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quashing petition of F.I.R. under section 482 of Crpc.

The Hon”ble Supreme Court held that:-

In the absence of such guidelines in India, Courts go  by  their
own perception about the philosophy behind the prescription of certain
specified penal consequences for particular nature of crime. For  some
deterrence and/or vengeance becomes  more  important  whereas  another
Judge may be more influenced by rehabilitation or restoration  as  the
goal of sentencing.  Sometimes, it would  be  a  combination  of  both
which would weigh in the mind of the Court in  awarding  a  particular
sentence. However, that may be question of quantum.
What follows from the discussion behind the purpose of  sentencing  is
that if a particular crime is to  be  treated  as  crime  against  the
society  and/or  heinous  crime,  then  the  deterrence  theory  as  a
rationale for punishing the offender  becomes  more  relevant,  to  be
applied in such cases.  Therefore, in respect of such  offences  which
are treated against the society, it becomes the duty of the  State  to
punish the offender.  Thus, even when there is  a  settlement  between
the offender and the victim, their will would not prevail as  in  such
cases the matter is  in  public  domain.   Society  demands  that  the
individual offender  should  be  punished  in  order  to  deter  other
effectively as it amounts to greatest good of the greatest  number  of
persons in a  society.   It  is  in  this  context  that  we  have  to
understand the scheme/philosophy behind Section 307 of the Code.

We would like to expand this principle in some more  detail.  We
find, in practice and in reality, after recording the  conviction  and
while awarding the sentence/punishment the Court is generally governed
by any or all or combination of the aforesaid factors.  Sometimes,  it
is the deterrence theory which prevails in the  minds  of  the  Court,
particularly in those cases where the crimes committed are heinous  in
nature or depicts depravity, or lack  morality.  At  times  it  is  to
satisfy the element of  “emotion”  in  law  and  retribution/vengeance
becomes the guiding factor.  In any case, it cannot be denied that the
purpose  of  punishment  by  law   is   deterrence,   constrained   by
considerations  of  justice.  What,  then,  is  the  role  of   mercy,
forgiveness and compassion in law?  These are by no means  comfortable
questions and even the answers may not be comforting.   There  may  be
certain cases which are too obvious  namely  cases  involving  heinous
crime with element of criminality against the society and not  parties
inter-se.  In such cases, the  deterrence  as  purpose  of  punishment
becomes paramount and even if the victim or his relatives  have  shown
the virtue and gentility, agreeing to forgive the culprit,  compassion
of that private party would not move the court in accepting  the  same
as larger and more important public policy of showing the iron hand of
law to the wrongdoers, to reduce the commission of such  offences,  is
more important. Cases of murder, rape, or other sexual  offences  etc.
would clearly fall in this category.  After all, justice requires long
term vision.  On the other hand, there may be, offences falling in the
category where “correctional” objective of criminal law would have  to
be given more weightage  in  contrast  with  “deterrence”  philosophy.
Punishment, whatever else may be, must be fair and conducive  to  good
rather than further evil.  If in a particular case the Court is of the
opinion that the settlement between the parties  would  lead  to  more
good; better relations between them; would prevent further  occurrence
of such encounters between the parties, it may hold settlement  to  be
on a better pedestal.  It  is  a  delicate  balance  between  the  two
inflicting interests which is  to  be  achieved  by  the  Court  after
examining all these parameters and then deciding as to which course of
action it should take in a particular case.

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[REPORTABLE]

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.686/2014

(arising out of S.L.P.(Criminal) No.9547 of 2013)

Narinder Singh & Ors.                              ……Appellants

Vs.

State of Punjab & Anr.                             …Respondents

J U D G M E N T

A.K.SIKRI,J.

