What is the difference between Revision and Appeal?

Jun2,2021 #APPEAL #Revision

By Aashima Kakkar


Whenever there is a very big case where the accused has done some grievous harm to the victim or the accused has done harm to the public at large and the lower Court has acquitted them, the case can be criminal or civil, the newspapers flash headlines such as “Nirav Modi files appeal in UK High Court to challenge extradition to India[1]” or “Top Court order on Nirbhaya Convict’s Appeal over rejection of Mercy plea tomorrow[2]”. These types of headlines indicate that the accused may file an appeal against the order of the lower Court.

Under Black’s Law Dictionary, an appeal is defined as The complaint to a superior court of an injustice done or error committed by an inferior one, whose judgment or decision the court above is called upon to correct or reverse.”[3]

In the case of Akalu v. Ram Deo[4], the court observed that ;

“A right of Appeal is not a natural or inherent right. It is a statutory right and must be governed by the statute which grants it.”

Revision on the other hand means that the lower Court may have made an error and that needs to be revised. Under Black’s Law Dictionary, a revision is defined as “A re-examination or careful reading over for correction or improvement.[5]

Revision and Appeal are very different from each and this article delves into the difference of Appeal and Revision.

Legal Provisions related to Appeal

Provisions related to Appeal under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter as CrP.C) are in Sections 372 to 394 whereas in the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (hereinafter as CPC) Sections 96 to 113 and Order 41 to 45.

Sections 100 to 103 CPC deal with second appeals before High Courts and Sections 109 to 112 CPC deal with appeals to the Apex Court.

Order 42 deals with second appeals to High Court and Order 45 deal with appeals to Supreme Court.

Chapter 13 of Civil Rules of Practice; Rules 166 to 171 deal with appeals.

Appeal – Chapter XXXIX of CrP.C

Section 372 states that unless otherwise provided by the Code or any other law in effect at the time, no appeal is allowed. It may be possible to file an appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court’s acquittal order under Articles 132, 134, and 136 of the Indian Constitution.

Section 373 states that it applies to appeals from

  • Orders requiring security for the sake of maintaining the peace or good behaviour, and
  • Orders refusing to accept or rejecting a surety under section 121.

The appeal is to the Court of Session, unless the proceedings have already been laid before the Session Judge under sub-section (2) or (4) of Section 122.

Section 374 states appeal from Conviction:

  • Any person convicted in a High Court trial held under its extraordinary original criminal jurisdiction may appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • Any person convicted by a Sessions Judge or an Additional Sessions Judge, or by any other Court, of a sentence of imprisonment for more than seven years [passed against him or any other person convicted at the same trial] may appeal to the High Court.
  • Any person convicted on a trial held by a Metropolitan Magistrate or Assistant Sessions Judge or Magistrate of the first or second class, sentenced under section 325, or in respect of whom an order has been made or a sentence has been passed under section 360 by any Magistrate, may appeal to the Court of Session, unless otherwise provided in sub-section (2).

When dealing with appeals from the Sessions Court’s sentences under this Section, the High Court should give reasons for rejecting the appeal rather than dismissing it summarily. In the event that the appellant files an appeal with the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court will be informed of the High Court’s decision.

The sentence in default of payment of a fine is not to be added to the substantive sentence of imprisonment when computing the seven-year sentence for the purpose of determining the appellate forum under Section 374 (2).

An appeal from an acquittal order must be filed within the time limits set out in Article 114 of the Limitation Act, 1963’s Schedule.

Sections 5 and 12 of the Limitation Act, 1963, would be useful for extending the period of limitation and excluding time from the computation of the period of limitation.

In some cases, Sections 375 and 376 prohibits appeals, though a provision of Revision is upheld. As a result, there will be no appeal:

  • When a High Court imposes a sentence of not more than six months in prison or a fine of not more than one thousand rupees, or both,
  • When a Court of Session or a Metropolitan Magistrate imposes a sentence of not more than three months in prison or a fine of not more than two hundred rupees, or both,
  • If a Magistrate of the First Class imposes a fine of not more than one hundred rupees,
  • In a summary case, a Magistrate may impose a fine of not more than two hundred rupees.

