1 Aug 2022 2:30 AM GMT
While allowing a revision application under Section 397 of CrPC seeking quashing of a judgement convicting the Petitioner under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, the Gujarat High Court reiterated the distinction between Sections 482 and Sec 320 of the Code. Section 320 CrPC prescribes power of Court to compound certain offences. Section 482 CrPC is inherent power of High Court....
While allowing a revision application under Section 397 of CrPC seeking quashing of a judgement convicting the Petitioner under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, the Gujarat High Court reiterated the distinction between Sections 482 and Sec 320 of the Code.
Section 320 CrPC prescribes power of Court to compound certain offences. Section 482 CrPC is inherent power of High Court. The Bench of Justice Samir Dave emphasized that compounding of offences is not the same as quashing. It reiterated:
"In compounding of offences, power of a criminal court is circumscribed by the provisions contained in Section 320 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 offence or criminal proceeding or criminal complaint is guided by the material on record as to whether the ends of justice would justify such exercise of power although the ultimate consequence may be acquittal or dismissal of indictment."
The instant application was filed in the background of the settlement between the parties for offences punishable u/s 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act. The Applicant herein was put to trial where he was held guilty for the aforesaid offence. The appeal against the order of the Trial Court was rejected. Aggrieved by the same, the instant application was filed.
The Complainant-Respondent No. 2 had produced an affidavit confirming the settlement between parties
The High Court placed reliance on Gian Singh vs State of Punjab and Anr (2012) 10 SCC 303, where the Apex Court had considered the relative scope of Sec 482 and Sec 320 and laid down certain parameters which could be used in various facts and circumstances. Justice Dave referred to the judgement in the following manner:
"In respect of serious offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc; or other offences of mental depravity under IPC or offences of moral turpitude under special statutes, like Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity, the settlement between offender and victim can have no legal sanction at all. However, certain offences which overwhelmingly and predominantly bear civil flavour having arisen out of civil, mercantile, commercial, financial, partnership or such like transactions or the offences arising out of matrimony, particularly relating to dowry, etc. or the family dispute, where the wrong is basically to victim and the offender and victim have settled all disputes between them amicably, irrespective of the fact that such offences have not been made compoundable, the High Court may within the framework of its inherent power, quash the criminal proceeding or criminal complaint or F.I.R if it is satisfied that on the face of such settlement, there is hardly any likelihood of offender being convicted and by not quashing the criminal proceedings, justice shall be casualty and ends of justice shall be defeated."
The Single Judge Bench noted that the aforesaid circumstances were only illustrative and not exhaustive in nature. The Bench also enunciated that under Art 226 r/w Sec 482 of CrPC, the exercise of powers would depend on the individual facts and circumstances of each case.
Therefore, in the instant case, noting that the 'settlement had brought peace in the society' and the parties were now willing to lead a harmonious life, the Court quashed the criminal case and directed the release of the Applicant.
Case Title.: KAMLESHKUMAR MOHANJI METHANA v/s STATE OF GUJARAT
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 301
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