1.    The present Special Leave Petition has  been  preferred  against
the impugned judgment/final order dated 8.10.2013 passed by  the  High
Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh  in  Criminal  Miscellaneous
Petition No.27343/2013. It was a petition under  Section  482  of  the
Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”) for
quashing   of   FIR   No.121/14.7.2010   registered   under   Sections
307/324/323/34,IPC, on the basis of compromise dated 22.7.2013 entered
into between the petitioners ( who are accused in the  said  FIR)  and
respondent No.2 (who is the complainant).  The High Court has  refused
to exercise its extraordinary discretion invoking  the  provisions  of
Section 482 of the Code on the ground that four injuries were suffered
by the complainant and as per the opinion of the Doctor,  injury  No.3
were serious in nature.  The High Court, thus, refused to  accept  the
compromise entered into between the parties, the effect whereof  would
be that the petitioners would face trial in the said FIR.

2.    Leave granted.

3.    We have heard counsel for the parties at length.

4.    It may be stated at the outset that the petitioners herein,  who
are three in number, have been charged under various provisions of the
IPC including for committing offence punishable under Section 307, IPC
i.e. attempt to commit murder.  FIR No.121/14.7.2010  was  registered.
In the aforesaid FIR, the allegations against the petitioners are that
on 9.7.2010 at 7.00 A.M.  while  respondent  No.2  was  going  on  his
motorcycle to bring diesel from village Lapoke, Jasbir Singh, Narinder
Singh both sons of Baldev Singh and Baldev Singh son  of  Lakha  Singh
attacked him and injured him. Respondent No.2  was  admitted  in  Shri
Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar. After examination the doctor  found
four injuries on his person. Injury No.1 to 3  are  with  sharp  edged
weapons and injury No.4 is simple. From the statement of  injured  and
MLR’s report, an FIR under sections  323/324/34  IPC  was  registered.
After X-ray report relating to injury No.3, section 307 IPC was  added
in the FIR

5.     After  the  completion  of  investigation,  challan  has   been
presented in the Court against the petitioners and charges  have  also
been framed. Now the  case  is  pending  before  the  Ld.Trial  Court,
Amritsar, for evidence.

6.    During the pendency of trial proceedings, the  matter  has  been
compromised between the petitioners as well as the private  respondent
with the intervention of the Panchayat on 12.07.2013.    It  is  clear
from the above that  three  years  after  the  incident,  the  parties
compromised the matter with  intervention  of  the  Panchayat  of  the
village.

7.    It is on the basis of this  compromise,  the  petitioners  moved
aforesaid criminal petition under section 482 of the Code for quashing
of the said FIR.  As per the petitioners, the parties have settled the
matter, as they have decided to keep harmony between  them  to  enable
them to live with peace and love.  The compromise  records  that  they
have no grudge against each other and the complainant has specifically
agreed that he has no objection if the FIR  in  question  is  quashed.
Further, both the parties  have  undertaken  not  to  indulge  in  any
litigation against each other and withdraw all the complaints  pending
between the parties before the  court.   As  they  do  not  intend  to
proceed with any criminal case against each other, on that  basis  the
submission of the petitioners before the  High  Court  was  that   the
continuance of the criminal proceedings in the aforesaid FIR will be a
futile exercise and mere wastage of precious time of the court as well
as investigating agencies.

8.    The aforesaid submission, however,  did  not  impress  the  High
Court as the medical report depicts the injuries  to  be  of  grievous
nature. The question for consideration, in these circumstances, is  as
to whether the court should have accepted the  compromise  arrived  at
between the parties and quash the FIR as well as criminal  proceedings
pending against the petitioner.

9.    The ld. counsel  for  the  State  has  supported  the  aforesaid
verdict of the High Court arguing that since offence under Section 307
is non-compoundable, the respondents could  not  have  been  acquitted
only because of the reason  that  there  was  a  compromise/settlement
between  the  parties.   In  support,  the  learned  counsel  for  the
respondent-State has relied upon the judgment of  this  Court  in  the
case of Rajendra Harakchand Bhandari vs. State of  Maharashtra  (2011)
13 SCC 311 wherein this Court held that since  offence  under  Section
307 is not compoundable, even when the parties had settled the matter,
compounding of the offence was out of question.  Said settlement along
with other extenuating circumstances was only taken as the ground  for
reduction of the sentence in the following manner:

