Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Chandra Dhari Singh, J., expressed that,

Merely because the litigation has reached a revisional stage or that even beyond that stage, the nature and character of the offence would not change automatically and it would be wrong to hold that a revisional stage, the nature of offence punishable under Section 138 NI Act should be treated as if the same is falling under table-II of Section 320 IPC.

Petitioner and OP 2 had a business relationship during the course of business and had issued two cheques in favour of OP 2 and when he had deposited, the cheques were bounced due to insufficient funds.

OP 2 had filed a complaint case under Section 138 Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. Trial Court had convicted the petitioner and further on being aggrieved the petitioner had preferred a criminal appeal.

Question for consideration

Whether an order passed by the High Court in the criminal revision petition confirming the conviction can be nullified by the High Court in a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC noticing subsequent compromise of the case by the contesting parties?

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court stated that it is well stated that inherent powers under Section 482 CrPC can be exercised only when no other remedy is available to the litigant and not where a specific remedy is provided by the statute.

Inherent powers under Section 482 of CrPC include powers to quash FIR, investigation or any criminal proceedings pending before the High Court or any Courts subordinate to it and are of wide magnitude and ramification. Such powers can be exercised to secure ends of justice, prevent abuse of the process of any court and make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, depending upon the facts of a given case.

 In the Supreme Court decision of Krishan v. Krishnaveni, (1997) 4 SCC 241, the Court held that though the inherent power of the High Court is very wide, yet the same must be exercised sparingly and cautiously particularly in a case where the petitioner is shown to have already invoked the revisional jurisdiction under Section 397 of the Code. Only in cases where the High Court finds that there has been failure of justice or misuse of judicial mechanism or procedure, sentence or order was not correct, the High Court may in its discretion prevent the abuse of process or miscarriage of justice by exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code.

Bench opined that it is not in agreement that when the adjudication of a criminal offence has reached the state of revisional level, there cannot be any compromise without permission of the Court in all cases including the offence punishable under Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

Section 147 of NI Act begins with a non obstante clause and such clause is being used in a provision to communicate that the provision shall prevail despite anything to the contrary in any other or different legal provisions. So, in light of the compass provided, a dispute in the nature of complaint under section 138 of N.I. Act, can be settled by way of compromise irrespective of any other legislation including CrPC in general and Section 320 (1)(2) or (6) of the CrPC in particular. The scheme of Section 320 CrPC deals mainly with procedural aspects; but it simultaneously crystallizes certain enforceable rights and obligation.

Further, it is well settled that the operation or effect of a general Act may be curtailed by a special Act even if a general Act contains a non-obstante clause. But here is not a case where the language of Section 320 CrPC would come in the way of recording the compromise or in compounding the offence punishable under Section 138 of the N.I. Act.

In the present matter, the problem was with the tendency of litigants to belatedly choose compounding to resolve their dispute.

Section 147 NI Act does not carry any guidance on how to proceed with compounding of offences under the Act.

 Hence the Court held that offence under Section 138 NI Act read with Section 147 are at liberty to compound the matter at any stage.

“…when both the parties have invoked the jurisdiction of this Court and there is no bar on exercise of powers and the inherent powers of this court can always be invoked for imparting justice and bringing a quietus to the issue between the parties.”

Concluding the matter, High Court allowed the present petition under Section 482 CrPC is allowed in terms of the compromise arrived at between the parties to this litigation out of court. [Rishi Mohan Srivastava v. State of U.P., 2021 SCC OnLine All 532, decided on 13-08-2021]


Counsel for Applicant:- Naved Ali, Sandeep Yadav

Counsel for Opposite Party:- G.A., Pawan Bhaskar

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court:  Vivek Singh Thakur, J., while exercising powers under Section 482 CrPC, allows the present petition,  stating, “… power of High Court under Section 482 CrPC is not inhibited by the provisions of Section 320 CrPC and FIR as well as criminal proceedings can be quashed by exercising inherent powers under Section 482 CrPC, if warranted in given facts and circumstances of the case for ends of justice or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court, even in those cases which are not compoundable where parties have settled the matter between themselves.”

 Background

The instant petition, under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has been filed by petitioner Girdhari Lal, on the basis of compromise arrived at between him and respondent 2, for quashing dated 07-07-2017, registered under Section 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act, 2012 and subsequent proceedings arising thereto. It is contended on behalf of respondent 1 that petitioner accused is not entitled to invoke the inherent jurisdiction of this Court to exercise its power on the basis of compromise arrived at between the parties with respect to an offence not compoundable under Section 320 CrPC.

