To err is human and a judge is not an exception to this. Therefore, an error may be made even by the judge while passing a decision. And every complainant has the right of getting justice arising out of any error or wrongful decision. Chapter XXIX, Sections 372-395 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) deals with Appeals. Appeal can be described as examining the judicial decision by the higher court that has been passed by the lower court. This article discusses the provisions of appeal under CrPC. The proper procedure to make an appeal as well as to make an application for appeal to the appropriate court is necessary. When an appeal to conviction lies along with the appeals made in the court session, it has been also discussed under this article with brief case laws.

Background Of Criminal Appeal

Generally, an appeal lies to the higher court when an aggrieved party or the complainant is not satisfied with the decision given by the lower court. An appeal may also lie to the higher court for reviewing the decision or any errors made by the lower court.  The statutory provision laid under Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees the right to life and personal liberty which implies that any individual aggrieved by any decision of the court can move to the High Court or Supreme Court to get justice by the way of making an appeal. The appellate jurisdiction of the court means that the Court has the authority of reviewing the decision of the lower courts. The Supreme Court and High Court have appellate jurisdiction as most of the appeals lie from the lower court. 

When the individual, if convicted of any crime, makes an appeal to the higher court or asks for a review where the complainant finds an erroneous decision has been passed by the lower court. Therefore, an appeal is not asking for another trial, rather it is for determining if the conviction is incorrect or the sentence imposed is unfair. No new evidence is presented in an appeal. The appeal may be granted by the Court by reversing the decision of the lower court. However, the Court may also reject the appeal and stand by the decision given by the lower court.

Appeal Under CrPC

Section 372 of the Code states that no appeal shall lie from any judgement or order of the Criminal Court except as provided for by this Code or by any other law for the time being in force. However, an appeal can be preferred against any order passed by the Court acquitting the accused or convicted for any lesser offence. An appeal shall lie to the higher courts against the order of conviction of such Court. An appeal is a creation of the statute and there exists no inherent right of appeal. The right to appeal is not a vested right. The reason behind the principle is that the courts trying the offences are competent enough to presume that there was fair conduct of the trial. The rules, as well as the procedure governing the appeals before the Sessions Court and High Courts, are the same. 


The Supreme Court of the country is regarded as the highest court of appeal. This implies that extensive discretionary and plenary powers are enjoyed by the SC in appeals. Similarly the High Court of the state is also regarded as the court of appeal. Both the Supreme Court and High Court have appellate jurisdiction. The powers of the Appellate jurisdiction are majorly governed by the provisions laid down by the Constitution of India.


The right to appeal to the Supreme Court has been given to the accused against the judgement of the High Court in cases such as where the order of acquittal is reversed by the High Court on appeal by convicting the accused and further the accused is sentenced to imprisonment for life or 10 years or to death. Article 134(1) of the Constitution of India lays down the similar understanding relevant to criminal appeals made to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court enjoys additional powers for entertaining as well as hearing appeals from the High Court under certain circumstances.

Appeals In Court Of Sessions (Section 373)

Under Section 323 of the Code, an appeal may lie to the Court of Session against an order made under Section 117. Section 117 of the Code states that an individual has been ordered to give security to keep the peace or for good behaviour. An appeal may also lie to the Court of Session under Section 121 which states the circumstance where an individual has been aggrieved due to an order that refuses to accept or reject a surety.

Appeal From Convictions (Section 374)

When an order of conviction has been passed by the High Court in the exercise of its original criminal jurisdiction then an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court. In case of conviction from the order of the Court of Session or Additional Court of Session, an appeal shall lie to the High Court. 


However, no appeal shall be made in cases where the accused pleads guilty at the High Court and the same is recorded by the Court. 


Section 376 of the Code states that there shall be no appeal against petty offences such as imprisonment up to 6 months or a fine of Rs 1000 or both in the High Court.

Appeals By State Government (Section 377-378)

Section 377 of the Code states how an appeal against a sentence is made by the State government through a public prosecutor on the grounds of insufficiency of the sentence.

Section 378 of the Code states the circumstance where the appeal is made in case of acquittal by the District Magistrate through a public prosecutor to the Court of Session. The appeal is made for the order of acquittal as passed by any Magistrate. An appeal can also be made against an order of acquittal by the state made by any court other than the High Court. Before filing for an appeal at the High Court, prior permission of the High Court has to be taken.

Case Laws

The Supreme Court held in Arun Kumar v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the High Court was right to set aside the acquittal and hence pass orders for conviction. The order of the High Court was held upright against the order by the Court of Session where an order for acquittal was passed wrongly and leading to miscarriage of justice. 

It was also held by the Supreme Court in Satya Pal Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh, that the father of the deceased has the right of presenting an appeal to the High Court under Section 372 of the Code concerning the correctness of the judgement as well as the order of an acquittal.

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FAQs On Appeal Made In Criminal Cases

A criminal appeal is not another trial. An appeal is a complaint made to the higher court with the intention that the order, finding, or sentence passed by the lower court is illegal or erroneous.
An appeal shall lie to the higher courts from the order of the lower courts. Generally, appeals lie to the Supreme Court exercising its original criminal jurisdiction, High Court, and Court of Session.
Section 377 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that the State Government has the power of filing an appeal against the insufficiency of a sentence to the Court of Session or High Court through a public prosecutor.
Section 378 of the Code states that an appeal can be filed by the District Magistrate or the State Government against an order of acquittal by any court other than the High Court to the Court of Session.
Any individual convicted on trial by the High Court in its extraordinary original criminal jurisdiction may appeal to the Supreme Court.
Generally an appeal lies with the High Court. The power of the appellate court for enhancing punishment of a convict has been reiterated by the Supreme Court and enhancement can be made only after serving notice to the convict about enhancement.

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