“We must immediately state that the offence under  Section
307 is not compoundable in terms of  Section  320(9)  of  the
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and, therefore,  compounding
of the offence in  the  present  case  is  out  of  question.
However, the circumstances pointed out by the learned  Senior
Counsel do persuade us for a lenient view in  regard  to  the
sentence. The incident occurred on 17.5.1991 and it is almost
twenty years since then. The appellants are agriculturists by
occupation and have no previous  criminal  background.  There
has  been  reconciliation  amongst  parties;  the   relations
between the appellants and the victim have become cordial and
prior to the appellants’ surrender,  the  parties  have  been
living peacefully in the village. The appellants have already
undergone the sentence of more  than  two-and-a  half  years.
Having regard to those circumstances, we are  satisfied  that
ends of justice will  be  met  if  the  substantive  sentence
awarded to the appellants is reduced to  the  period  already
undergone while maintaining the amount of fine.

Consequently,  while  confirming  the  conviction  of  the
appellants for the offences punishable under Section 307 read
with Section 34, Section 332 read with Section 34 and Section
353 read with Section 34, the substantive sentence awarded to
them by the High Court  is  reduced  to  the  period  already
undergone. The fine amount and the default stipulation remain
as it is.”

10.     The learned counsel for the  appellant,  on  the  other  hand,
submitted that merely because an  offence  is  non-compoundable  under
Section 320 of the Code would not mean that the High Court is  denuded
of its power to quash the proceedings in exercising  its  jurisdiction
under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C.  He argued that Section 320(9) of the
Code cannot limit or affect the power of the High Court under  Section
482 of the Cr.P.C.  Such a power is recognized by the Supreme Court in
catena of judgments. He further submitted that having  regard  to  the
circumstances in the present case where the fight had occurred on  the
spot in the heat of the moment inasmuch as both  sides  were  verbally
fighting when the petitioners had struck the victim, this assault  was
more of a crime against the individual than  against  the  society  at
large. He further submitted that this Court in Dimpey  Gujral v. Union
Territory through Administrator  2012 AIR SCW 5333 had quashed the FIR
registered under sections 147,148,149,323,307,452 and 506 of the  IPC.

11.   We find that there are cases where the power of the  High  Court
under Section 482 of the  Code  to  quash  the  proceedings  in  those
offences which are  uncompoundable  has  been  recognized.   The  only
difference is that under Section 320(1) of the Code, no permission  is
required from the Court in those cases which are  compoundable  though
the Court has discretionary power to refuse to compound  the  offence.
However, compounding under Section 320(1) of the Code  is  permissible
only in minor offences or in non-serious offences. Likewise, when  the
parties reach settlement in respect of offences enumerated in  Section
320(2) of the Code, compounding is permissible  but  it  requires  the
approval of the Court.  In so far as serious offences  are  concerned,
quashing  of  criminal  proceedings  upon  compromise  is  within  the
discretionary powers of the High Court.  In such cases, the  power  is
exercised under Section 482 of the Code and proceedings  are  quashed.
Contours of these powers were described by this Court in B.S.Joshi vs.
State of Haryana (2003)  4  SCC  675        which  has  been  followed
and further explained/elaborated in so many  cases  thereafter,  which
are  taken  note  of  in  the  discussion  that  follows  hereinafter.

12.   At the same time, one has to keep in mind the subtle distinction
between the power of compounding of  offences  given  to  Court  under
Section 320 of the Code and quashing of criminal  proceedings  by  the
High Court in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction conferred upon  it
under Section 482 of the Code.  Once, it is found that compounding  is
permissible only if a particular offence is covered by the  provisions
of Section 320 of the Code and the  Court  in  such  cases  is  guided
solitary and squarely by the compromise between the parties, in so far
as power of quashing under Section 482 of the Code is concerned, it 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.   Such  a
distinction is lucidly explained by a three-Judge Bench of this  Court
in Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab & Anr. (2012) 10 SCC  303.   Justice
Lodha, speaking for the Court, explained the  difference  between  the
two provisions in the following manner:

“Quashing of offence or criminal proceedings on the ground
of settlement between an offender and victim  is  not  the  same
thing as compounding of offence.  They  are  different  and  not
interchangeable. Strictly speaking, the power of compounding  of
offences given to  a  court  under  Section  320  is  materially
different from the quashing of criminal proceedings by the  High
Court in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction.  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.

