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Orissa High Court: Dr A.K. Mishra J., allowed a criminal miscellaneous appeal to quash an on-going proceeding and also a cognizance order dated 07-02-2011 passed by the Learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate on the ground of settlement reached between the parties.

In the instant case, the petitioner, husband and the opposite party 2, the wife, had settled their marital dispute and had reached a divorce. However, the Learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, on finding sufficient grounds had taken cognizance of the matter on police report under Sections 498-A (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and  406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust) of the Penal Code, 1860. The parties thereafter reached a settlement and approached the High Court under Section 482 (Saving of inherent powers of High Court) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to quash the criminal proceedings and the impugned order of the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate.

The Learned Additional Government advocate representing the opposite party 1, S. Pattnaik did not dispute the fact of settlement between the parties. The Learned advocate also brought to the High Court’s notice the joint memorandum filed in the Family Court, Srikakulam, that the wife should take necessary steps to withdraw the Criminal Case in order to maintain amity.

Counsel representing the petitioner, Samir Ku. Mishra agreed to the fact of settlement between the parties.

The High Court, felt justified to quash the criminal proceeding and the impugned judgment to prevent oppression and prejudice. The Court also placed reliance on the Supreme Court decision in Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641, and quoted “In the exercise of the power under Section 482 and while dealing with a plea that the dispute has been settled, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the offence.” The Supreme Court laid down that the serious offences under criminal cases shall be distinguished from criminal cases having an “overwhelming or predominant element of civil dispute” and in such cases, the High Court shall be able to exercise power under Section 482 CrPC.

Thus, in the present case the High Court reiterated the position and stated that noting the gravity of the offence having a civil element, the Court exercised its power under Section 482 CrPC.[Ashish Kumar Rout v. State of Orissa, 2019 SCC OnLine Ori 222, decided on 02-07-2019]