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Madhya Pradesh High Court Rejects Application For Compounding Of Offences U/S 307, 498A IPC Based On Compromise Between Parties

Zeeshan Thomas
4 Feb 2022 6:15 AM GMT
Madhya Pradesh High Court Rejects Application For Compounding Of Offences U/S 307, 498A IPC Based On Compromise Between Parties
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The Madhya Pradesh High Court, Gwalior Bench recently dismissed an application filed for compounding of offences under Sections 307 (attempt to Murder) and 498-A (Cruelty to wife) read with Section 34 of IPC, based on a compromise between the parties involved.Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava observed,"the allegations are serious in nature wherein mother-in-law & sister-in-law with...

The Madhya Pradesh High Court, Gwalior Bench recently dismissed an application filed for compounding of offences under Sections 307 (attempt to Murder) and 498-A (Cruelty to wife) read with Section 34 of IPC, based on a compromise between the parties involved.

Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava observed,

"the allegations are serious in nature wherein mother-in-law & sister-in-law with the help of complainant's husband dragged the complainant by making knot in her neck and also brutally beaten her with intention to kill her. Therefore, considering the aforesaid facts & circumstances of the case along with gravity of the offence and the conduct of the accused persons, it would not be appropriate to quash the FIR for the offences under Sections 307, 498-A, 34 of IPC only on the basis of settlement between the accused persons and the complainant."

As per the prosecution story, the Applicant/accused and the Complainant are married. Since the very inception of their marriage, it was alleged that the husband used to exploit the Complainant and demand for dowry.

On the date of the incident, her mother-in-law and sister-in-law (both Applicants/Co-accused) along with her husband allegedly dragged the Complainant by making a knot around her neck and brutally beat her with an intention to kill her. The Complainant thus lodged an FIR against the Applicants/accused and Charge-sheet was submitted and charges were also framed.

Later, the Applicants submitted that the couple has cleared their bilateral doubts and that the Complainant does not wish to pursue the case any further. Hence, the Applicants prayed for quashing the aforesaid FIR and all other consequential proceedings arising out of it on the basis of compromise.

They further submitted that once the Complainant has decided not to pursue the case further, the Court should take a pragmatic view of the matter. They relied upon the judgments passed by the Apex Court in the cases of Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, Narinder Singh & Anr. v. State of Punjab & Ors., and an order passed by the High Court in Chaube Singh and Others v. The State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.

It is significant to note that as per Section 320 CrPC, the offences under Sections 307, 498- A, 34 of IPC are not compoundable.

Findings

The Court observed that it is settled law that the inherent power under Section 482 CrPC has to be exercised for the ends of justice and should not be arbitrarily exercised to cut short the normal process of a criminal trial. It then went on to examine the jurisprudence laid out by various decisions of the Apex Court-

In the case of State of M.P. Vs. Manish [(2015) 8 SCC 307], the Hon'ble Apex Court has specifically observed and held that, when it comes to the question of compounding an offence under Sections 307 and 34 IPC, by no stretch of imagination, it can be held to be an offence between the private parties simpliciter. It is observed that such offences will have a serious impact on the society at large. It is further observed that where the accused are facing trial under Sections 307 read with Section 34 IPC, as the offences are definitely against the society, accused will have to necessarily face trial and come out unscathed by demonstrating their innocence.

In State of M.P. Vs. Deepak [(2014) 10 SCC 285] the Hon'ble Apex Court has had an occasion to consider whether the High Court can quash the FIR/complaint/criminal proceedings, in exercise of the inherent jurisdiction and Hon'ble Apex Court on the aforesaid point has specifically observed that as offence under Section 307 IPC is non-compoundable as well as offence under Section 307 is not a private dispute between the parties inter se, but is a crime against the society, quashing of the proceedings on the basis of a compromise is not permissible.

The Court also referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab, wherein it was observed that the offence U/S 307 IPC would fall under the category of heinous and serious offences and should therefore be generally treated as crime against the society and not against the individual alone. However, it was also noted that the High Court was not to rest its decision merely on the basis of a mention of Section 307 IPC in the FIR or the charge being framed. Its further corroboration with the medical evidence or other evidence is to be seen, which will only be possible during the trial.

Referring to the relevant judgments, the Court held-

The power conferred under Section 482 of CrPC to quash the criminal proceedings for the non-compoundable offences under Section 320 of CrPC can be exercised having overwhelmingly and predominantly the civil character, particularly those arising out of commercial transactions and when the parties have resolved the entire dispute amongst themselves but 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.

The Court concluded that considering the facts of the case, the gravity of offence and the conduct of the accused, it would not be appropriate to quash the FIR for the offences U/S 307, 498-A, 34 IPC only on the basis of settlement between the Applicants and the Complainant. The Application was thereby dismissed and the lower court was directed to continue the trial against the Applicants for the offences U/S 307, 498-A, 34 IPC, in accordance with law.

Case Title: Dharmpal Singh Jadon & Ors. Vs. State of M.P. & Anr.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (MP) 24

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