself or when it is brought to its knowledge. It is marked that the powers of a Sessions Court are the same as that of the High Court while dealing with revisional cases.

Landmark case laws:

In Amit Kapoor vs Ramesh Chander & Anr (Criminal Appeal No. 1407 of 2012), SC held that the revisional jurisdiction can be invoked where the decisions under challenge are grossly erroneous, there is no compliance with the provisions of law, the finding recorded is based on no evidence, material evidence is ignored or judicial discretion is exercise arbitrarily or perversely.

In Madan Lal Kapoor vs Rajiv Thapar & Ors (2007) 7 SCC 623), SC held that Criminal revision cannot be dismissed for default or for want of prosecution.

In State of Rajasthan vs Fatehkaran Mehdu (Criminal Appeal No. 216 of 2017), the Apex Court observed that the object of revision is to set right a patent defect or an error of jurisdiction or law or the perversity which has crept in the proceeding.

In the case of Akalu Ahir & Ors vs Ramdeo Ram (AIR 1973 SC 2145) SC held that court can interfere with finding of acquittal in revision in the following categories of cases:-

  1. Where the trial court has no jurisdiction to try the case, but has still acquitted the accused.
  2. Where the trial court has wrongly shut out the evidence which the prosecution wished to produce.

In S. Balasubramanian vs The State of Tamil Nadu (2013), the Madras HC held that a Sessions Judge can entertain an application in revision against sentence and enhance the sentence in revision in certain cases.

In Faruk @ Gaffar vs State of U.P. (2012), the Allahabad High Court held that whenever the matter is brought to the notice of the Court and the Court is satisfied that in the facts and circumstances of the case, a case is made out for exercising the revisional powers suo moto, it can always do so in the interest of justice.


There are some cases where the provision of appeal may not be enough to address every sort of grievance of the litigants. To avoid such possibilities of injustice the litigants can invoke the remedy of revision. The power of revision helps in benefitting people who have been caused injustice or victims of erroneous decisions. Revision is an exceptional power of the court. It should be exercised cautiously where there are legal errors in the proceedings to avoid grave miscarriage of justice.

-Kiranpreet Kaur

Associate at Aggarwals & Associates S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali