Punjab and Haryana High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: In the case relating to the compundable offence under Section 420 of the Penal Code, 1860 and the non-compoundable offence under Section 13 of the Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act, 2012, Anoop Chitkara, J., invoking the power under Section 482 CrPC, has quashed the FIR on the ground of voluntary compromise between the parties. , During the pendency of the case, the accused and the aggrieved party compromised the matter. After making such a compromise, the petitioner approached the High Court to quash the FIR, impleading the aggrieved person as respondent. The aggrieved persons stated before the JMIC Rajpura that there will be no objection from their side if the court quashes the FIR and the consequent proceedings.

ANALYSIS:

The Court observed that,

  1. both the parties amicably settled the matter between them by making a compromise deed without any coercion, threats, bribes, etc.
  2. the aggrieved party willingly consented to the nullification of the criminal proceeding.
  3. there was no objection from the private respondent.
  4. the occurrence did not affect public peace or tranquility, moral turpitude or harm the social and moral fabric of the society.

Noting that the purpose of criminal jurisprudence is reformatory and aims at bringing peace to family, community and society, the Court was of the opinion that the exercise of the inherent powers for quashing the FIR wasj ustified to secure the ends of justice.

The Court asserted that in the facts peculiar to this case, the prosecution in the non-compoundable offences can be closed by quashing the FIR and consequent proceedings.

THence, it was observed that continuing this proceeding will not give any fruitful purpose. The bail bonds of the petitioner wereaccordingly discharged.

[Sukhwinder Kaur v. State of Punjab and Haryana, 2022 SCC OnLine P&H 1616 , decided on 04-07-2022]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Stating that, cases under Section 376 of Penal Code, 1860 should not be quashed and should not be taken as a crime against the society at large, Swarana Kanta Sharma, J., expressed that, in peculiar circumstances, where the complainant states that her future depends on quashing of the FIR and adding that the rape was not committed upon her, it would be in the interest of justice to quash the FIR.

The instant petition was filed for quashing of an FIR registered for offences punishable under Sections 376/377/498-A of Penal Code, 1860 read with Section 34 IPC.

In the present matrimonial dispute, it was noted that a charge sheet had been filed under Section 376 of the Penal Code, 1860, however, in her statement under Section 164 CrPC, the complainant had stated that only an attempt to rape had been made by her father-in-law and the charges were not yet framed by the trial Court.

The complainant gave her statement which she had given under Section 164 CrPC and on a query made by this Court, the complainant who was present in person stated that she has entered into a compromise out of her own free will and without any pressure, coercion or threat. Further, she stated that she had no objection if the FIR was quashed.

High Court expressed that,

“…any case coming to an end is a welcome step at it decreases the pendency of the Courts, more so, in matrimonial offences quashing is welcome as it shows that parties have decided to put an end to the lis as well as to the misery they undergo due to a matrimonial case pending between them.”

Further, the Bench added that, the fact that now-as-days Sections 376 and 354 of the Penal Code, 1860 are being used along with Section 498-A IPC, which later are compromised and are brought to this Court for quashing, needs to be curbed.

The Court appreciated the stand taken by the complainant and her wish to move in life as her future depended on the settlement of the matrimonial dispute and quashing of the present FIR. In case the FIR is not quashed in this case, the entire settlement between the parties will come to an end.

Lastly, the High Court held that “Court wishes that the compromise would have taken place much earlier, however, through this order let a message be sent to the society at large that compromise is the best way possible to settle disputes and the sooner the better.”

Therefore, the FIR was quashed. [Arshad Ahmad v. State NCT of Delhi, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 1736, decided on 2-6-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the petitioners:

Mr Arun Bhardwaj, Senior Advocate with Mr Abhishek Sharma and Mr Rahul Sharma, Advocates.

For the respondents:

Mr Ranbir S. Kundu, ASC for State with Mr Mukul Dagar, Ms Pooja and Mr Agniwesh Singh, Advocates along with SI Jyoti Phogal, PS Mehrauli.

Mr Hilal Haider and Mr Butul Khan, Advocates for R-2 with complainant in person.

Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: M Nagaprasanna, J., quashed the proceedings against the petitioners in Crime No.87 of 2022 of Byadarahalli Police Station pending before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bangalore Rural District, Bangalore.

The facts are that the respondent 2 is the complainant who filed made an FIR for the offence punishable under Section 376 of Penal Code, 1860 i.e. IPC against the petitioner 1/accused 1 and other offences. During the pendency of these proceedings, the parties to the lis entered into a settlement and have produced such settlement by way of an affidavit before the Court. A joint memo and an application under Section 483 read with Section 320 of Criminal Procedure Code i.e. CrPC were also filed before the Court seeking to compound the offences alleged.

Counsel for petitioners Mr Mohan Kumar D submitted that due to settlement arrived at between the parties, even in case of offence punishable under Section 376 IPC, the proceedings can be terminated.

Counsel for respondents Mr K S Abhijith and Raghavendra Gowda K. objects to quashing of proceedings against the petitioners on the ground of settlement arrived at between the parties since the offence punishable is one under Section 376 of IPC.

The Court relied on judgments as follows:

  1. The Karnataka High Court in V Prabhu v. State of Karnataka, Crl. P. No. 8754 of 2021 decided on 19-01-2022 it was observed “The allegation against the petitioner is that he had sexual intercourse with the respondent No.2 under the pretext of marrying her, therefore the complaint came to be filed. Subsequently, both decided to resile from each other and compounded the offence, therefore both of them filed joint application for closing the matter. In view of the submission of both the parties having compounded the offence and in view of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Gian Singh Vs. State of Punjab , (2012) 10 SCC 303 wherein it is laid down where the parties have settled the dispute between them and the same is not affected to the public, the Court can quash the proceedings.”
  2. The Karnataka High Court in H S Chandan v State of Karnataka, Criminal Petition No. 1111 of 2022 c/w Criminal Petition 1116 of 2022 decided on 15-02-2022 it was observed “9. Therefore, in view of the settlement between the parties, the compromise filed by both the parties in both the case are accepted and permitted to compound their offences.”
  3. The Delhi High Court in Lalit Kumar Vats v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 1956 of Delhi quashed the proceedings in an allegation pertaining to Section 376 of IPC.

The Court noted that in the light of facts of the case, judgments rendered by the Supreme Court, this Court and that of Delhi High Court the complainant is said to have married and is leading her life with another man within the family itself and the accused being members of the same family, thus the Court held “I deem it appropriate to accept the application seeking compounding of offences aforesaid and terminate the proceedings against the petitioners.” [Sathish K v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 899, decided on 23-05-2022]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Expressing that, attempts to circumvent or undermine judicial decisions need to be viewed seriously in order to ensure that the functioning of our country is unhindered, especially during turbulent times, Subramonium Prasad, J., held that,

“It is only the rule of law which not only cements the civilised functioning of a country, but also drives a country towards progress and development.”

The instant contempt petition had been filed for initiating contempt proceedings against respondent 1 for violating the undertaking given to the Court.

In a suit for possession, permanent injunction and for mesne profit/damages was filed against the respondent by Badri Prakash Soni, who was the father of the petitioner and respondent 1.

The parties who were related to each other entered into a compromise and under the said compromise, the respondents Munish Soni and Piyush Soni agreed to hand over the ground floor of the premises to the petitioner.

Apart from the above said, the defendants were made to pay a sum of Rs 1 Crore under the said compromise.

After a relinquishment deed was executed by Vikas Soni in favour of the petitioner, the petitioner got the premises in question converted into freehold by paying conversion charges to DDA and a conveyance deed was registered in favour of the petitioner by the DDA.

The present contempt petition was filed as the respondents did not vacate the premises.

Analysis, Law and Decision


Supreme Court has repeatedly held that all decrees and orders are executable under the CPC, including consent decrees and orders, but merely because an order or decree is executable, it would not take away the jurisdiction of the Court to deal with the matter under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

In the instant matter, the respondents had given an undertaking that they would positively hand over the physical vacant possession of the ground floor of the property, but they did not do so.