The Government has the right under Section 377 to appeal an inadequacy of sentence imposed by any Court other than a High Court. The appellate Court can intervene and increase the sentence if the sentence appears to be manifestly inadequate and results in a failure of justice.

However, after giving the accused an opportunity, the high Court can exercise its revisional jurisdiction, suo moto call for the record, and enhance the sentence in appropriate cases.[6] In order to increase the sentence, the appellate court must issue a speaking order.

Courts ruled that a bold statement that the ends of justice demanded increased sentencing was insufficient. The State must file an appeal under Section 377 within 60 days, and the State’s claim that it was under the mistaken impression that the statute of limitations was ninety days would not be considered an excuse for the delay.

It may be possible to file an appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court’s acquittal order under Articles 132, 134, and 136 of the Indian Constitution. An appeal from an acquittal order must be filed within the time limits set out in Article 114 of the Limitation Act, 1963’s Schedule. Sections 5 and 12 of the Limitation Act, 1963, would be useful for extending the period of limitation and excluding time from the computation of the period of limitation.

An appeal from an acquittal order is a rare occurrence. The High Court should give proper weight and consideration to “Very substantial and compelling reasons” when exercising this power. These very substantial and compelling reasons exist when:

  • When the trial court’s conclusion on the facts is demonstrably incorrect;
  • The decision of the trial court was based on an incorrect interpretation of the law.
  • The trial court’s decision will almost certainly result in a “grave miscarriage of justice.”
  • The trial court’s entire approach to dealing with the evidence was clearly illegal.
  • The trial court’s decision was clearly arbitrary and unjust.
  • The trial court ignored the evidence, misread the material evidence, and ignored material documents such as dying declarations and the Ballistic expert’s report, among other things.

This list is meant to be indicative rather than exhaustive. The Appellate Court must always give the trial Court’s findings proper weight and consideration.

If two reasonable views can be reached – one leading to acquittal and the other to conviction – the High Court/appellate Courts must rule in the accused’s favour.

Section 379 deals with appeal against conviction by High Court in certain cases stating that an accused person may appeal to the Supreme Court if the High Court reversed an order of acquittal and convicted him and sentenced him to death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for a term of ten years or more.

When the High Court, on appeal:

  • Reversed an order of acquittal of an accused person and
  • Convicted and sentenced him to death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for a term. (Chandra Mohan Tiwari v. State of Madhya Pradesh[7])

In other cases, if the High Court certifies that the case is appropriate for appeal to the Supreme Court, an appeal can be filed.

Only grave injustice on the record can persuade the Supreme Court to overrule the lower Courts’ concurrent findings of guilt. Unless there is a perverse and erroneous appreciation of evidence, the Court will be slow to reverse the High Court’s decision. If the High Court has given certain tenable reasons for acquitting the accused, the Supreme Court would be unjustified in interfering with that acquittal. (Vijaybhai Bhanabhai Patel v. Navnitbhai Nathubhai Patel[8]).

The term “acquittal” does not imply that the trial must have resulted in a complete acquittal; it can also refer to a situation in which an accused has been acquitted of murder but convicted of a lesser crime. (Tarachand Damu v. State of Maharashtra[9])

Section 380 states that regardless of anything else in this Chapter, if more than one person is convicted in a single trial and an appealable judgement or order has been issued in respect of any of those people, all or any of the people convicted in that trial have the right to appeal.

Section 382 talks about Petition of Appeal meaning every appeal must be made in the form of a written petition presented by the appellant or his pleader, and every such petition must be accompanied by a copy of the judgement or order being appealed against (unless the Court to which it is presented directs otherwise).

A certified copy of the judgement or order is referred to as a copy of the judgement or order. The Court, on the other hand, has the authority to waive the copy of the judgement. (State of Uttar Pradesh v. Tobit[10])

Section 383 deals with Appeal from Jail stating that if a convict is in jail and wants to appeal his conviction, he can do so by presenting an appeal to the officer in charge of the jail. It is the jail officer’s responsibility to forward such an appeal to the appropriate court.