B.S.Joshi, Nikhil Merchant,  Manoj  Sharma  and  Shiji  do
illustrate the principle that the High Court may quash  criminal
proceedings or FIR or complaint  in  exercise  of  its  inherent
power under Section 482 of the Code and  Section  320  does  not
limit or affect the powers of the High Court under Section  482.
Can  it  be  said  that  by  quashing  criminal  proceedings  in
B.S.Joshi, Nikhil Merchant, Manoj Sharma and  Shiji  this  Court
has compounded the non-compoundable offences indirectly?  We  do
not  think  so.  There  does  exist  the   distinction   between
compounding of an offence under Section 320 and  quashing  of  a
criminal case by the High Court in exercise  of  inherent  power
under Section 482. The two powers  are  distinct  and  different
although the ultimate consequence may be the same viz. acquittal
of the accused or dismissal of indictment.”

13.   Apart from narrating the interplay of Section  320  and  Section
482 of the Code in the manner aforesaid, the Court also described  the
extent of power under Section 482 of the Code in quashing the criminal
proceedings in those cases where the parties had  settled  the  matter
although the offences are not compoundable.  In the first instance  it
was emphasized that the power under Sec. 482 of the Code is not to  be
resorted to, if there is specific provision in the Code for  redressal
of the grievance of an aggrieved party.  It should be  exercised  very
sparingly and should not be exercised as against the  express  bar  of
law engrafted in any other provision of  the  Code.   The  Court  also
highlighted that in different situations, the inherent  power  may  be
exercised  in  different  ways  to  achieve  its  ultimate  objective.
Formation of opinion by the High Court before  it  exercises  inherent
power under Section 482 on either  of  the  twin  objectives,  (i)  to
prevent abuse of the process of any court, or (ii) to secure the  ends
of justice, is a sine qua non.

14.   As to under what circumstances the criminal proceedings in a non-
compoundable case be quashed when there is a  settlement  between  the
parties, the Court provided the following guidelines:

“Where the High Court quashes a criminal proceeding having
regard to the facts that the dispute between the offender  and
the victim has been settled  although  the  offences  are  not
compoundable, it does so as in its  opinion,  continuation  of
criminal proceedings will  be  an  exercise  in  futility  and
justice in the case  demands  that  the  dispute  between  the
parties is put to an end and peace is restored;  securing  the
ends of justice being the ultimate guiding factor.  No  doubt,
crimes are acts which have harmful effect on  the  public  and
consist in wrongdoing that seriously endangers  and  threatens
the well-being of the society and it is not safe to leave  the
crime-doer only because he and the  victim  have  settled  the
dispute  amicably  or  that   the   victim   has   been   paid
compensation, yet certain crimes have been  made  compoundable
in law, with or  without  the  permission  of  the  court.  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 the Prevention of
Corruption Act or the offences committed  by  public  servants
while working in that capacity,  the  settlement  between  the
offender and the victim can have no  legal  sanction  at  all.
However,   certain   offences   which    overwhelmingly    and
predominantly bear civil flavor 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 the victim  and  the  offender
and  the  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 FIR if it is satisfied  that  on  the
face of such settlement, there is hardly any likelihood of the
offender being convicted and  by  not  quashing  the  criminal
proceedings, justice shall be casualty  and  ends  of  justice
shall be defeated. The above  list  is  illustrative  and  not
exhaustive. Each case will depend on its own facts and no hard-
and-fast category can be prescribed.”

Thereafter, the Court summed up the legal position in the  following
words:

“The position that emerges from the  above  discussion  can  be
summarized 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  plentitude
with no statutory limitation but  it  has  to  be  exercised  in
accord with the guidelines engrafted in such power viz.: (i)  to
secure the ends of justice, or  (ii)  to  prevent  abuse  f  the
process of any court. In what cases power to quash the  criminal
proceeding or complaint  or  FIR  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 predominatingly
civil flavor 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 the 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
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.”

