P&H HC | Compromise between parties in criminal cases can be allowed where there is no adverse impact of dispute to society

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Rajbir Sehrawat, J. quashed the FIR after the parties entered into the compromise as same was held to be done with the free consent and without any pressure.

A petition was filed under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for quashing the FIR and all consequential proceedings as parties have entered into compromise against the offence committed under Section 420 of the Penal Code, 1860.

A report was received from the Judicial Magistrate in which it had been noticed that the matter has been compromised with the intervention of respectable and friends of both the parties, compromise has been affected with their free consent and without any pressure or undue influence from any quarter.

High Court while allowing the petition discussed resolving the civil and criminal dispute by giving absolute freedom to the parties to settle their dispute by compromise with certain legal consequences. The court with regard to the compromised in criminal cases said that In criminal cases as tend to cast their effect and consequences even upon the society at large. Therefore, the law prescribes punishment, severe punishments and extreme punishments, including the death penalty for criminal acts. The criminal law provides for the compromise between the parties under Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 which permits compounding even at the appellate and revisional stage but this section relates only to the offences prescribed under the Indian Penal Code. For other offences the power lies with the High Court in order to maintain the sanctity of the procedure prescribed for a criminal trial.

Further, the Court also put forth the case of Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 in which the Supreme Court had amply clarified the legal position in recognizing the position of compromise. The court in the above mentioned case held that the High Court must consider whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest of justice to continue with the criminal proceeding or continuation of the criminal proceeding would tantamount to abuse of process of law despite settlement and compromise between the victim and wrongdoer and whether to secure the ends of justice, it is appropriate that criminal case is put to an end and if the answer to the above question(s) is in affirmative, the High Court shall be well within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceeding.”

Thus the Court held that no useful purpose would be served by keeping the proceedings alive. It will be in the interest of justice, if the settlement reached between the parties is accepted.[Harmesh Singh v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1322, decided on 29-07-2019]

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