High Court was concerned with upholding the majesty of the law and the undertaking given to this Court to vacate the ground floor of the premises.

“The underlying purpose of the law of contempt is meant to serve public interest and build confidence in the judicial process. This flows from how the functioning of a democratic society is sustained by the rule of law and wilful violation of the same would enable anarchy.”

In the Supreme Court’s decision of Vinay Chandra, In Re., (1995) 2 SCC 584, Court had delineated the purpose of the law of contempt in building confidence in the judicial process.

Elaborating further, the High Court added that the process of due course of administration of justice must remain unimpaired. Adding to this, the Bench stated that,

“…it is the duty of the Court to take a strict view when there is non-compliance of an Order of the Courts, and Courts should not hesitate in wielding the sword of contempt when grappling with a situation pertaining to wilful disobedience.”

Court did not appreciate the defences raised by the respondents to subvert the authority of the Courts.

Therefore, the respondents were guilty of the contempt of Court. [Navin Soni v. Munish Soni, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 1161, decided on 26-4-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner:

Mr. Vikas Arora, Ms. Radhika Arora, Mr. Mohit Dagar and Mr. Siddharth  Singh, Mr. Ayush Kumar, Advocates

For the Respondents:

Mr. Varinder Kumar Sharma, Mr. Akshay Soni, Advocates

Gauhati High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: Arun Dev Choudhury, J., held that sexual offences against minor cannot be compromised by parents.

An FIR was lodged by father of the victim girl alleging that while his minor daughter was on her way home, the petitioner dragged the minor to an isolated place, attempted to molest and murder her. Consequently, a case was registered against the petitioner under Section 354A(2)/307 read with Section 18 of the POCSO Act.

When the matter was pending before the Trial Court, the family of the informant and the petitioner’s family decided to compromise so as to put to an end to the matter. On the basis of such compromise, the petitioner had approached the court for quashing the entire criminal proceeding as well as the FIR contending that since the parties had compromised the matter, it would be a futile exercise to continue with the trial.

The Bench observed that the law is by now well settled that courts can compound cases in exercise of its power under Section 320 of the CrPC and even in the cases of non-compoundable offences the High Court in exercise of its power under Section 482 CrPC can quash criminal proceeding when disputes are amicably settled and the victim is having no objection to such compromise. However, offences involving moral turpitude and grave offences like rape, murder etc. even if compromised cannot be quashed in exercise of power under Section 482 CrPC inasmuch as such offences are against the State and cannot be restricted to two individuals or groups.

Considering the above, the Bench opined that the offences alleged were grave in nature involving minor victim alleging attempt of rape, therefore such allegation and criminal proceeding could not be quashed on the basis of a compromise entered into between the families of the victim and accused inasmuch when it was a sexual offence involving a minor, the parents, opined the Bench, could not give consent on behalf of the minor to compromise such serious offences.[Limhathung v. State of Nagaland; Cr. Rev. No. 5 of 2021, decided on 24-03-2022]


Appearance by:

For the Petitioner: N Mozhui, K Kire, N Rupreo, and P. Mere, Advocates

For the Respondents: K Angami, PP


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this bief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Meghalaya High Court: H.S. Thangkhiew, J. while hearing a revision application allowed the same and directed the lower court to deal with the entire process expeditiously immediately on receipt of the application under Section 151 read with Order 20 Rule 6-A CPC.

The revision application under Article 227 of the Constitution was filed to seek the supervisory jurisdiction of the Court to quash and set aside order dated 18-02-2020, passed by the Court of the Assistant to Deputy Commissioner, Ri Bhoi District, Nongpoh, in Execution Case 01 of 2019. Title Suit 4 of 2016 was instituted by the petitioners as plaintiffs before the Court of the Assistant to Deputy Commissioner in the course of proceedings resulted in a compromise.

Petitioners approached the Lower Court for execution of the compromise deed dated 04-07-2016, vide Execution Case 1 of 2019.

Counsel for the petitioner,  submitted that after the compromise had been arrived at, settling the disputes raised in the Title Suit, the same was reduced to writing, and was jointly presented before the Lower Court on 04-07-2016.

Petitioners submitted that comprise arrived in settling the disputes raised in the Title Suit and the same was reduced to praying for judgment decree and order to be passed by the Court based on the mutual settlement. Court examined the parties, and disposed of the suit by allowing and accepting the settlement arrived at 04-07-2016, but no formal decree was drawn up.

Respondents filed 2 objections on 24-09-2019 and 28-11-2019 on the same premise. Lower Court took up for consideration and disposed of the entire execution case by the impugned order dated 18-02-2020 by holding that there was no decree and that the party were to resolve their own disputes. Petitioners on examination of the records, pointed for consideration before the Court. It was with the correctness of the impugned order which had rejected the application for execution filed under Order 21 Rule 15 of the CPC by the petitioner/plaintiff.

Court drew no decree and the petitioner was required to file an application under Section 151 read with Order 20 Rule 6-A CPC, before the lower Court for drawing the decree in accordance with the order dated 04-07-2016. Consequently, the impugned order dated 18-02-2020 was set aside and quashed. The Court opined that the entire process should be dealt expeditiously by the lower court immediately on receipt of the application under Section 151 read with Order 20 Rule 6-A CPC which shall be filed by the petitioner within a period of 4 weeks.[Delican Shadap v. Dal Nongtri, 2022 SCC OnLine Megh 33, decided on 03-03-2022]


For the Petitioner/Appellant(s) : Mr S.R. Lyngdoh

For the Respondent(s) : None


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Sikkim High Court: Bhaskar Raj Pradhan, J. allowed the compromise to bury the difference between parties and gives them their lives as good citizens.

The petition had been filed by twelve petitioners seeking the annulment of FIR No. 237/2018 dated 09-12-2018 registered under Sections 341, 147, 149, 324, 326 of the Penal Code, 1860 (IPC)  under Section 482 of CrPC. It was alleged that while returning home from “After Dark” located at hospital dara Gangtok they were brutally attacked by more than 10 people with stones and bottles at zero point Gangtok due to which they suffered bruises all over the face and body and stitches in the head. The FIR led to filing of charge sheet against the petitioners, Pravesh Lamichaney and Sanjay Biswakarma. CJM framed charges under Sections 142, 143, 324 and 326 read with 149 IPC. It was transpired that the petitioners entered upon a deed of compromise dated 23-03-2021. Due to the intervention of family, friends and relatives they have settled their disputes amicably and the complainants did not desire to pursue the matter further against the accused persons.

The law regarding the power of the High Court in quashing FIRs on settlement arrived at between the parties under section 482 of the CrPC. The alleged offences were committed by the accused persons are all non-compoundable but none a heinous offence. The evidences indicated that the injuries caused on the complainants were simple injuries except in the case of one whose little finger was fractured due to the alleged assault. There was nothing to indicate that the compromise deed entered between the complainant and the accused persons was compromised.

The State-respondent did not bring any record to indicate otherwise. The initial verbal spat was between one of the complainants and one of the accused persons who were known to each other from before. What transpired thereafter seems to be the fall out of the unresolved differences between the two of them which ultimately dragged other friends now grouped together and taking sides. The manner in which the accused persons sought to resolve their dispute with the complainants was wanting and unbecoming of good citizens.

The nature of injury sustained does not exhibit mental depravity. The quashing would override public interest.

The complainants as well as the accused persons on their own volition have buried their differences and wish to accord a quietus to their disputes. Court opined that the quashing of the criminal proceedings may advance peace, harmony, and fellowship amongst them.

Discretion would be better exercise in allowing the compromise to bury the difference between them. This would allow the accused persons and the complainants to get on with their lives as good citizens. Court hereby quashed the FIR as well as G.R. Case No. 174 of 2019.[Rinchen Tamang v. State of Sikkim, 2022 SCC OnLine Sikk 7, decided on 23-02-2022]


Ms Rachhitta Rai, Advocate for the Petitioners.

Mr Yadev Sharma, Additional Public Prosecutor and Mr Sujan Sunwar, Assistant Public Prosecutor for the State-Respondent.