15. The Court was categorical that in respect of serious  offences  or
other offences of mental depravity or offence of merely dacoity  under
special statute, like the Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences
committed by Public Servant while working in that capacity.  The  mere
settlement between the parties would not be  a  ground  to  quash  the
proceedings by the High Court  and  inasmuch  as  settlement  of  such
heinous crime cannot have imprimatur of the Court.

16.   The question is as to whether  offence  under  Section  307  IPC
falls within the aforesaid parameters.  First limb of this question is
to reflect on the nature of  the  offence.   The  charge  against  the
accused in such cases is that he had attempted to  take  the  life  of
another person (victim).  On this touchstone, should  we  treat  it  a
crime of serious nature so as to  fall  in  the  category  of  heinous
crime, is the poser.

17.   Finding an answer to this question  becomes  imperative  as  the
philosophy and jurisprudence of sentencing is based thereupon.  If  it
is  heinous crime of serious nature then it has to  be  treated  as  a
crime against the society and not against the individual  alone.  Then
it becomes the solemn duty of the State to punish the crime doer. Even
if there is a settlement/compromise between the perpetrator  of  crime
and the victim, that is of no consequence. Law prohibits certain  acts
and/or conduct and treats them as  offences.   Any  person  committing
those acts is subject to penal consequences which may  be  of  various
kind. Mostly, punishment provided for committing  offences  is  either
imprisonment or monetary fine or both.  Imprisonment can  be  rigorous
or simple in nature.   Why  those  persons  who  commit  offences  are
subjected to such penal  consequences?  There  are  many  philosophies
behind such  sentencing  justifying  these  penal  consequences.   The
philosophical/jurisprudential  justification   can   be   retribution,
incapacitation,    specific    deterrence,     general     deterrence,
rehabilitation, or restoration.  Any of the above   or  a  combination
thereof can be the goal of sentencing.  Whereas in various  countries,
sentencing guidelines are provided, statutorily  or  otherwise,  which
may guide Judges for awarding specific sentence, in India  we  do  not
have any such sentencing policy till date.   The  prevalence  of  such
guidelines may not only aim at   achieving consistencies  in  awarding
sentences in different cases, such guidelines normally  prescribe  the
sentencing policy as well  namely  whether  the  purpose  of  awarding
punishment in a particular case is more of a deterrence or retribution
or rehabilitation etc.

18.   In the absence of such guidelines in India, Courts go  by  their
own perception about the philosophy behind the prescription of certain
specified penal consequences for particular nature of crime. For  some
deterrence and/or vengeance becomes  more  important  whereas  another
Judge may be more influenced by rehabilitation or restoration  as  the
goal of sentencing.  Sometimes, it would  be  a  combination  of  both
which would weigh in the mind of the Court in  awarding  a  particular
sentence. However, that may be question of quantum.
What follows from the discussion behind the purpose of  sentencing  is
that if a particular crime is to  be  treated  as  crime  against  the
society  and/or  heinous  crime,  then  the  deterrence  theory  as  a
rationale for punishing the offender  becomes  more  relevant,  to  be
applied in such cases.  Therefore, in respect of such  offences  which
are treated against the society, it becomes the duty of the  State  to
punish the offender.  Thus, even when there is  a  settlement  between
the offender and the victim, their will would not prevail as  in  such
cases the matter is  in  public  domain.   Society  demands  that  the
individual offender  should  be  punished  in  order  to  deter  other
effectively as it amounts to greatest good of the greatest  number  of
persons in a  society.   It  is  in  this  context  that  we  have  to
understand the scheme/philosophy behind Section 307 of the Code.