 Observations

Pursuant to its decision, Court placed reliance over the following cases;

Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303, explaining that High Court has inherent power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure with no statutory limitation including Section 320 CrPC.

Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab, (2014) 6 SCC 466, where the Supreme Court has summed up and laid down principles by which the High Court would be guided in giving adequate treatment to the settlement between the parties and exercise its power under Section 482 of the Code while accepting the settlement and quashing the proceedings or refusing to accept the settlement with direction to continue with criminal proceedings.

Madan Mohan Abbot v. State of Punjab, (2008) 4 SCC 582, it was emphasized by the Supreme Court that in matter of compromise in criminal proceedings, a commonsense approach, based on ground realities and bereft of the technicalities of law, should be applied.

With respect to the offence committed under the POCSO Act, the Court remarked, “No doubt Section 8 of POCSO Act is not compoundable under Section 320 CrPC. However, as explained by Supreme Court in Gian Singh’s, Narinder Singh’cases, power of High Court under Section 482 CrPC is not inhibited by the provisions of Section 320 CrPC.”

 Decision

Quashing FIR against the petitioner, the Court said, “Keeping in view nature and gravity of offence and considering facts and circumstances of the case in entirety, I am of the opinion that present petition deserves to be allowed for ends of justice and the same is allowed accordingly.” [Girdhari Lal v. State of Himachal Pradesh, Cr. MMO No. 388 of 2020, decided on 04-01-2021]


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Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: Sanjay K Agrawal J., allowed the petition based on the settled principle of law.

The present writ petition has been filed by the petitioners seeking quashment of FIR No. 02/2020 dated 10-01-2020 for offence punishable under Section 420 read with Section 34 of Penal Code, 1860 i.e. IPC registered against them by Respondents 2 and 3 at police Station Gol Bazar, Raipur on the ground that the dispute, being a commercial dispute, has been settled amicably between the petitioners and respondents 2 and 3 and the offence under Section 420/34 of the IPC is compoundable with the leave of the Court.

Counsel for the petitioners submitted that as per the agreement and statement of recorded before the Additional Registrar (Judicial) it was categorically stated that the dispute has been settled between them amicably and moreover, the offence registered against the petitioners under Section 420/34 IPC, being compoundable, FIR registered against the petitioners deserves to be set aside.

Counsel for the respondents submitted that they have no objection if the FIR registered against the petitioners is quashed as the dispute has been settled amicably.

The Court relied on judgment B.S. Joshi v. State of Haryana (2003) 4 SCC 675, Gian Singh v. State of Punjab (2012) 10 SCC 303 and Jitendra Raghuvanshi v. Babita Raghuvanshi (2013) 4 SCC 58 and observed that

“15. In our view, it is the duty of the courts to encourage genuine settlements of matrimonial disputes, particularly, when the same are on considerable increase. Even if the offences are non compoundable, if they relate to matrimonial disputes and the Court is satisfied that the parties have settled the same amicably and without any pressure, we hold that for the purpose of securing ends of justice, Section 320 of the Code would not be a bar to the exercise of power of quashing of FIR, complaint or the subsequent criminal proceedings.”

 16. There has been an outburst of matrimonial disputes in recent times. The institution of marriage occupies an important place and it has an important role to play in the society. Therefore, every effort should be made in the interest of the individuals in order to enable them to settle down in life and live peacefully. If the parties ponder over their defaults and terminate their disputes amicably by mutual agreement instead of fighting it out in a court of law, in order to do complete justice in the matrimonial matters, the courts should be less hesitant in exercising their extraordinary jurisdiction. It is trite to state that the power under Section 482 should be exercised sparingly and with circumspection only when the Court is convinced, on the basis of material on record, that allowing the proceedings to continue would be an abuse of process of court or that the ends of justice require that the proceedings ought to be quashed. We also make it clear that exercise of such power would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case and it has to be exercised in appropriate cases in order to do real and substantial justice for the administration of which alone the courts exist. It is the duty of the courts to encourage genuine settlements of matrimonial disputes and Section 482 of the Code enables the High Court and Article 142 of the Constitution enables this Court to pass such orders.”

