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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

the power of the High Court in quashing a criminal proceeding or FIR or complaint in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction is distinct and different from the power given to a criminal court for compounding the offences under Section 320 of the Code. Inherent power is of wide plenitude with no statutory limitation but it has to be exercised in accord with the guideline engrafted in such power viz; (i) to secure the ends of justice or, (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of any Court. In what cases power to quash the criminal proceeding or complaint or F.I.R may be exercised where the offender and the victim have settled their dispute would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case and no category can be prescribed. However, before exercise of such power, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the crime. Heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. cannot be fittingly quashed even though the victim or victim’s family and the offender have settled the dispute. Such offences are not private in nature and have a serious impact on society. Similarly, any compromise between the victim and the offender in relation to the offences under special statutes like the Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity, etc; cannot provide for any basis for quashing criminal proceedings involving such offences. But the criminal cases having overwhelmingly and pre-dominatingly civil flavour stand on a different footing for the purposes of quashing, particularly the offences arising from commercial, financial, mercantile, civil, partnership or such like transactions or the offences arising out of matrimony relating to dowry, etc. or the family disputes where the wrong is basically private or personal in nature and the parties have resolved their entire dispute. In this category of cases, the High Court may quash the criminal proceedings if in its view, because of the compromise between the offender and the victim, the possibility of conviction is remote and bleak and continuation of the criminal case would put accused to great oppression and prejudice and extreme injustice would be caused to him by not quashing the criminal case despite full and complete settlement and compromise with the victim. In other words, the High Court must consider whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest of justice to continue with the criminal proceeding or continuation of the criminal proceeding would tantamount to abuse of process of law despite settlement and compromise between the victim and the wrongdoer and whether to secure the ends of justice, it is appropriate that the criminal case is put to an end and if the answer to the above question(s) is in the affirmative, the High Court shall be well within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceeding.” (emphasis added) When we apply the principles set down therein, it can be stated that when it comes to the question of compounding an offence under Sections 307, 294 and 34 IPC along with Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act, by no stretch of imagination, it can be held to be an offence as between the private parties simpliciter. Inasmuch as such offences will have a serious impact on the society at large, it runs beyond our comprehension to state that after the commission of such offence the parties involved have reached a settlement and, therefore, such settlement can be given a seal of approval by the Judicial Forum. In the circumstances, the High Court unfortunately having failed to appreciate the said legal position, the impugned order cannot be sustained. We are, therefore, convinced that in a situation where the private respondents herein are facing trial for offences under Sections 307, 294 read with 34 IPC as well as Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act, the cases pending trial before the Court in Criminal Case No.2602 of 2013, as the offences are definitely as against the society, the private respondents will have to necessarily face trial and come out unscathed by demonstrating their innocence. The impugned order is, therefore, set aside and the Trial Court is directed to proceed with the trial in accordance with law. With the above observations and directions, the appeal stands allowed.

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                         IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                         CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 860 OF 2015
                   (ARISING OUT OF SLP(CRL.) NO.1059/2014)

      STATE OF M.P                                      Appellant

                            VERSUS


      MANISH & ORS                                      Respondent(s)