19.   We would like to expand this principle in some more  detail.  We
find, in practice and in reality, after recording the  conviction  and
while awarding the sentence/punishment the Court is generally governed
by any or all or combination of the aforesaid factors.  Sometimes,  it
is the deterrence theory which prevails in the  minds  of  the  Court,
particularly in those cases where the crimes committed are heinous  in
nature or depicts depravity, or lack  morality.  At  times  it  is  to
satisfy the element of  “emotion”  in  law  and  retribution/vengeance
becomes the guiding factor.  In any case, it cannot be denied that the
purpose  of  punishment  by  law   is   deterrence,   constrained   by
considerations  of  justice.  What,  then,  is  the  role  of   mercy,
forgiveness and compassion in law?  These are by no means  comfortable
questions and even the answers may not be comforting.   There  may  be
certain cases which are too obvious  namely  cases  involving  heinous
crime with element of criminality against the society and not  parties
inter-se.  In such cases, the  deterrence  as  purpose  of  punishment
becomes paramount and even if the victim or his relatives  have  shown
the virtue and gentility, agreeing to forgive the culprit,  compassion
of that private party would not move the court in accepting  the  same
as larger and more important public policy of showing the iron hand of
law to the wrongdoers, to reduce the commission of such  offences,  is
more important. Cases of murder, rape, or other sexual  offences  etc.
would clearly fall in this category.  After all, justice requires long
term vision.  On the other hand, there may be, offences falling in the
category where “correctional” objective of criminal law would have  to
be given more weightage  in  contrast  with  “deterrence”  philosophy.
Punishment, whatever else may be, must be fair and conducive  to  good
rather than further evil.  If in a particular case the Court is of the
opinion that the settlement between the parties  would  lead  to  more
good; better relations between them; would prevent further  occurrence
of such encounters between the parties, it may hold settlement  to  be
on a better pedestal.  It  is  a  delicate  balance  between  the  two
inflicting interests which is  to  be  achieved  by  the  Court  after
examining all these parameters and then deciding as to which course of
action it should take in a particular case.

20.   We may comment, at this stage, that in so far as the judgment in
the case of Bhandari (supra)  is  concerned,  undoubtedly  this  Court
observed that since offence under Section 307 is not  compoundable  in
terms of Section 320(9) of the Cr.P.C., compounding of the offence was
out of question.  However, apart from this observation, this aspect is
not discussed in detail.  Moreover, on reading para  12  of  the  said
judgment, it is clear that one finds that counsel for the appellant in
that case had not contested the conviction of the  appellant  for  the
offence under Section 307 IPC, but had mainly pleaded for reduction of
sentence by projecting mitigating circumstances.

21.   However,  we  have  some  other  cases  decided  by  this  Court
commenting upon the nature of offence under Section 307  of  IPC.   In
Dimpey  Gujral  case  (supra),   FIR   was   lodged   under   sections
147,148,149,323,307,552  and  506  of  the  IPC.    The   matter   was
investigated and final report was presented to the Court under Section
173 of the Cr.P.C. The trial court had even framed  the  charges.   At
that stage, settlement was arrived  at  between  parties.   The  court
accepted the settlement and   quashed the  proceedings,  relying  upon
the earlier judgment of this Court in Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab &
Anr. 2012 AIR SCW 5333 wherein the court had  observed  that  inherent
powers under section 482 of the Code are of wide  plentitude  with  no
statutory limitation and the guiding factors are: (1)  to  secure  the
needs of justice, or (2) to prevent abuse of  process  of  the  court.
While doing so, commenting upon the offences stated in  the  FIR,  the
court observed:

“Since the  offences  involved  in  this  case  are  of  a
personal nature and are not offences against the society, we had
enquired with learned counsel appearing for the parties  whether
there is any possibility of a settlement.  We are happy to  note
that due to efforts made by learned counsel, parties  have  seen
reason and have entered into a compromise.”

This Court, thus, treated such offences including  one  under  section
307, IPC were of a  personal  nature  and  not  offences  against  the
society.