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Division Bench of M.R. Shah* and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ., held that an independent suit questioning the Compromise Decree would not be maintainable. The Bench observed that a mere clever drafting would not permit the plaintiff to make the suit maintainable which otherwise would not be maintainable and/or barred by law.

Factual Background

Brief facts of the case were such that the suit schedule property was gifted to the respondent 1–original plaintiff during his minority by his paternal grandmother, respondent 2 vide registered Gift Deed dated 13-02-2003, however the deed was revoked on 10-12-2004 and thereafter a registered Development Agreement-cum- General Power of Attorney dated 18-01-2008 came to be executed between the grandmother and the appellant–M/s. Sree Surya Developers and Promoters. Under the said Development Agreement, the grandmother was entitled to 35,000 sq. ft. of fixed saleable super built-up area along with proportionate number of car parking spaces and undivided share in the land.

The father of the respondent 1 filed a suit as the next friend of then minor respondent 1 seeking for declaration that revocation of Gift Deed as being illegal and not binding on the plaintiff therein and also for perpetual injunction. Subsequently, a compromise was arrived at between the parties vide Compromise Deed Dated 30-12-2015 under which it was agreed that the respondent 1 would be entitled to entire 35,000 sq. ft. of the constructed area and the Developer would be entitled to assign the development rights accrued to it under the said Development Agreement to the third parties. Thereafter the appellant–Developer assigned its development rights to respondent 4 and on the basis of the same, the respondent 4 had started developing the subject property.

On attaining the age of majority, the respondent 1 filed a suit before the Trial Court praying inter alia declaration of right, title and interest over the suit schedule property and declaration of Compromise Decree. He also prayed the revocation of deed as null and void.

Findings of the Courts below

The Trial Court rejected the plaint on the ground that in view of Order XIII Rule 3A CPC, no independent suit would be maintainable against the Compromise Decree. In appeal, the High Court had quashed and set aside the order passed by the Trial Court and has remanded the matter to the Trial Court by observing that the effect of the provisions of Order XXXII Rules 1 to 7 CPC had not been considered by the Trial court, which would have a direct bearing on the validity of the Compromise Decree.

Analysis and Observations

The Bench observed that the High Court had not at all dealt with and considered the provisions of Order XXIII Rule 3A CPC and had not considered whether in fact the suit challenging the Compromise Decree and/or for the reliefs sought in the suit would be maintainable or not. The Bench opined,

“What was required to be considered by the High Court was whether the independent suit questioning the Compromise Decree would be maintainable or not. The aforesaid crucial aspect had not been dealt with by the High Court at all and High Court had gone into the validity of the Compromise Decree in view of Order XXXII Rule 7 CPC.”

The Bench held that the plaint in exercise of powers under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC to challenge the Compromise Decree would be barred under Order XXIII Rule 3A of CPC and the party to a consent decree based on a compromise has to approach the same court, which recorded the compromise to challenge a decree based on compromise.

Rejecting the argument of the respondent that he had not specifically prayed for setting aside the Compromise Decree and what was prayed was to declare that the Compromise Decree was not binding on him and that for the other reliefs sought, the suit would not be barred, the Bench held that a mere clever drafting would not permit the plaintiff to make the suit maintainable which otherwise would not be maintainable and/or barred by law. The Bench remarked,

If we consider the reliefs of declaration of title, recovery of possession, cancellation of revocation of Gift Deed, declaration for DGPA and Deed of Assignment-cum-DGPA, the said reliefs can be granted only if the Compromise Decree is set aside.

Conclusion

In the light of the above, the Bench concluded that the High Court had erred in setting aside the order of the Trial Court. Accordingly, the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court was set aside and quashed and the order of the Trial Court was restored.

[Sree Surya Developers and v. N. Sailesh Prasad, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 165, decided on 09-02-2022]


*Judgment by: Justice M.R. Shah


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

 

 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of MR Shah* and BV Nagarathna, JJ has held that a consent decree cannot be modified/ altered unless the mistake is a patent or obvious mistake.

The Court said that if held otherwise, there is a danger of every consent decree being sought to be altered on the ground of mistake/ misunderstanding by a party to the consent decree.

Factual Background

The Case pertains to ORPAT and CASIO scientific/Electronic calculators.

  • According to the Plaintiff, the Defendant lifted each and every novel element of the original design, shape and configuration for its scientific/ electronic calculator ‘ORPAT FX-991ES PLUS’.
  • The Respondent applied for a design registration for its electronic calculator namely ‘CASIO FX991ES PLUS’ and it was introduced in India in October, 2011. Having knowledge about the sale of the scientific calculator by the Appellant under the name ‘ORPAT FX- 991ES PLUS’, the Respondent filed a civil suit.
  • The High Court of Delhi passed an ex-parte ad-interim order of stay on 28.11.2018.
  • Thereafter, the parties were referred to mediation by the High Court of Delhi on 18.12.2018.
  • After a detailed correspondence and exchange of e-mails between the counsel appearing for the parties, a settlement was arrived at vide a Settlement Agreement dated 16.05.2019.
  • The High Court decreed the suit on 03.07.2019 in terms of the Settlement Agreement.
  • Subsequently, an Application was filed by the Appellant under Sections 152 and 153 read with Section 151 of the CPC for correction/ rectification/ amendment of the judgment dated 03.07.2019. The Appellant stated in the said Application that the Settlement Agreement pertains only to trademark “FX-991ES PLUS’/ ‘FX-991”. However, there was an inadvertent typographical error of the trademark in the Settlement Agreement as “FX-991ES PLUS/ FX/ 991”.
  • The High Court dismissed the said application.

Analysis

The Court explained that a judgment by consent is intended to stop litigation between the parties just as much as a judgment resulting from a decision of the Court at the end of a long drawnout fight. A compromise decree creates an estoppel by judgment. However, a consent decree would not serve as an estoppel, where the compromise was vitiated by fraud, misrepresentation, or mistake. The Court in exercise of its inherent power may rectify the consent decree to ensure that it is free from clerical or arithmetical errors so as to bring it in conformity with the terms of the compromise. Undoubtedly, the Court can entertain an Application under Section 151 of the CPC for alterations/ modification of the consent decree if the same is vitiated by fraud, misrepresentation, or misunderstanding. But a consent decree cannot be modified/ altered unless the mistake is a patent or obvious mistake.

In the present case, the Court observed that the misunderstanding as projected by the Appellant between parties relates to use of “FX” or “991” as separate marks in the Settlement Agreement. The understanding between the parties was with respect to “FX-991ES PLUS” as a whole and not with reference to “FX”. A close scrutiny of the correspondence between the parties showed that the Settlement Agreement was arrived at after detailed consultation and deliberations. Thereafter, the parties were communicating with each other and they took six months to arrive at a settlement. The final Settlement Agreement was approved by the mediator.

The High Court applied its mind and passed a decree in terms of the Settlement Agreement dated 16.05.2019.

There is no allegation either of fraud or misrepresentation on the part of the Respondent. The Court disagreed with the Appellant that there was a mistake committed while entering into a settlement agreement due to misunderstanding.

“Correspondence between the advocates for the parties who are experts in law would show that there is no ambiguity or lack of clarity giving rise to any misunderstanding. Even assuming there is a mistake, a consent decree cannot be modified/ altered unless the mistake is a patent or obvious mistake. Or else, there is a danger of every consent decree being sought to be altered on the ground of mistake/ misunderstanding by a party to the consent decree.”

[Ajanta LLP v. Casio Keisanki Kabushiki Kaisha d/b/a Casio Computer Co. Ltd, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 148, decided on 04.02.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice MR Shah


Counsels

For appellant: Senior Advocate K.V. Viswanathan

For respondents: Senior Advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Mr. Chander Lal

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Stating that, Rape is an act against society, Rajnish Bhatnagar, J., held that simply entering into a compromise allegation of rape will not lose its gravity.

The instant petition was filed by the petitioner under Article 226 of the Constitution of India read with Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for quashing and cancelling the FIR under Sections 376, 323 and 506 of Penal Code, 1860.

