Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: On the issue relating to the power of compounding of offences conferred on a court under Section 320 Cr.P.C. and the powers conferred under Section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashing of criminal proceedings by the High Court, the 3-judge bench of Dr. AK Sikri, SA Nazeer and MR Shah, JJ has held that:

  1. the power conferred under Section 482 of the Code to quash the criminal proceedings for the non-compoundable offences under Section 320 of the Code can be exercised having overwhelmingly and predominantly the civil character, particularly those arising out of commercial transactions or arising out of matrimonial relationship or family disputes and when the parties have resolved the entire dispute amongst themselves;
  2. such power is not to be exercised in those prosecutions which involved heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. Such offences are not private in nature and have a serious impact on society;
  3. such power is not to be exercised for the offences under the special statutes like Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in 24 capacity are not to be quashed merely on the basis of compromise between the victim and the offender;
  4. offences under Section 307 IPC and the Arms Act etc. would fall in the category of heinous and serious offences and therefore are to be treated as crime against the society and not against the individual alone, and therefore, the criminal proceedings for the offence under Section 307 IPC and/or the Arms Act etc. which have a serious impact on the society cannot be quashed in exercise of powers under Section 482 of the Code, on the ground that the parties have resolved their entire dispute amongst themselves. However, the High Court would not rest its decision merely because there is a mention of Section 307 IPC in the FIR or the charge is framed under this provision. 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/delegate 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 25 filed/charge is framed and/or during the trial. Such exercise is not permissible when the matter is still under investigation.
  5. while exercising the power under Section 482 of the Code to quash the criminal proceedings in respect of non-compoundable offences, which are private in nature and do not have a serious impart on society, on the ground that there is a settlement/compromise between the victim and the offender, the High Court is required to consider the antecedents of the accused; the conduct of the accused, namely, whether the accused was absconding and why he was absconding, how he had managed with the complainant to enter into a compromise etc.

In the present case, the Bench was called upon to resolve the conflict between the verdicts in  Narinder Singh vs. State of Punjab (2014) 6 SCC 466 and State of Rajasthan vs. Shambhu Kewat (2014) 4 SCC 149. Elaborating upon the aforesaid judgments, the Court said:

“in the case of Shambhu Kewat (supra), this Court has noted the difference between the power of compounding of offences conferred on a court under Section 320 Cr.P.C. and the powers conferred under Section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashing of criminal proceedings by the High Court. In the said decision, this Court further observed that in compounding the offences, the power of a criminal court is circumscribed by the provisions contained in Section 320 Cr.P.C. and the court is guided solely and squarely thereby, while, on the other hand, the formation of opinion by the High Court for quashing a criminal proceedings or criminal complaint under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is guided by the material on record as to whether ends of justice would justify such exercise of power, although ultimate consequence may be acquittal or dismissal of indictment.”

After quoting Para 29 of the Narinder Singh Verdict, the Court said that the ultimate conclusion in paragraphs 29.6 and 29.7 of the decision of this Court in the case of Narinder Singh (supra) should be read harmoniously and to be read as a whole and in the circumstances stated in point number 4 above.

[State of Madhya Pradesh v. Laxmi Narayan, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 320, decided on 05.03.2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench comprising of DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, JJ set aside a Madhya Pradesh High Court order that had quashed the criminal proceedings for the offences under Sections 307, 294 read Section 34 of the IPC solely on the ground that the original Complainant and the accused have settled the dispute and said that the High Court had committed “a grave error” by doing so.

The Court took note of the fact that not only the aforementioned offences were non-compundable but also the allegations against the accused were “very serious” as allegedly the accused had fired twice on the complainant by a country­made pistol and that one of the accused persons was   reported to be a hardcore criminal having criminal antecedents.

The Court, hence, noticed:

“the   fact   remains   that   the accused   was   facing   the   criminal   proceedings   for   the   offences under Sections 307, 294 read with Section 34 of the IPC and that the   offences   under   these   sections   are   not   non­compoundable offences   and,   looking   to   the   serious   allegations   against   the accused,   we   are   of   the   opinion   that   the   High   Court   has committed a grave error in quashing the criminal proceedings for the offences under Sections 307, 294 read with Section 34 of the IPC solely on the ground that the original Complainant and the accused have settled the dispute.”

In a 2011 verdict, the Court had held that:

“despite any settlement between the Complainant on the one hand and the accused on the other, the criminal proceedings for the offences under Section 307 of the IPC cannot be quashed, as the offence   under   Section   307   is   a   non­compoundable   offence.”

Hence, setting aside the High Court order, the Court directed that the criminal case be proceeded further in accordance with law and on its own merits. [State of Madhya Pradesh v. Kalyan Singh, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 7, decided on 04.01.2019]