Q. Distinguish between Reference and Revision.


Chapter XXX of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with two important jurisdictions, viz., (1) reference and (2) revision.

The Reference jurisdiction can be invoked either by (a) any Court or (b) a Metropolitan Magistrate (section 395). In both cases, the reference can be made only on the validity of any Act or any provision thereof or on a question of law and must arise in the hearing of a case.

On the other hand, the High Court and the Sessions Judge can exercise the revisional jurisdiction (section 397). The record of the case is called for with a view to order further inquiry (section 398). Where the High Court exercises the jurisdiction either of itself or which otherwise comes to its knowledge, it can exercise any of the powers which are conferred on an appellate Court (section 401). The jurisdiction referred to above is the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court.

Difference between Reference and Revision

The main difference between Reference and Revision under the Code of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 are the following:-

  1. The Reference is made when a question arises in the pending case as to the validity of any Act, Ordinance, or Regulation and a determination of such question is necessary for the just decision of the case. The Session Judge or Metropolitan Magistrate only has the power to refer a case involving a question of law. On the other hand, revision lies on the point of law only.
  2. Reference is defined from Section 395-396 of the CrPC, while Revision is defined from Section 397-402 of the Code.
  3. Reference is made by the trial court to the High Court. The revision can be initiated by the trial court suo moto or the High Court. Thus, Reference lies to High Court only, but Revision lies to other Courts also.
  4. Reference lies in pending cases only. The revision begins under the final judgment, order, or decision of the court and may lie in both pending and decided cases.
  5. There is one stage in reference, while in revision, there are two stages, i.e. (i) Preliminary Examination and (ii) Reversal or Alternative Sentence or Order.