SC sets aside HC's order passed due to lawyer's absence

SC sets aside Punjab and Haryana HC's order in Arms Act case due to lawyer's absence

Bench presided over by Justice Chandrachud says 'liberty of a citizen cannot be taken away in this manner'

Credit: PTI file photo.

The Supreme Court has set aside a Punjab and Haryana High Court order which had dismissed a plea filed by a man against his conviction in a case of the Arms Act, on the ground that his lawyer had remained absent on four occasions during the hearing.

"Liberty of a citizen cannot be taken away in this manner," a bench presided over by Justice D Y Chandrachud said.

The court said the high court was “manifestly in error” in rejecting the revision in default and it ought to have appointed another lawyer as amicus curiae to assist it in the matter which pertained to conviction.

The court allowed the appeal filed by the man and set aside the February 11 and July 16 orders of the high court.

On February 11, the high court had dismissed the plea filed by the man. Subsequently, on July 16, the high court had dismissed the application for restoration of plea saying that no grounds for restoration was established.

The man was convicted for the offence punishable under the Arms Act by a magisterial court in January 2015 and was sentenced to three-year imprisonment.

A sessions court had upheld his conviction in July 2017 after which he had moved the high court.

The top court restored his revision petition and granted him bail.