No jail appeal can be dismissed without giving the appellate Court a reasonable opportunity to be heard.

Section 384 deals with Summary dismissal of Appeal stating that if the Appellate Court determines that there is no sufficient ground for interfering after reviewing the petition for appeal and a copy of the judgement received under Section 382 or Section 383, it may dismiss the appeal summarily. Dismissal in Limine is a legal term that refers to the dismissal of a case.

The power of the appellate Court to dismiss an appeal should be used sparingly and with great caution. The Supreme Court has ruled on whether it is permissible to dismiss a criminal appeal on summary judgement. Even if the case’s records are lost or unavailable, acquittal would be justified. (Jagdish vs. Bolin[11]; State v. Abhai Roy[12])

Legal Provisions related to Revision

Provisions related to Revision in CrP.C are in sections 394 to 405 whereas in CPC in section 115.

Revision under CrP.C

The term “revision” is not defined in the CrP.C; however, Section 397 of the CrP.C empowers the High Court or any Sessions Judge to call for and examine the records of any proceeding to satisfy oneself as to the correctness, legality, or propriety of any finding, sentence, or order, whether recorded or passed, and as to the regularity of any inferior court proceedings.

They also have the authority to direct the execution of any sentence or order that has been suspended. Not only that, but if the accused is incarcerated, the court may order that he be released on bail or on his own bond. They may even order an investigation, but only if certain conditions are met. This is given in Section 398.

In the case of Amit Kapoor vs Ramesh Chander & Anr.[13], the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India 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 exercised arbitrarily or perversely.”

The same Court, further explaining this provision, held in the case of State of Rajasthan vs Fatehkaran Mehdu[14] that “the object of this provision is to set right a patent defect or an error of jurisdiction or law or the perversity which has crept in the proceeding.”

The High Court has the authority to hear a revision petition on its own initiative, or in response to a petition from an aggrieved party or any other party. In the case of Faruk @ Gaffar vs State of Uttar Pradesh[15], the Allahabad High Court ruled 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 motu, it can always do so in the interest of justice.”

The High Court has certain statutory limitations for exercising its revisional powers under Section 401 of the CrP.C, but the only statutory requirement for exercising this power is that the records of the proceedings be presented before it, after which it is entirely up to the Court’s discretion:

  • An accused must be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard, and no order can be issued unless this is done.
  • In the interests of justice, the High Court must treat a revisional application as an appeal in cases where a person has forwarded a revisional application assuming that an appeal did not lie in such a case.

An application for revision cannot be pursued if it was filed by a party who had the opportunity to appeal but did not do so.

The High Court, like the Sessions Court, has the authority to request the record of any proceeding of any inferior criminal court within its jurisdiction in order to satisfy itself as to the correctness, legality, and propriety of any finding, sentence, or other decision.

As a result of the powers conferred on him by Section 397(1) of the CrPC, the Sessions Judge could investigate the issue of sentence inadequacy. This was given in Section 399.

The difference between the powers of the High Court and the Sessions Court is that the Sessions Judge can only exercise revisional powers that he has requested himself, whereas the High Court has the authority to take up a revisional matter when it comes to its attention.

When dealing with revisional cases, a Sessions Court has the same powers as the High Court.

In the case of S. Balasubramaninan vs The State of Tamil Nadu[16], the Madras High Court ruled that “a Sessions Judge can entertain an application in revision against sentence and enhance the sentence in revision in certain cases.” 