Information was received from PCR wherein it was reported that Complainant was not telling anything about the complaint but was asking for urgent police assistance and on reaching the place of the incident she said that she had a scuffle with her male friend (petitioner herein) who tried to assault her.

Complainant later disclosed the act of sexual assault having been committed upon her by the accused (petitioner herein) in his ICD Patparganj Office when she had gone to talk to him regarding their marriage.

Petitioner was a customs officer and met the complainant through the website Jeevansathi.com. He concealed the fact regarding his first love marriage and that his first wife committed suicide for which case was going on this Court.

After a few meetings and conversations, the complainant asked him to proceed with marriage talks, he called her to Faridabad and took the complainant to Vivanta by Taj Hotel and that night petitioner/accused raped her against her will.

Petitioner/accused also told the complainant that he would marry her in Arya Samaj Mandir, but later on, he made excuses that the mandir was closed and also told her to return to Ayodhaya. Later, he stopped picking her phone calls.

In March 2021, petitioner/accused reached Bhopal and put vermilion on the complainant and said that now they were husband and wife, but he did not let her meet his family. Further, in April, petitioner/accused raped her in a car. Complainant again lodged a complaint against petitioner/accused in NCW which finally reached Mahila Thana, Faridabad. In June, petitioner/accused came to that police station and again he made a promise to marry the complainant and accordingly she withdrew her complaint.

Again after a few days, the petitioner/accused molested the complainant and started fingering inside her private parts forcible after which the complainant lodged a PCR call but the petitioner/accused gave threats of dire consequences and ran away from the spot.

In view of the above, FIR was registered, and an investigation went underway.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court noted that the petitioner was a Government Servant, working as Superintendent with Customs & CGST Department, Govt. of India, holding a Gazetted post. Being a Government Servant was expected to maintain high moral rectitude and a decent standard of conduct in his personal/private life and not bring discredit to his service by his misdemeanours.

The charges of rape are of grave concern and cannot be treated in a casual manner.

The Bench observed that whether the High Courts, while exercising its jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC should quash an offence under Section 376 IPC came for consideration before the Supreme Court in a number of cases.

Supreme Court has, time and again, directed that the High Court should not exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C to quash an offence of rape on the ground that the parties have entered a compromise.

 Catena of decisions were referred, such as:

In the present matter, the parties compromised amicably and respondent 2 filed an affidavit stating that she and the petitioner married each other and that she had no objection if the present FIR was quashed as she did not wish to pursue any proceedings.

“…by simply entering into a compromise, charges cannot be said to have been mitigated or that the allegations leveled by the respondent 2 regarding the alleged offence lost its gravity by any means. Act of rape is not an act against individual, but this is an offence against the society.”

In view of the legal position enumerated in Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 along with other cases referred above, the criminal proceedings from FIR registered with allegations of rape cannot be quashed in exercise of powers vested in this Court under Section 482 CrPC on the basis of settlement and subsequent marriage as it would not waive off the offence alleged by the complainant.

Therefore, petition was dismissed. [Swatantara Kumar Jaysawal v. State, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 30, decided on 3-1-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner:

Mr. Manoj Chaudhary and Mr. Sachin Anand, Adv.

Petitioner in person.

For the Respondents:

Mr Rajesh Mahajan, ASC with Ms Jyoti Babbar, Adv.

Mr Lalit Valecha, Adv. for R-2

R-2 in person.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a bid to curb the worrying trend of parallel proceedings for complaints under Section 138 of the NI Act, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud*, Vikram Natha and BV Nagarathna, JJ has held that a complainant cannot pursue two parallel prosecutions for the same underlying transaction.

“Once a settlement agreement has been entered into by the parties, the proceedings in the original complaint cannot be sustained and a fresh cause of action accrues to the complainant under the terms of the settlement deed.”

What led to the decision?

In the case at hand, a set of cheques were dishonoured, leading to filing of the first complaint under Section 138 of the NI Act. The parties thereafter entered into a deed of compromise to settle the matter. While the first complaint was pending, the cheques issued pursuant to the compromise deed were dishonoured leading to the second complaint under Section 138 of the NI Act. Both proceedings were pending simultaneously and hence, the issue before the Supreme Court was to decide whether the complainant can be allowed to pursue both the cases or whether one of them must be quashed and the consequences resulting from such quashing.

Analysis

Ingredients of the offence under Section 138

(1) drawing of the cheque,

(2) presentation of the cheque to the bank,

(3) returning the cheque unpaid by the drawee bank,

(4) giving notice in writing to the drawer of the cheque demanding payment of the cheque amount,

 (5) failure of the drawer to make payment within 15 days of the receipt of the notice.

Remedies under Section 138 of the NI Act

The effect of an offence under Section 138 of the NI Act is limited to two private parties involved in a commercial transaction. However, the intent of the legislature in providing a criminal sanction for dishonour of cheques is to ensure the credibility of transactions involving negotiable instruments.

Given that the primary purpose of Section 138 of the NI Act is to ensure compensation to the complainant, the NI Act also allows for parties to enter into a compromise, both during the pendency of the complaint and even after the conviction of the accused.

Worrying trend of parallel proceedings for complaints under Section 138 of the NI Act

“The pendency of court proceedings under Section 138 of the NI Act and the multiplicity of complaints in which a cause of action arising from one transaction is litigated has dampened the ease of doing business in India, impacted business sentiments and hindered investments from investors.”

The Court noticed that the introduction of a criminal remedy has given rise to a worrying trend where cases under Section 138 of the NI Act are disproportionately burdening the criminal justice system

Hence, under the shadow of Section 138 of the NI Act, parties are encouraged to settle the dispute resulting in ultimate closure of the case rather than continuing with a protracted litigation before the court. This is beneficial for the complainant as it results in early recovery of money; alteration of the terms of the contract for higher compensation and avoidance of litigation. Equally, the accused is benefitted as it leads to avoidance of a conviction and sentence or payment of a fine. It also leads to unburdening of the judicial system, which has a huge pendency of complaints filed under Section 138 of the NI Act.

Whether once the settlement has been entered into, the complainant can be allowed to pursue the original complaint under Section 138 of the NI Act?

Holding that a complainant cannot pursue two parallel prosecutions for the same underlying transaction, the Court said that allowing the complainant to pursue parallel proceedings, one resulting from the original complaint and the second emanating from the terms of the settlement would make the settlement and issuance of fresh cheques or any other partial payment made towards the original liability meaningless.

The Court explained that a contrary interpretation, which allows for the complainant to pursue both the original complaint and the consequences arising out of the settlement agreement, would lead to contradictory results.

First, it would allow for the accused to be prosecuted and undergo trial for two different complaints, which in its essence arise out of one underlying legal liability.

Second, the accused would then face criminal liability for not just the violation of the original agreement of the transaction which had resulted in issuance of the first set of cheques, but also the cheques issued pursuant to the compromise deed.

Third, instead of reducing litigation and ensuring faster recovery of money, it would increase the burden of the criminal justice system where judicial time is being spent on adjudicating an offence which is essentially in the nature of a civil wrong affecting private parties.

A complainant enters into a settlement with open eyes and undertakes the risk of the accused failing to honour the cheques issued pursuant to the settlement, based on certain benefits that the settlement agreement postulates. The benefits may include – higher compensation, faster recovery of money, uncertainty of trial and strength of the complaint, among others.

Hence,

“Once parties have voluntarily entered into such an agreement and agree to abide by the consequences of non-compliance of the settlement agreement, they cannot be allowed to reverse the effects of the agreement by pursuing both the original complaint and the subsequent complaint arising from such non-compliance. The settlement agreement subsumes the original complaint.”

The Court, hence, held that non-compliance of the terms of the settlement agreement or dishonour of cheques issued subsequent to it, would then give rise to a fresh cause of action attracting liability under Section 138 of the NI Act and other remedies under civil law and criminal law.

