uttaranchal high court

Uttaranchal High Court: In the present case, wherein the applicant was an accused alleged to be involved in commission of offences under Sections 354-A of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) and Sections 67(a) and 67 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 (‘IT Act’), Sharad Kumar Sharma, J.* opined that composition in itself should carry a lesson for the applicant, that in future he would not engage himself in such types of offences and he should reckon how to acknowledge the sanctity of a friendly relationship. Thus, directed the applicant to plant fifty trees as a condition to drop proceedings against him.


In the present case, the complainant had levelled an allegation that based on an acceptance of friend’s request on Facebook, the applicant had misused the same and had started sending indecent photographs and videos, which were objectionable. As a consequence of registration of the FIR, when the investigation was carried out, the offence against the applicant was prima facie, found to be true by the Investigating Officer.

Thereafter, a charge sheet was filed and summon order was issued to the applicant by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Nainital and the applicant filed the present application challenging the charge sheet and the summons under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code (‘CrPC’). The present application was accompanied with a Compounding Application

Analysis, Law and Decision

The Court interacted with the complainant, who stated that owing to the apology which had been expressed by the applicant and, which had been accepted by the complainant, she did not intend to prosecute the applicant any further for the offences, which had been complained of against him. However, the Government Advocate submitted that Section 354(A) of the IPC was not a compoundable offence under Section 320 of the CrPC, though the offence under Sections 67 and 67(A) of IT Act were compoundable under Section 77(A) of the IT Act.

The Court observed that the complainant did not intent to further prosecute the applicant as she accepted his apology and moreover, the applicant was known to her family members. The Court opined that “looking to the nature and gravity of offences and owing to the close affinity with one another, owing to their relationship which they had developed on Facebook, coupled with the fact, that the applicant was known to the family members of the complainant, in order to maintain peace and harmony amongst themselves, the Compounding Application was required to be considered by this Court in the exercise of its powers under Section 482 of the CrPC.

Further, the Court opined that composition should carry a lesson for the applicant, that in future he would not engage himself in such offences and reckon how to acknowledge the sanctity of a friendly relationship.

Thus, the Court held that the present application stands quashed. But, since the offence being not compoundable, the quashing of the criminal proceedings would be subject to the following conditions:

  1. The applicant would be planting fifty trees in an area to be identified by the Horticulture Department of his District or Taluka to which he belongs, at his own cost.

  2. The plantation of the trees would be made in the respective areas to which he belongs, under the supervision of the Horticulture Department.

  3. It was only upon the submission of the certificate of the planting of the fifty trees to be issued by the competent authority of the Horticulture Department, which had to be submitted before the competent court ceased with the criminal proceedings, it was then only the proceedings would be dropped, in compliance of the today’s order passed in the present application.

  4. If the aforesaid compliance was not made within one month from today, it would automatically result in the revival of the aforesaid criminal proceedings.

  5. If at any stage, any Officer of the Horticulture Department was found to have issued a fraudulent certificate, he would be criminally dealt with in accordance with law.

[Neeraj Kirola v. State of Uttarakhand, 2023 SCC OnLine Utt 855, decided on 19-07-2023]

*Judgement authored by- Justice Sharad Kumar Sharma

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Applicant- Advocate Dharmendra Barthwal;

For the Respondent- Advocate Paritosh Dalakoti;

For the State- Mamta Joshi, Brief holder.

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