The Supreme Court in the case of Alamgir v. State of Bihar[17] that “in respect of enhancement of sentence in revision the enhancement can be made only if the Court is satisfied the sentence imposed by the trial Court is unduly lenient, or that in passing the order of sentence, the trial court has manifestly failed to consider the relevant facts”

Difference between Appeal and Revision

I. General Difference

In general, there are a few major distinctions between the legal terms appeal and revision that can be deduced when not held in the context of any specific section of law:

  • In criminal cases, at least one appeal is a substantive right conferred by the statute (and it is also considered a part of the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution), whereas the revision power is discrete.
  • The appellant is heard by the Court in the event of an appeal. However, in the case of a revision, it is not required, and the person filing the revision may not be formally heard.
  • The appeal is to a superior Court (which may be any superior court as defined in the relevant provisions), while the revision is only to the High Court or the Sessions Court under the Criminal Procedure Code (Section 399 of The Code of Criminal procedure). A party to the proceedings must file an appeal, but revision is possible.
  • Revision can be used against orders that are not appealable, but it can also be used suo motu by a higher court with revision authority. Rehearing on a question of law as well as the facts of the case is involved in an appeal, whereas revision usually involves:
    • Courts not exercising their jurisdiction, or
    • Courts exceeding their jurisdiction.
    • Any significant inconsistency in the exercise of jurisdiction.
  • A continuation of the original proceeding is considered an appeal, whereas a revision is not considered a continuation of the original proceeding.

II. Procedural difference

  • Legal right in Appeal v. Revision – Appeal is a constitutional right whereas Revision is a discretionary power of the Court.
  • Hearing in the court – Appeal is heard in Court whereas revision is not.
  • Power of interference – Courts can interfere in appeal but not so much in revision
  • Number of procedures in Appeal and revision – Appeal only has one procedure that is, hearing of the case whereas revision is checking whether legal actions were followed or not.
  • Types of examination – Appeals examines law basics and facts whereas revision entails examination of legal actions, jurisdictions and procedure followed to get at the decision.
  • Time Limit – A party in Appeal is given 30 days to file an appeal which begins right after the decision of the lower court, but revision has a time limit of 90 days.
  • Filing – this is very important in Appeal but not so much in revision.

III. In High Courts

  • The provision of Appeal is dealt with in Chapter XXIX, Sections 372 to 394 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The provision of Revision is dealt with in Chapter XXX, Sections 397 to 402 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • The High Court accepts and decides appeals involving both legal and factual issues. In the case of a Revision, however, the High Court only decides and adjudicates on a legal question. It also has the authority to enter into factual disputes for the purposes of justice, if it deems it necessary to do so on a question of law, a question of fact, or both.
  • An Appellant has a statutory right to appeal, which he can request from the Court on a case-by-case basis, but there is no such right in the case of Revision. However, he can draw the court’s attention to the legal grounds for revision.
  • In an appeal, the High Court can turn an acquittal into a conviction and vice versa, but in a Revision, it cannot turn an acquittal into a conviction.
  • While the High Court cannot dismiss an appeal without providing the appellant or his pleader with a reasonable opportunity to be heard, the High Court is not obligated to hear the applicant or the pleader appointed on his behalf in Revision. However, there is one exception to this rule: while enhancing any sentence, the accused shall be given an opportunity to be heard as a matter of right.
  • The High Court cannot order the tender of a pardon in an appeal, but the Court of Revision can do so in the exercise of its revisionary jurisdiction.
  • The interested party must file an appeal, but the High Court may exercise its Revisional power on its own initiative.

Case laws that differentiate between Appeal and Revision

Lachhman Dass v. Santokh Singh[18] the Supreme Court held:

“….an appeal is a continuation of a suit or proceedings wherein the entire proceedings are again left open for consideration by the appellate authorities which has the power to review the entire evidence subject, of course, to the prescribed statutory limitations. But in the case of revision whatever powers the revisional authority may have, it has no power to reassess and reappreciate the evidence unless the statute expressly confers on it that power. That limitation is implicit in the concept of revision.”

State of Kerala v. K.M. Charia Abdullah & Co.[19] the Supreme Court observed that:

“When the legislature confers a right of appeal in one case and a discretionary remedy of revision in another, it must be deemed to have created two jurisdictions different in scope and content. When it introduced the familiar concepts of appeal and revision, it is also reasonable to assume that the well-known distinction between these two jurisdictions was also accepted by the legislature. There is an essential distinction between an appeal and a revision. The distinction is based on differences implicit in the said two expressions. An appeal is a continuation of the proceedings; in effect the entire proceedings are before the Appellate Authority and it has power to review the evidence subject to the statutory limitations prescribed. But in the case of a revision, whatever powers the revisional authority may or may not have, it has not the power to review the evidence unless the statute expressly confers on it that power. That limitation is implicit in the concept of revision”