[Gimpex Private Limited v. Manoj Goel, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 925, decided on 08.10.2021]

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Counsels:
For appellant: Senior Advocate V Giri and Advocate Liz Mathew

For respondent: Senior Advocate Jayant Bhushan


*Judgment by: Justice Dr. DY Chandrachud

Know Thy Judge| Justice Dr. DY Chandrachud

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a case where the members of the Lok Adalat, Madhya Pradesh High Court had entered into the merits of the writ petition and had dismissed it on merits, the bench of MR Shah* and AS Bopanna, JJ has set aside the order and has held that it was not open for the members of the Lok Adalat to enter into the merits of the writ petition and to dismiss the same on merits, in absence of any settlement arrived at between the parties.

Relevant provisions under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 explained

As per sub-section (5) of Section 19, a Lok Adalat shall have jurisdiction to determine and to arrive at a compromise or a settlement between the parties to a dispute in respect of

  • any case pending before; or
  • any matter which is falling within the jurisdiction of, and is not brought before, any court for which the Lok Adalat is organised.

As per sub-section (1) of Section 20 where in any case referred to in clause (i) of sub-section (5) of Section 19- (i) (a) the parties thereof agree; or (i) (b) one of the parties thereof makes an application to the court, for referring the case to the Lok Adalat for settlement and if such court is prima facie satisfied that there are chances of such settlement or (ii) the court is satisfied that the matter is an appropriate one to be taken cognizance of by the Lok Adalat, the court shall refer the case to the Lok Adalat.

It further provides that no case shall be referred to the Lok Adalat under sub-clause (b) of clause (i) or clause (ii) by such court except after giving a reasonable opportunity of being heard to the parties.

As per sub-section (3) of Section 20 where any case is referred to a Lok Adalat under sub-section (1) or where a reference is made to it under sub-section (2), the Lok Adalat shall proceed to dispose of the case or matter and arrive at a compromise or settlement between the parties. Sub-section (5) of Section 20 further provides that where no award is made by the Lok Adalat on the ground that no compromise or settlement could be arrived at between the parties, the record of the case shall be returned by it to the court, from which the reference has been received under sub-section (1) for disposal in accordance with law.

Analysis of the provisions

The provisions make clear that,

  • the jurisdiction of the Lok Adalat would be to determine and to arrive at a compromise or a settlement between the parties to a dispute and once the aforesaid settlement / compromise fails and no compromise or settlement could be arrived at between the parties,
  • the Lok Adalat has to return the case to the Court from which the reference has been received for disposal in accordance with law and in any case,
  • the Lok Adalat has no jurisdiction at all to decide the matter on meris once it is found that compromise or settlement could not be arrived at between the parties

Conclusion

The impugned order passed by the Lok Adalat dismissing the writ petition on merits was found to be unsustainable and deserves to be quashed and set aside.

In the present case, the consent to place the matter before the Lok Adalat was to arrive at a settlement and or a compromise between the parties and not for placing the matter before the Lok Adalat for deciding the matter on merits.

“Once there is no compromise and/or a settlement between the parties before the Lok Adalat, as provided in sub-section (5) of Section 20, the matter has to be returned to the Court from where the matter was referred to Lok Adalat for deciding the matter on merits by the concerned court.”

[Estate Officer v. Colonel H.V. Mankotia, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 898, decided on 07.10.2021]
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Counsels:

For appellant: Vikramjit Banerjee, ASG


*Judgment by: Justice MR Shah

Know Thy Judge | Justice M. R. Shah

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a case where a compromise was reached between parties, 28 years after an incident left the victim crippled for life, the bench of Ajay Rastogi* and Abhay S. Oka, JJ held that compromise cannot be taken to be a solitary basis for mitigating the sentence until the other aggravating and mitigating factors also support and are favourable to the accused for molding the sentence which always has to be examined in the facts and circumstances of the case on hand.

What was the case about?

On 13th December 1993, the injured victim was brutally attacked with stones, sword, Satur, etc., by the appellant, leaving him severely injured so much so that when he was taken to the hospital, his dying declaration was recorded as according to the treating Doctor, in the absence of immediate medical treatment, his death was certain. The incident led to the amputation of the leg and the arm of the victim and left him crippled for life.

The appellant was convicted under Section 326 IPC and was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 5 years and to pay under Section 357 CrPC of Rs. 2 lakhs as a monetary compensation to the victim.

A compromise was entered between the appellant and the injured victim on 13th July, 2021 and it was argued that,

“the relations of the families are very cordial and they are now closely related having matrimonial relations with each other’s family and the incident has occurred due to misunderstanding and on the spur of the moment and submitted that the parties have jointly prayed, in the interest of peace and harmony between both the families and as requested by the complainant to compound the offence and in the interest of justice, he may be released on the sentence undergone.”

What did the Supreme Court say?

Explaining the law on compromise, the Court said that the compromise if entered at the later stage of the incident or even after conviction can indeed be one of the factor in interfering the sentence awarded to commensurate with the nature of offence being committed to avoid bitterness in the families of the accused and the victim and it will always be better to restore their relation, if possible, but

“… the compromise cannot be taken to be a solitary basis until the other aggravating and mitigating factors also support and are favourable to the accused for molding the sentence which always has to be examined in the facts and circumstances of the case on hand.”

Further, giving punishment to the wrongdoer is the heart of the criminal delivery system, but there are no legislative or judicially laid down guidelines to assess the trial Court in meeting out the just punishment to the accused facing trial before it after he is held guilty of the charges. However, the Court takes into account a combination of different factors while exercising discretion in sentencing, that is proportionality, deterrence, rehabilitation, etc.

The Court, in the present case, was not able to record its satisfaction in reference to the kind of compromise which was obtained and placed on record after 28 years of the incident. It said that,

“… this Court cannot be oblivious of the sufferings which the victim has suffered for such a long time and being crippled for life and the leg and arm of the victim are amputated in the alleged incident dated 13th December, 1993 and since then he has been fighting for life and is pursuing his daily chores with a prosthetic arm and leg and has lost his vital organs of his body and became permanently disabled and such act of the appellant is unpardonable.”

The Court, hence, refused to give any benefit of the alleged compromise and held,

“… such a brutality cannot be ignored which is not against the individual but the crime is against the society which has to be dealt with sternly.”

[Bhagwan Narayan Gaikwad v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 748, decided on 20.09.2021]

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Counsels:

For appellant: Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani

For State: Advocate Sachin Patil


*Judgment by: Justice Ajay Rastogi

Know Thy Judge | Justice Ajay Rastogi

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Emphasizing on the gravity of seriousness of Section 307 Penal Code, 1860, Subramonium Prasad, J., observed that,

“…an offence under Section 307 IPC will fall under the category of heinous offence, and therefore, has to be treated as a crime against the society and not against the individual alone and the proceedings under Section 307 IPC cannot be quashed only on the ground that the parties have resolved the entire disputes amongst themselves.”

Present matter was in the Court for quashing an FIR registered for offences under Section 307/34 of Penal Code, 1860.

Factual Matrix

It was stated that victim was assaulted by some unknown persons and the nature of injuries was opined to be serious, for further treatment he was shifted to RML Hospital.

Since the victim was unfit for treatment, his father gave a statement wherein he stated that Hannan and petitioner were quarrelling with his son. They both were holding the victim and then stabbed him. After stabbing, they escaped from the spot.

On father’s statement, the FIR was registered for offences under Sections 307/34 IPC.

Hannan was declared as a Proclaimed Offender.

Further, the charge sheet was filed and enough material against the accused was there to proceed against him under the above-stated Sections.

Later the parties entered into a compromise and as per the compromise deed accused was to pay a sum of Rs 3,00,000 as compensation/medical charges. Accused had paid Rs 1,00,000 at the time of settlement and remaining amount would be paid at the time of quashing the FIR.

Crux

Quashing of criminal proceedings for offences under Section 307 IPC on the ground that parties had entered into a settlement.

It was noted that Supreme Court had a conflict of opinion with regard to whether an offence under Section 307 IPC could be quashed by the High Court while exercising power under Section 482 CrPC.