                O R D E R
      Leave granted.
      Heard learned counsel for the appellant and the respondents.
      The appellant/State of Madhya Pradesh seeks to challenge the order  of
the High Court of Madhya Pradesh dated 25.6.2013 passed  in  Misc.  Criminal
Case No.4013/2013, in and by which the High Court in exercise of its  powers
under Section 482 Cr.P.C. by taking into account the stand of the  de  facto
complainant, who was present before the Court, that  she  did  not  wish  to
prosecute the respondents herein as the disputes have been amicably  settled
between them, curiously proceeded to quash  the  FIR  in  Crime  No.512/2012
registered at Police Station Thatipur, District Gwalior for  offences  under
Sections 307, 294 and 34 IPC as well as the subsequent criminal  proceedings
being Criminal Case No.2602/2013 for the same offences  pending  before  the
Court.  The High Court, however, made it clear that the proceedings  pending
against the private respondents herein in relation  to  the  offences  under
Sections 25 and 27 of Arms Act were not quashed by the Court.
      Therefore, the moot question that arises for consideration is  whether
based on out of Court settlement alleged to have been  reached  between  the
private parties, the offences of this nature  falling  under  Sections  307,
294 and 34 IPC which are not covered by Section 320  Cr.P.C.  can  be  taken
note of and such orders of quashing of the  proceedings  can  be  passed  in
exercise of powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C.
      The question is no longer res integra,  inasmuch  as  the  Three-Judge
Bench of this Court in Gian Singh v. State of Punjab and  another,  reported
in (2012) 10 SCC 303 which has been subsequently followed  in  a  number  of
other decisions including the recent decision in State  of  M.P.  v.  Deepak
and Others, reported in (2014) 10 SCC 285, clearly sets out as  to  in  what
circumstances and in what type of cases such  exercise  of  inherent  powers
under Section 482 Cr.P.C. can be  invoked de hors Section  320  Cr.P.C.  for
recognizing such out of Court settlement for  the  purpose  of  quashing  of
criminal proceedings.
       The  Three-Judge  Bench  decision  in  Gian  Singh  (supra)   is   an
illuminating judgment  on  this  issue.   In  paragraph  61  ultimately  the
position has been set out in clear terms as under:-
“61. The position that emerges from the above discussion can  be  summarised
thus: the power of the High Court in quashing a criminal proceeding  or  FIR
or complaint in exercise  of  its  inherent  jurisdiction  is  distinct  and
different from the power given to  a  criminal  court  for  compounding  the
offences under Section 320 of the Code. Inherent power is of wide  plenitude
with no statutory limitation but it has to be exercised in accord  with  the
guideline engrafted in such power viz; (i) to secure  the  ends  of  justice
or, (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of any Court. In what  cases  power
to quash the criminal proceeding or complaint  or  F.I.R  may  be  exercised
where the offender and the victim have settled their  dispute  would  depend
on the facts  and  circumstances  of  each  case  and  no  category  can  be
prescribed. However, before exercise of such  power,  the  High  Court  must
have due regard to the nature and gravity of the crime. Heinous and  serious
offences of mental depravity or offences like murder,  rape,  dacoity,  etc.
cannot be fittingly quashed even though the victim or  victim’s  family  and
the offender have settled the dispute. Such  offences  are  not  private  in
nature and have a serious  impact  on  society.  Similarly,  any  compromise
between the victim and the  offender  in  relation  to  the  offences  under
special statutes like the Prevention  of  Corruption  Act  or  the  offences
committed by public servants while working in  that  capacity,  etc;  cannot
provide for any basis  for  quashing  criminal  proceedings  involving  such
offences. But the criminal cases having overwhelmingly and  pre-dominatingly
civil flavour stand on a different footing for  the  purposes  of  quashing,
particularly the offences arising from  commercial,  financial,  mercantile,
civil, partnership or such like transactions or the offences arising out  of
matrimony relating to dowry, etc. or the family disputes where the wrong  is
basically private or personal in nature and the parties have resolved  their
entire dispute. In this category of cases, the  High  Court  may  quash  the
criminal proceedings if in its view, because of the compromise  between  the
offender and the victim, the possibility of conviction is remote  and  bleak
and continuation of the criminal case would put accused to great  oppression
and prejudice and extreme injustice would be caused to him by  not  quashing
the criminal case despite full and complete settlement and  compromise  with
the victim. In other words, the High Court must consider  whether  it  would
be unfair or contrary to the  interest  of  justice  to  continue  with  the
criminal  proceeding  or  continuation  of  the  criminal  proceeding  would
tantamount to abuse of process of  law  despite  settlement  and  compromise
between the victim and the wrongdoer and  whether  to  secure  the  ends  of
justice, it is appropriate that the criminal case is put to an  end  and  if
the answer to the above question(s) is in the affirmative,  the  High  Court
shall be well within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceeding.”
                       (emphasis added)

      When we apply the principles set down therein, it can be  stated  that
when it comes to the question of compounding an offence under Sections  307,
294 and 34 IPC along with Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act, by no  stretch
of imagination, it can be held to be  an  offence  as  between  the  private
parties simpliciter. Inasmuch as such offences will have  a  serious  impact
on the society at large, it runs beyond  our  comprehension  to  state  that
after the commission of such offence the parties  involved  have  reached  a
settlement and, therefore, such settlement can be given a seal  of  approval
by the Judicial Forum.
      In the circumstances, the High Court unfortunately  having  failed  to
appreciate the said legal position, the impugned order cannot be  sustained.
 We are,  therefore,  convinced  that  in  a  situation  where  the  private
respondents herein are facing trial for offences  under  Sections  307,  294
read with 34 IPC as well as Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms  Act,  the  cases
pending trial before the Court in Criminal Case No.2602  of  2013,   as  the
offences are definitely as against  the  society,  the  private  respondents
will have to necessarily face trial and come out unscathed by  demonstrating
their innocence.  The impugned order is, therefore, set aside and the  Trial
Court is directed to proceed with the trial in accordance with law.
       With  the  above  observations  and  directions,  the  appeal  stands
allowed.

            ................................J.
                            [FAKKIR MOHAMED IBRAHIM KALIFULLA]



            ................................J.
                            [UDAY UMESH LALIT]
            NEW DELHI;
            JULY 06, 2015.

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