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Heinous & Serious Offences, Offences By Public Servants Can't Be Quashed On The Ground Of Compromise Between Parties: SC Issues Guidelines

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
5 March 2019 1:27 PM GMT
Heinous & Serious Offences, Offences By Public Servants Cant Be Quashed On The Ground Of Compromise Between Parties: SC Issues Guidelines
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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.

A three Judge Bench of Supreme Court of India on Tuesday has issued guidelines regarding quashing of Criminal Proceedings on the ground of compromise between the parties. The Bench of Justices AK Sikri, Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah was considering a reference made by a two Judge bench in view of the apparent conflict between the two decisions of the Court in the cases of Narinder Singh...

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A three Judge Bench of Supreme Court of India on Tuesday has issued guidelines regarding quashing of Criminal Proceedings on the ground of compromise between the parties.

The Bench of Justices AK Sikri, Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah was considering a reference made by a two Judge bench in view of the apparent conflict between the two decisions of the Court in the cases of Narinder Singh vs. State of Punjab (2014) 6 SCC 466 and State of Rajasthan vs. Shambhu Kewat (2014) 4 SCC 149.

It is submitted by the Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant-State that in the present cases the High Court has quashed the FIR mechanically and solely on the basis of the settlement/compromise between the complainant and the accused, without even considering the gravity and seriousness of the offences alleged against the accused persons.

It is further submitted by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant-State that the accused were hard core criminals and many criminal cases were registered against them and they are a serious threat to the society. It is submitted that all these aforesaid circumstances and the conduct on the part of the accused were required to be considered by the High Court while quashing the FIR in exercise of its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C., and more particularly when the offences alleged were against the society at large, namely, attempt to murder, which is a non-compoundable offence.

The Bench held that the High Court has materially erred in mechanically quashing the FIR, by observing that in view of the compromise, there are no chances of recording conviction and/or the further trial would be an exercise in futility.

The Bench has then issued the following Guidelines 

i) that 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;
ii) 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;
iii) similarly, 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 that 24 capacity are not to be quashed merely on the basis of compromise between the victim and the offender;
iv) 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. Therefore, 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 hereinabove;
v) 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. 

Read Judgement 



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