In the decision of State of Rajasthan v. Shambhu Kewat, (2104) 4 SCC 149, it was held that an offence under Section 307 IPC is a serious offence and ordinarily should not be quashed by the High Court while exercising its powers under Section 482 CrPC on the ground that the parties have settled their disputes.

Further, Supreme Court in the decision of Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab, (2014) 6 SCC 466 had quashed the proceedings under Section 307 IPC after noting the judgment in State of Rajasthan v. Shambhu Kewat, (2104) 4 SCC 149.

In view of the conflict of opinion in the above two decisions, matter was referred to a larger bench of Supreme Court in State of M.P. v. Laxmi Narayan, (2019) 5 SCC 688, wherein it was observed that,

“…It would be open to the High Court to examine as to whether incorporation of Section 307 IPC is there for the sake of it or the prosecution has collected sufficient evidence, which if proved, would lead to framing the charge under Section 307 IPC. For this purpose, it would be open to the High Court to go by the nature of injury sustained, whether such injury is inflicted on the vital/delicate parts of the body, nature of weapons used, etc. However, such an exercise by the High Court would be permissible only after the evidence is collected after investigation and the charge-sheet is filed/charge is framed and/or during the trial. Such exercise is not permissible when the matter is still under investigation. Therefore, the ultimate conclusion in paras 29.6 and 29.7 of the decision of this Court in Narinder Singh [Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab, (2014) 6 SCC 466 : (2014) 3 SCC (Cri) 54] should be read harmoniously and to be read as a whole and in the circumstances stated hereinabove”

 (emphasis supplied)

In the above decision, Court also stated that the powers conferred on the High Court under Section 482 CrPC can be exercised keeping in mind the injuries sustained, whether such injury is inflicted on the vital/delicate parts of the body, nature of weapons used etc.

High Court stated that in view of the above decision of the Supreme Court, it can be seen that the fight involved in the present matter was not an ordinary fight between the neighbors, infact petitioners should be thankful that they are not facing trial in a case of murder because in ordinary circumstances the injuries inflicted by the petitioners were sufficient to cause death.

Victim was stabbed with a dangerous weapon i.e. a knife and the injuries caused were of such nature that they would have caused death in ordinary circumstances.

Hence, Court declined to quash the FIR solely on the ground that the parties entered into a compromise. [Mukhtiyaar Ali v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2021 SCC OnLine Del 4428 , decided on 20-09-2021]


Advocates before the Court

For the Petitioners: Rishipal Singh, Advocate with petitioners in person

For the respondents: Meenakshi Chauhan, APP for the State with ASI Naresh, PS Jaffrabad Complainants in person

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Division Bench of Manmohan and Asha Menon, JJ., remarked that the present case reflected the bane of the Indian Judicial System, namely, that there is no finality attached to any judicial proceeding.

Instant appeal was filed challenging the judgment and decree dated 18-11-2013 passed by a Single Judge of this Court accompanied by an application seeking condonation of delay under Section 14 of the Limitation Act.

As per the appellant the Single judge had failed to consider that the appellant was not a party to the compromise on the basis of which the civil suit was decreed and thus the finding of the Court that ‘the parties have settled the matter on the following terms’ did not apply to the appellant.

Further, it was added that the handwritten statements on the Index of the Compromise Application stating that ‘This is a joint application by all parties. They are duly served’ were false, as at no juncture, a copy of the said application had been served on the appellant and therefore, on this short score, the impugned judgment was liable to be set aside.

Single Judge had failed to consider that an application for compromise under Order XXIII Rule 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 without the signatures/consent of all parties to the lis could not be allowed against all parties to the lis and be converted into a decree of the Court.

Lastly, the appellant contended that the Single Judge had failed to appreciate that it is settled law that a self-acquired property could not be partitioned during the lifetime of the owner. He contended that the Trial Court had failed to consider that the plaint was a collusive action filed by the respondents in order to lay a concocted claim whereby the plaintiff and his brothers allocated lion’s share of the said property to each other.

High Court’s reasoning

A consent decree is a contract with the imprimatur of the courts superadded.  ‘Lawful Compromise’ means that the agreement or compromise must not be unlawful by the nature of its terms or on the face of it.

‘Consent decree’ is something more than a mere contract and has elements of both command and contract. ‘Lawful Compromise’ would be unlawful if the consideration or the object of the agreement is forbidden by law or is of such a nature that if permitted it would defeat the provision of any law, or is fraudulent or the court regards it as immoral or opposed to the public policy as provided by Section 23 of the Contract Act.

High Court found that the present appeal had been preferred after a delay of over two thousand three hundred and thirty-one days. Appellant voluntarily chose not to enter appearance and therefore she was proceeded ex-parte. Consequently, the limitation for filing the present appeal shall commence from the date of the impugned judgment and order and not from the date of alleged knowledge of the judgment and decree.

Court stated that the appellant would not be entitled to the benefit of Section 14 of the Limitation Act as even the prior proceeding initiated by the appellant had not been filed within limitation and also the said prior proceeding had not been filed due to defect of jurisdiction or other cause of like nature.

No prejudice had been caused to the appellant by the impugned judgment and decree dated 18th November, 2013 as the said decree recognises her share in the suit property as accepted by her in the Family Settlement dated 23rd December, 1999, especially in the absence of any challenge to the said family settlement.

 No prejudice was caused to the appellant.

Further, the submission of the counsel for the appellant that a self-acquired property could not be partitioned during the lifetime of the owner, in view of the Family Settlement dated 23rd December, 1999 duly executed and signed by the appellant is a mixed question of fact and law and it required the appellant to lead evidence.

On the basis of a bald averment in the appeal, the suit filed by the respondent cannot be held to be ex-facie barred in law.

The only remedy to the appellant in the present matter was to prefer an application under Order IX Rule 13, or under Section 114 CPC.

Not even a ‘modicum of explanation’ was offered during the hearing as to why the ex-parte order be recalled or set aside.

High Court expressed that the Additional District Judge had given a clear finding, which order had not been challenged in the present proceedings.

 Adding to the above, High Court elaborated that

There is no law which stipulates that a court is bound to serve any compromise application on a party who had willingly allowed it to be proceeded ex-parte.

To accept the submission of the appellant would amount to reading into the Statue a duty upon the Court to ‘run after a litigant’ who had voluntarily turned to its back to the legal system – a duty which is not provided in any statute.

A bare perusal of the Family Settlement reflects that the appellant had signed on each page of it and the same was based on mutual consent and agreement. In fact, the mutation was also carried out with respect to this 1/6th portion in accordance with the said Family Settlement.

Concluding the matter, Bench held that to now recall or vary the decree at the instance of the appellant who was negligent in defending her rights would amount to placing premium on ‘callousness’ and would place the parties who diligently pursued the litigation at all stages at a serious disadvantage.

Therefore, Court stated that any judicial system which does not provide finality to disputes, can never earn the trust, confidence and goodwill of the society.

Hence, present appeal was dismissed both as barred by limitation as well as on merits. [Deepshree Singh v. Rishi Pratap Singh, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 2348, decided on 20-05-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the appellant: Ankur Mahindro, Advocate with Rohan Taneja, Advocate.

For the Respondents: Kritika Bhardwaj, Advocate for R-1 to3 & 5 to 8.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: Rajendra Singh Samant J. allowed the appeal and directed to take up the proceeding for conciliation under Section 18 (2) of the Act, 2006.

The facts of the case are such that respondent 4 i.e. Core Fab Projects Pvt. Ltd. moved an application under Section 18 of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 (in short ‘the Act, 2006’), before the Facilitation Council i.e. respondent 3 which was proceeded with and notice was issued to the petitioner for appearance in that proceeding. The instant petition was filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India praying to quash the proceeding on application for reference before respondent 3 on grounds that the proceeding so initiated is against the provisions of Section 18 of the Act, 2006.

Counsel for the petitioners Mr Amit Soni submitted that the conciliation proceeding under Section 18 (2) of the Act, 2006 is a must, therefore, it is prayed that respondent 3 be directed to comply with Section 18 (2) of the Act, 2006, before proceeding to decide the reference.