Associated Cement Co. Ltd. V. Keshvanand[20]

“It appears that the learned Single Judge has equated appellate powers with revisional powers, and that the core difference between an appeal and a revision has been overlooked. It is trite legal position that appellate jurisdiction is coextensive with original court’s jurisdiction as for appraisal and appreciation and reaching findings on facts and appellate court is free to reach its own conclusion on evidence untrammelled by any finding entered by the trial court Revisional powers on the other hand belong to supervisory jurisdiction of a superior court. While exercising revisional powers the court has to com legality and propriety of the findings and also whether the subordinate court has kept itself within the bounds of its jurisdiction including the question the court has failed to exercise the jurisdiction vested in it. Though the difference between the two jurisdictions is subtle, it is quite real and has now me recognized in legal provinces”


The terms appeal and revision both refer to improving the parties’ access to justice. Each has its own set of applications and procedures.

The differences in Court proceedings are also present, despite the fact that the terms appear to be interchangeable. They are used to refer to different Court processes. An appeal is when a case is reheard due to a party’s dissatisfaction, and a high Court revision is performed to ensure that legal procedures were followed in reaching a decision.

The powers of revision and appeal granted to victims of crime are extremely relevant and important in ensuring that fair justice is administered by the Courts. It has been established that every individual has a right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

As a result, a fair trial and decision are required. Because it is possible that a particular verdict or judge may be fallible, that the verdict may be incorrect, inadequate, or even unjust, provisions for appeal and revision can help in making corrections to a previous hearing.

In such a situation, to ensure that fair trials are held and justice is meted out to crime victims, revision and appeal provisions can be used.

These powers provide victims with a fair chance to be heard and present their case again, though it should be noted that a person may continue to appeal solely for the sake of vindication. The Code has created safeguards in this area as well; an appeal will not be heard unless leave to appeal has been granted, and a revision will not be heard in all cases, even though the High Court has suo moto revision powers.

As a result, these safeguards aim to make the Criminal Procedures an infallible system of justice, ensuring that no one is wronged.


  1. Nirav Modi files appeal in UK High Court to challenge extradition to India available at: ndtv.com/india-
  2. Top Court order on Nirbhaya Convict’s Appeal over rejection of Mercy plea tomorrow available at: ndtv.com/india-news
  3. Black’s Law Dictionary 4th Ed. page. 124
  4. Akalu v. Ram Deo AIR 1973 SC 2145
  5. Black’s Law Dictionary 4th Ed. page. 1484
  6. Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab AIR 1980 SC 267
  7. Chandra Mohan Tiwari v. State of Madhya Pradesh AIR 1992 SC 891
  8. Vijaybhai Bhanabhai Patel v. Navnitbhai Nathubhai Patel (2004) 10 SCC 583
  9. Tarachand Damu v. State of Maharashtra 1962 AIR 130
  10. State of Uttar Pradesh v. Tobit AIR 1958 SC 414
  11. Jagdish vs. Bolin (2005) AIR 2005 SC 1872
  12. State v. Abhai Roy (2004) 4 SCC 6
  13. Amit Kapoor vs Ramesh Chander & Anr. (2012) 9 SCC 460
  14. State of Rajasthan vs Fatehkaran Mehdu Criminal Appeal no. 216/2017
  15. Faruk @ Gaffar vs State of Uttar Pradesh Criminal Misc. Application No. 2227223/2012
  16. S. Balasubramaninan vs The State of Tamil Nadu Crl. Revision no. 8,9/ 2009 and Crl. O.P. No. 8025/2008
  17. Alamgir v. State of Bihar AIR 1959 SC 436
  18. Lachhman Dass v. Santokh Singh (1995) 4 SCC 201
  19. State of Kerela v. K.M. Charia Abdullah & Co. (1965) 1 SCR 601
  20. Associated Cement Co. Ltd. V. Keshvanand (1998) 1 SCC 687

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