The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday reiterated that high courts have the inherent power as prescribed under Section 482 of CrPC, to quash criminal proceedings, even in those cases where the offences involved are non-compoundable. However, such power must be exercised with utmost caution.
The observations were made while allowing the petition for compounding of offences, made by the Petitioner-accused, Naykan Kamdak and another. The two, who were otherwise college friends of the Complainant, had been accused of attacking him and beating him mercilessly. Accordingly, they had been charge-sheeted for offences punishable under Sections 452, 326, 323, 324 and 427 of IPC and Sections 25, 54-59 of the Arms Act.
The petition had been filed on the basis of compromise/amicable settlement arrived inter-se parties. In this regard, the Complainant had also submitted that he had, of his own volition and without there being any external pressure, entered into a compromise and that he shall have no objection in case the FIR and the consequent proceedings against the Petitioners were quashed and set-aside.
The Additional Advocate General opposed the petition, stating that the matter was grave since as per the material available, the Complainant had suffered serious injuries on his person, on account of beatings given by the Petitioners-accused, who used sharp-edged weapon (sword).
Noting that the compromise had been duly effected between the parties, Justice Sandeep Sharma allowed the petition. He said that while exercising its powers, the high court was to take into account whether by not quashing the criminal cases the accused would be put to great oppression and prejudice. He said,
"this Court sees no impediment in accepting the prayer made in the present petition because compromise placed on record, if accepted, would definitely culminate into harmony inter-se petitioners, who otherwise are studying in one institution and are good friends and in case proceedings initiated by the complainant are allowed to sustain, petitioners No. 1 and 2 would suffer irreparable loss."
He further relied on ruling in Narinder Singh & Ors. v. State of Punjab & Anr., (2014) 6 SCC 466, whereby the Apex Court had formulated guidelines for accepting/ refusing the settlement between parties. Therein, the Supreme Court had held,
"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 great caution."
This position was recently reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in Parbatbhai Aahir @ Parbatbhai Bhimsinhbhai Karmur & Ors. v. State of Gujarat & Anr., Crl. Apl. No. 723/ 2017.
Accordingly, the court allowed the petition and remarked,
"the Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the crime and its social impact and it cautioned the Courts not to exercise the power for quashing proceedings in heinous and serious offences of mental depravity, murder, rape, dacoity etc., even though the victim or the family of the victim have settled the dispute."
The Petitioners were represented by Advocate Kiran Dhimand and the State by Additional Advocate Generals Sudhir Bhatnagar and Sanjeev Sood.
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