Counsel for the respondents Mr B P Banjare and P R Patankar submitted that respondent 3 has followed the procedure as provided under the Act, 2006. Section 18 (5) of the Act, 2006 provides time within which the matter has to be decided and that time limit has already crossed.

The Court observed that the words in Section 18 (2) of the Act, 2006 give a mandate that the Council shall itself conduct conciliation in the matter or may seek assistance of any institution or center providing alternative dispute resolution services. The only word used in the provision is ‘conciliation’. Conciliation is procedure adopted for alternate dispute resolution in which neutral person proposes the parties in dispute to come to agreement for resolving the dispute between them, further there are specific provisions for conciliation in Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. Therefore, the term ‘compromise’ has different meaning than term ‘conciliation’. In a compromise, both the parties in a dispute strictly negotiate with each other, whereas, in conciliation proceeding one neutral person is engaged in confidential manner to bring about the settlement of dispute between the parties and granted opportunity for compromise itself would not be sufficient.

The Court further observed that the parties were given opportunity to compromise and negotiate for terms and parties failed in that, subsequent to which, the proceeding under Section 18 (2) of the Act, 2006 has been closed and Facilitation Council has ordered for proceeding under Section 18 (3) of the Act. The Court further observed that the proceeding under Section 18 (2) of the Act, 2006 is still not over as the conciliation proceeding has not taken place, therefore, it is held that respondent 3 has failed to exercise its authority under Section 18 (2) of the Act, either by involving itself or by handing over the matter to any other institutions or centers providing alternate dispute resolution services.
The Court thus held “the order of the respondent 3 for proceeding under Section 18 (3) of the Act is erroneous and illegal regarding, in which interference is required for by this petition.”

In view of the above, petition was disposed off.[Sew Infrastructure Limited v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2021 SCC OnLine Chh 905, decided on 12-04-2021]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Punjab and Haryana High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana Case: Harnaresh Singh Gill, J., dismissed the instant petition filed for issuance of directions to Police officials to hand over the investigation of her case under Section 376 Penal Code, 1860, to the Central Bureau of Investigation or to some other independent agency. The Bench stated,

“…it is clearly established that an attempt has been made to not only abuse the process of law but also overawe the authorities.”

Background

The facts of the case were that the petitioner was working as a Nurse in a dispensary and accused Varun Joshi, who was an active member of the local wing of the ruling party, used to visit the said dispensary and started outraging the modesty of the petitioner. It was submitted that the accused approached the petitioner in her office and threatened her that he was having her nude videos and would upload the same on internet if she did not develop physical relations with him or pay Rs. 5,00,000 to him. Allegedly, Rs. 4 lakhs were paid to the accused as compromise, however, the accused again visited the office of the petitioner and told her that he had deleted only a few clips and demanded Rs. 3 lakhs further to delete them. On the petitioner showing her inability to pay Rs. 3 lakhs, the accused took her in an Innova car and had committed rape upon her.

The grievance of the petitioner was that no action was taken by the Police. The petitioner submitted that although, her statement was recorded instead of registering an FIR, the Police constituted a committee of two members to enquire into the matter. It was further averred that Deputy Superintendent of Police threatened the petitioner to settle the matter with the accused as he happened to be the man of means and belonging to the ruling party.

The respondent submitted that the DG of Police constituted a Special Investigation Team and the place of occurrence was visited by a lady member of the SIT and found the case of the petitioner to be based on false allegations. It was further submitted that a litigant who attempts to pollute the stream of justice or touches the pure fountain of justice with tainted hands, is not entitled to any relief. Therefore, exemplary costs should be imposed upon the petitioner, for such a frivolous litigation.

Observations and Conclusion

The Bench observed that the allegations raised by the petitioner were not proved as the call location of the petitioner and the accused show different places from the one where the alleged rape was committed. The investigation regarding the stay of the petitioner and the accused in Hotel Sneh Mohan was conducted and the statement of the Manager was also recorded and a conclusion was drawn that the petitioner and the accused had stayed there on different dates on friendly basis.

The SIT had also drawn a conclusion that there was a friendly relationship between the petitioner and the accused and the dispute between them arose only when the petitioner made a written complaint to the Gram Panchayat against her husband, daughter and her in-laws’ family and showed her desire to stay away from them. The Bench opined,

“It is clear that the petitioner has levelled false and frivolous allegations against the accused and has gone to the extent of lodging the FIR in question and recording the statement before the Magistrate. The petitioner has not approached this Court with clean hands.”

Relieance was placed on Phool Chandra v. State of U.P., (2014) 13 SCC 112,  wherein, the Supreme Court expressed its concern over the need to curb frivolous petitions in following words, “It is high time that the Courts should come down heavily upon such frivolous litigation and unless we ensure that the wrongdoers are denied profit or undue benefit from the frivolous litigation, it would be difficult to control frivolous and uncalled for litigation.”

Lastly, the Bench stated, from the facts and circumstances delineated above, it is clearly established that an attempt had been made to not only abuse the process of law but also overawe the authorities. In view of the above, the petition was dismissed with costs of Rs. 1 lakhs to be paid and deposited by the petitioner with the Institute for the Blind. [Pritpal Kaur v. State of Punjab, CRM-M No. 14954 of 2020, decided on 16-03-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Court by:

For the Petitioner: Adv. Rajesh Bhatheja

For the Respondents: AGG. Randhir Singh Thind, AAG, Adv. Shubhra Singh, Adv.  Puru Gupta and Adv. A.S.Brar

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Meghalaya High Court: W. Diengdoh, J., allowed a petition which was filed against the rejection order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate about the compromise in a case of a non-compoundable offence.

A Motor Vehicle Accident took place which involved the vehicle driven by the petitioner herein who was proceeding from Guwahati to Shillong on the National Highway, and on reaching near Nongpoh Police Station, Ri-Bhoi District, he saw one vehicle parked on the road and on crossing that vehicle, all of a sudden one pedestrian, the victim H.N. Sangma (since deceased) crossed from the front side of the vehicle and in the process was dashed by the vehicle driven by the petitioner. The petitioner immediately had taken the victim to the Bethany Hospital, Nongpoh for treatment where the victim had succumbed to his injuries. Respondent 2 had filed an FIR in relation to the said incident, after which petitioner was arrested and was released on bail on the same day. However, in course of the investigation, the I/O submitted the charge sheet and came to the conclusion that a prima facie case under Sections 279/304A IPC was found well established against the accused/petitioner.

In the meantime petitioner and the complainant/respondent 2 had arrived at a compromise and had decided to bring to a closure all matters relating to the said incident. Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ri-Bhoi District, Nongpoh had rejected the prayer of the parties solely on the ground that the offences involved are non-compoundable not coming within the purview of Section 320 CrPC and as such, the said compromise between the parties was not allowed. Thus, the instant appeal was filed.

The Court had to consider whether a criminal proceeding involving non-compoundable offence can be set aside and quashed, all parties having reached a compromise.

The Court relied on the judgment mentioned by the counsel of the petitioner Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab, (2014) 6 SCC 499 wherein it was held,

            “29.1. Power conferred under Section 482 of the Code is to be distinguished from the power which lies in the Court to compound the offences under Section 320 of the Code. No doubt, under Section 482 of the Code, the High Court has inherent power to quash the criminal proceedings even in those cases which are not compoundable, where the parties have settled the matter between themselves. However, this power is to be exercised sparingly and with caution.”

The Court held that the High Court, therefore, has the inherent power to quash the criminal proceedings even in those cases which are not compoundable, where the parties have settled the matter between themselves. However, caution is given to the High Court to sparingly exercise this power by looking into the facts and circumstances of the case.

The Court allowing the petition and not going into merits of the case decided that since evidence had to be led, what is prima facie apparent is the conduct of the petitioner/accused who had on his own taken the victim to the hospital for treatment, conclusively no mens rea was present and for meeting ends of justice, the petitioner should not be unnecessarily embroiled in the said criminal proceeding.[Issac Lalsiemthar v. State of Meghalaya, Crl.Petn. No. 9 of 2021, decided on 01-04-2021]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Vivek Kumar Birla, J., expressed:

“…a party cannot be permitted to blow hot – blow cold, where he knowingly accepts the benefit of a contract, or conveyance, or of an order, he is estopped from denying the validity of, or the binding effect of such contract, or conveyance, or order upon himself.”