The Court thus held that offence under Section 420/34 of the IPC is compoundable with the leave of the Court and taking into consideration that the parties have settled their dispute amicably as per the agreement that they entered into and further considering that respondent 2 has filed his affidavit and respondent 3 has recorded his statement before the Assistant Registrar (Judicial) wherein they have clearly stated that they have compromised and settled the dispute amicably outside the Court.

In view of the above, offence was compounded, FIR quashed and petition disposed off.[Gurumukh Das Chandani v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2020 SCC OnLine Chh 568, decided on 27-10-2020]


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Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Vivek Singh Thakur, J. contemplated a petition filed under Section 482 of CrPC, where the petitioner arrived at a compromise with the respondent for quashing of the FIR filed under Sections 279 and 337 of IPC along with allegations under Motor Vehicle Act, 1988.

Factual matrix of the case was that the complainant-respondent was crossing the road and he was hit by a motorcycle which was driven by the petitioner. The complainant fell unconscious and he did not know the main cause of the accident. He subsequently lodged an FIR on the basis of the information which was supplied by the people present at the site of the accident. The contention of the complainant was that it is not known to him that how the accident had occurred and as to whether petitioner was at fault or not and that after the accident petitioner along with his family had approached him in his village and had taken care of his injuries and further that petitioner was a young graduate engineer and even if had it been fault on his part, he would have forgiven him, as he was feeling guilty for hitting him with his Motor Cycle, therefore, he did not intend to continue criminal proceedings against him and had prayed for compounding the case.

The submissions of the petitioner had also been made he had stated that he was feeling guilty for hitting the complainant and therefore had repentance for the same and had apologized to the complainant, who had agreed to forgive him. He undertook to be more careful in the future. He further deposed that at the time of the accident he was not in possession of documents of the vehicle as well as driving license, but now he possesses the same. He had also stated that he has deposed in the Court out of his free will, consent and without any coercion, pressure or threat.

But the main issue in the instant petition was that the State contended that accused was not entitled to invoke inherent jurisdiction of this Court to exercise its power on the basis of compromise arrived at between the parties with respect to an offence not compoundable under Section 320 CrPC, reliance was placed on Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303, where the Supreme Court explained the power of the High Courts under Section 482 CrPC. and had held that, “these powers are to be exercised to secure the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of process of any Court and these powers can be exercised to quash criminal proceedings or complaint or FIR in appropriate cases where offender and victim have settled their dispute and for that purpose no definite category of offence can be prescribed.” However, it was also observed that Courts must have due regard to nature and gravity of the crime and criminal proceedings in heinous and serious offences or offence like murder, rape and dacoity, etc. should not be quashed despite victim or victim family have settled the dispute with the offender. Jurisdiction vested in High Court under Section 482 CrPC is held to be exercisable for quashing criminal proceedings in cases having overwhelming and predominately civil flavor particularly offences arising from commercial, financial, mercantile, civil partnership, or such like transactions, or even offences arising out of matrimony relating to dowry, etc., It was also held that no category or cases for this purpose could be prescribed and each case has to be dealt with on its own merit but it is also clarified that this power does not extend to crimes against society.

The Court observed that though Section 279 is not compoundable under Section 320 of CrPC, however the contentions in Gian Singh’s case where the power of the High Court under Section 482 CrPC was not inhibited by the provisions of Section 320. the Court further observed that the type of offence dealt in the instant petition was not expressly barred or prohibited by the general view for compounding hence, the petition was allowed. [Rohit v. State of Himachal Pradesh, 2019 SCC OnLine HP 1333, decided on 22-08-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: The Bench of Manoj K. Tiwari, J. allowed a criminal miscellaneous application challenging the proceedings of the criminal case on the ground that the parties had settled the dispute between themselves.

The counsels for the parties submitted that parties had buried their differences and entered into a compromise and settled the dispute amicably outside the court, therefore, no useful purpose would have been served if the criminal case was to be continued.

The Court relied on Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2010) 15 SCC 118 which had considered the question with regard to the inherent power of the High Court under Section 482 CrPC in quashing the criminal proceedings against the offender, who had settled his dispute with the victim of the crime in a case, where crime is not compoundable under Section 320 CrPC. The Court held that in view of the settlement arrived at between the complainant and the applicants and the possibility of a conviction being remote and bleak, the FIR shall be quashed. [Abdul Rahman v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 87, Order dated 18-02-2019]