The principles of law governing the exercise of powers by the Supreme Court to interfere in an appeal against conviction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.


Hem Raj v. The State of Ajmer1:

Unless it is shown that exceptional and special circumstances exist that substantial and grave injustice has been done and the case in question presents features of sufficient gravity to warrant a review of the decision appealed against, the Supreme Court does not exercise its overriding powers under Article 136(1) of the Constitution.

Ramaphupala Reddy and Ors. v. The State of Andhra Pradesh2:

Appellate Court should also bear in mind the fact that the trial Court had the benefit of seeing the witnesses in the witness box and the presumption of innocence is not weakened by the order of acquittal. If two reasonable conclusions can be reached on the basis of the evidence on record, the appellate Court should not disturb the findings of the trial Court.

Although the powers of the Supreme Court under that article are very wide, the Court following the practice adopted by the Judicial Committee has prescribed limits on its own power and in criminal appeals, except under exceptional circumstances it does not interfere with the findings of facts reached by the High Court unless it is of the opinion that the High Court had disregarded the forms of legal process or had violated the principles of natural justice or otherwise substantial and grave injustice has resulted. The Apex Court does not ordinarily reappraise the evidence if the High Court has approached the case before it in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Court unless some basic error on the part of the High Court is brought to the notice of the Supreme Court. It is best to bear in mind that except in certain special cases, the High Court is the final Court of appeal and the Supreme Court is only a court of special jurisdiction.

Chandrachud, J in Balak Ram v. State of U.P.3

The powers of the Supreme Court under Article 136 are very wide but in criminal appeals the Supreme Court does not interfere with the concurrent findings of fact save in exceptional circumstances In Ramaphupala Reddy v. State of A.P.  it was observed that it was best to bear in mind that normally the High Court is a final court of appeal and the Supreme Court is only a court of special jurisdiction. The Supreme Court would not therefore reappraise the evidence unless, for example, the forms of legal process are disregarded or principles of natural justice are violated or substantial and grave injustice has otherwise resulted.

Bharwada Bhoginbhai Hirjibhai v. State of Gujarat4

Such a concurrent finding of fact cannot be reopened in an appeal by special leave unless it is established :

  1. That the finding is based on no evidence or
  2. That the finding is perverse, it being such as no reasonable person could have arrived at even if the evidence was taken at its face value or
  3. the finding is based and built on inadmissible evidence, which evidence if excluded from vision, would negate the prosecution case or substantially discredit or impair it or
  4. Some vital piece of evidence which would tilt the balance in favour of the convict has been overlooked, disregarded, or wrongly discarded.

Appabhai v. State of Gujarat5

Although the powers of the Supreme Court under that Article are very wide, the Court following the practice adopted by the judicial Committee has prescribed limits on its own power and in criminal appeals, except under exceptional circumstances it dues not interfere with the findings of fact reached by the High Court unless it is of the opinion that the High Court had disregarded the forms of legal process or had violated the principles of natural justice or otherwise substantial and grave injustice has resulted. the Supreme Court does not ordinarily reappraise the evidence if the High Court has approached the case before it in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court unless some basic error on the part of the High Court is brought to the notice of the (Supreme) Court. It is best to bear in mind that except in certain special cases, the High Court is the final Court of appeal and the Supreme Court is only a Court of special jurisdiction.

Bharwada Bhoginbhai Hirjibhai vs State Of Gujarat6 

A pure finding of fact recorded by the Sessions Court and affirmed by the High Court. Such the concurrent finding of fact cannot be reopened in an appeal by special leave unless it is established : (1) that the finding is based on no evidence or (2) that the finding is perverse, it being such as no reasonable person could have arrived at even if the evidence was taken at its face value or (3) the finding is based and built on inadmissible evidence, which evidence, if excluded from vision, would negate the prosecution case or substantially discredit or impair it or (4) some vital piece of evidence which would tilt the balance in favour of the convict has been overlooked, disregarded, or wrongly discarded.


  1. 1954 SCR 1133.
  2. AIR 1971 SC 460.
  3. 1974 AIR 2165.
  4. 1983 AIR 753.
  5. 1988 SCC suppl. 241 .
  6. 1983 AIR 753.

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