Petition was filed challenging the impugned orders passed by the Prescribed Authority/Judge Small Causes Courts, Bulandshahar.

Petitioners were the tenants of a shop of which the initially the tenancy was with the grandfather of the petitioners. Later after the demise of grandfather, the legal heirs of the deceased i.e. Jugmandar Das Jain received the shop by means of inheritance.

Thereafter, respondents-landlords initiated the proceedings under Section 21(1)A of Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972  against the legal heir.

Crux of the Petitioners Argument:

If the compromise decree is contrary to statutory provisions, the same is a nullity and cannot be executed.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Original tenant was in possession of a shop 7.0 ft x 23 ft and in the release application filed on the ground f personal need of the family, he agreed to remain in possession of the shop 5.6 ft wide x 12 ft. deep only, which was to be handed over to him by the landlord after the Court Order.

Comprise between the parties reflected that the old rent of Rs 18 per month was to continue. The original tenant had clearly stated that he had only daughters and no son, he, therefore, agreed in the wisdom that he will remain in possession of the shop till his lifetime and thereafter, the tenancy shall not devolve on his legal heirs.

Bench noted that in the terms of compromise, it was clearly stated that there was a clear understanding that neither his daughters nor their husbands shall claim any tenancy over the shop left in possession of Raj Bahadur Jain and shall hand over the possession to the landlord and if they failed to do so, the landlord will be at liberty to take possession through Court.

Petitioners being daughters of the tenant were obviously beneficiary, maybe indirectly, of such compromise as the tenant Raj Bahadur Jain continued in peaceful possession of the said shop till his death as the proceeding of the release application did not proceed further on the basis of such compromise.

For about 16 years, no challenge was raised to the above-mentioned compromise.

“…in cases where protection under a Rent Act is available, no eviction can be ordered unless ground seeking eviction is made out, even if parties had entered into a compromise and that the invalidity on that count can even be raised in execution.” 

Whether petitioner can take shelter from the above law in the present set of facts and circumstances?

Bench opined that a party cannot be permitted blow hot – blow cold, where he knowingly accepts the benefit of a contract or conveyance, or of an order, he is estopped from denying the validity of, or the binding effect of such contract, or conveyance, or order upon himself.

For the above position of law, Bench referred to the Supreme Court decisions in Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corpn. v. Diamond & Gem Development Corpn. Ltd., (2013) 5 SCC 470.

Net effect of the Supreme Court decision in Raghunath Prasad Pande v. State of Karnataka, (2018) 5 SCC 594 is that once the compromise decree has been acted upon, a party cannot be permitted to go back from the same and the same is not liable to be set aside.

In the instant case, property was released in part and the old tenant had entered into a compromise. It has been added that he was the sole tenant and had every right to enter into compromise about his tenancy rights. The compromise continued for about 10 years till the death of the tenant Raj Bahadur Jain and they enjoyed the benefits arising out of such compromise.

Since the original tenant remained in possession over the agreed part of the accommodation during his lifetime, now the legal heirs cannot come forward and say that they are a statutory tenant and the said compromise was a nullity as they were not a party or that the same was contrary to law.

With regard to injunction suit, decree of a civil court granting permanent injunction cannot override the proceedings under the provisions of UP Act 13 of 1972 between the landlord and tenant.

Compromise was validly entered between the landlord and the sole tenant, who enjoyed the fruits or the benefits of the same.

Concluding the matter, Bench decided that :

  • Tenant-petitioner shall handover the peaceful possession of the premises in question to the landlord-opposite party on or before 31.8.2021;
  • Tenant-petitioner shall file the undertaking before the Court below to the said effect within two weeks from the date of passing of this order
  • Tenant-petitioner shall pay damages at Rs 2,000/- per month by 07th day of every succeeding month and continue to deposit the same in the Court below till 31.8.2021 or till the date he vacates the premises, whichever is earlier and the landlord is at liberty to withdraw the said amount
  • Tenant-petitioner shall also state that he will not create any interest in favour of the third party in the premises in dispute
  • Tenant-petitioner shall not be evicted from the premises in question till the aforesaid period.

[Anshu Jain v. Suresh Prakash, 2021 SCC OnLine All 217, decided on 10-03-2021]


Advocates before the parties:

Counsel for Petitioner: Nagendra Kumar Srivastava

Counsel for Respondent : Sanjai Srivastava, Ajit Kumar,Vivek Srivastava

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Subramonium Prasad, J., with regard to the settlement of disputes stated that:

“In crimes which seriously endangers the well being of the society, it is not safe to leave the crime doer only because he and the victim have settled the dispute amicably. “

The instant petition was filed under Section 482 CrPC for offence under Sections 419, 467, 471, 474, 376, 354, 506 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code, 1860.

Petitioner/Accused had met respondent 2 and revealed that his name to be Shiva and promised the complainant to marry her. Complainant and the Petitioner became intimate and had a physical relationship she had been promised marriage by the petitioner.

Later the respondent 2/complainant came to know that the petitioner had concealed his identity and his real name as ‘Akhtar’.

Respondent 2/Complainant stated in the FIR that the petitioner took her to Arya Samaj Mandir wherein they got married and in the marriage certificate he gave his name as Akhtar. After the marriage, the petitioner started demanding money and when respondent 2 visited his parents, she was driven away with them.

The instant petition was filed as the parties amicably settled their dispute.

A Status Report was also filed wherein it was stated that Akhtar/Shiva hid his identity and was sexually exploiting the respondent 2 for five years. It was also stated that the petitioner forged Aadhaar Cards and has got two Aadhaar Cards, one in the name of Akhtar and the second in the name of Shiva. On further investigation, it was also found that the marriage certificate was also fake.

Analysis and Decision

Bench stated that the power of the High Court under Section 482 CrPC to quash proceedings is those offences which are non-compoundable is recognized.

Court noted that the Supreme Court time and again held that the High Court has to keep in mind the subtle distinction between the power of compounding offences given to the Court under Section 320 CrPC and the quashing of criminal proceedings and the jurisdiction conferred upon it under Section 482 CrPC.

For the above purpose, Court cited the Supreme Court’s decision in Shiji v. Radhika, (2011) 10 SCC 705.

Further, the Bench added that:

“While exercising its power under Section 482 CrPC, High Court is guided by the material on record as to whether the ends of justice would justify such exercise of power.”

 Court referred to the Supreme Court decision in Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303, wherein it has been elaborated under what circumstances, criminal proceedings in a non-compoundable case could be quashed when there is a settlement between the parties.

In the case of Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab, (2014) 6 SCC 466, the Supreme Court laid down principles by which the High Courts should be guided in giving adequate treatment to the settlement between the parties.

Court expressed that:

An offence of rape is an offence against the society at large and apart from offence under Section 376, the petitioner is also accused of committing offences under Sections 419,467,468,471,474,506 and 34 IPC.

In view of the facts and circumstances of the case, Bench opined that it is not in a position to quash the FIR on the basis of compromise entered into between the parties and wherein it was stated that the petitioner/accused and the respondent 2 decide to stay as husband and wife and lead their peaceful marital life.

Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that when parties reach a settlement and on that basis a petition is filed for quashing criminal proceedings, the guiding factor for the High Court before quashing the complaint in such cases would be to secure; a) ends of justice, b) to prevent abuse of process of any court.

In view of the FIR and Status Report, Bench held that it’s evident that the petitioner has been accused of serious offences like rape and forgery having a bearing on vital societal interest and these offences cannot be construed to be merely private or civil disputes but rather will have an effect on the society at large.[Akhtar v. GNCTD,  2021 SCC OnLine Del 260 , decided on 01-02-2021]


Advocates for the parties:

Petitioner: Haraprasad Sahu, Advocate

Respondents: Kusum Dhalla, APP for State