in the absence of the counsel for the appellant-accused, the High Court should not have decided the appeal on merits and prayed for remitting the matter to the High Court for fresh consideration on merits.

K.S. Panduranga vs. State of Karnataka

(2013) 3 SCC 721 and submitted that in the absence of the counsel

for the appellant-accused, the High Court should not have decided

the appeal on merits and prayed for remitting the matter to the High

Court for fresh consideration on merits.

3

  1. The respondent-complainant though served, has not entered

appearance in this appeal. The Supreme Court Legal Services

Committee has nominated Col. Pahlad Singh Sharma, Advocate to

appear and argue on behalf of the respondent. We have heard

Col. Pahlad Singh Sharma appearing on behalf of the

respondent-complainant and perused the impugned judgment and

other materials on record.

  1. Admittedly, the appellant-accused did not appear in the

criminal appeal before the High Court. When the accused has not

entered appearance in the High Court, in our view, the High Court

should have issued second notice to the appellant-accused or the

High Court Legal Services Committee to appoint an advocate or the

High Court could have taken the assistance of amicus curiae. When

the accused was not represented, without appointing any counsel

as amicus curiae to defend the accused, the High Court ought not

to have decided the criminal appeal on merits; more so, when the

appellant-accused had the benefit of the acquittal. The High Court

erred in reversing the acquittal without affording any opportunity tothe appellant-accused or by appointing an amicus curiae to argue

the matter on his behalf.

4

  1. In the result, the impugned orders of the High Court in Crl.A.

(MD) No. 608 of 2007 dated 06.07.2018 and 23.06.2018 are set

aside and these appeals are allowed and the Criminal Appeal (MD)

No. 608 of 2007 shall stand restored. The matter is remitted to the

Madurai Bench of Madras High Court to consider the matter afresh.

The appellant shall appear before the Madurai Bench of the Madras

High Court on 26.08.2019. The High Court shall issue notice to the

respondent-complainant viz. K. Vijayakumar informing him about

the date of hearing.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 986-987 OF 2019 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) Nos.7717-7718 of 2018) CHRISTOPHER RAJ …Appellant VERSUS K VIJAYAKUMAR …Respondent