22.    On the other hand, we have few  judgments  wherein  this  Court
refused to quash the proceedings in FIR registered under  section  307
IPC etc. on the ground that offence under section 307 was  of  serious
nature and would fall in the category of heinous crime.  In  the  case
of Shiji vs. Radhika & Anr. (2011) 10 SCC 705 the  Court  quashed  the
proceedings relating to an offence under  section  354  IPC  with  the
following observations:

“We have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused
the impugned order.  Section  320  of  the  Cr.P.C.  enlists
offences that are compoundable with the  permission  of  the
Court before whom the prosecution is pending and those  that
can be compounded even without such permission.  An  offence
punishable under Section 354 of  the  IPC  is  in  terms  of
Section 320(2) of the Code compoundable at the  instance  of
the woman against whom the offence  is  committed.  To  that
extent, therefore, there is no difficulty in either quashing
the proceedings or compounding  the  offence  under  Section
354, of which the appellants are accused, having  regard  to
the fact that the alleged victim of the offence has  settled
the  matter  with  the  alleged   assailants.   An   offence
punishable  under  Section  394   IPC   is   not,   however,
compoundable with or without the  permission  of  the  Court
concerned. The question is whether the High Court could  and
ought to have exercised its power under section 482 the said
provision in the light of the compromise  that  the  parties
have arrived at.”

23.   In a recent judgment in the  case  of  State  of  Rajasthan  vs.
Shambhu Kewat & Ors.  2013 (14) SCALE 235,  this  very  Bench  of  the
Court was faced with the situation where the High Court  had  accepted
the settlement between the parties in an  offence  under  Section  307
read with Section 34 IPC and set the accused at  large  by  acquitting
them.  The settlement was arrived at during  the  pendency  of  appeal
before the High Court against the order of conviction and sentence  of
the Sessions Judge holding the accused persons guilty of  the  offence
under Section307/34 IPC.  Some earlier cases of compounding of offence
under Section 307 IPC were  taken  note  of,  noticing  under  certain
circumstances, the Court  had  approved  the  compounding  whereas  in
certain other cases such a course of action was not accepted.  In that
case, this Court took the view that High Court was  not  justified  in
accepting the compromise and  setting  aside  the  conviction.   While
doing so, following discussion ensued:

“We find, in this case, such a situation does  not  arise.
In the instant case, the incident had  occurred  on  30.10.2008.
The trial court held  that  the  accused  persons,  with  common
intention, went to the shop of the injured Abdul Rashid on  that
day armed with iron rod and a strip of iron and, in  furtherance
of their common intention, had caused serious  injuries  on  the
body of Abdul Rashid, of which injury number 4 was on his  head,
which was of a serious nature.

Dr.Rakesh Sharma, PW5, had stated that out of the injuries
caused to Abdul Rashid, injury No.4 was an injury  on  the  head
and that injury was “grievous and fatal for life”. PW8, Dr. Uday
Bhomik, also opined that a grievous injury  was  caused  on  the
head of Abdul  Rashid.  DR.  Uday  conducted  the  operation  on
injuries of Abdul Rashid as a Neuro Surgeon and fully  supported
the opinion expressed by PW5 Dr. Rakesh Sharma that injury  No.4
was “grievous and fatal for life”.

We notice that the gravity of the injuries was taken  note
of by the Sessions Court and it had awarded the sentence  of  10
years rigorous imprisonment for  the  offence  punishable  under
Section 307 IPC, but not by the High Court. The High  Court  has
completely overlooked the various principles laid down  by  this
Court in Gian Singh (Supra), and  has  committed  a  mistake  in
taking the view that, the injuries were caused on  the  body  of
Abdul Rashid in a fight occurred at the spur and the heat of the
moment. It has been categorically held by  this  Court  in  Gian
Singh (supra) that the Court, while exercising the  power  under
Section 482, must have “due regard to the nature and gravity  of
the crime” and “the social  impact”.  Both  these  aspects  were
completely overlooked by the High Court. The  High  Court  in  a
cursory manner, without application of  mind,  blindly  accepted
the statement  of  the  parties  that  they  had  settled  their
disputes and differences and took the view that it was  a  crime
against “an individual”, rather than  against  “the  society  at
large”.

We are not prepared to say that the crime alleged to  have
been committed by the accused persons was  a  crime  against  an
individual, on the other hand it was a crime against the society
at large. Criminal law is designed as a mechanism for  achieving
social control and its purpose is the regulation of conduct  and
activities within the society. Why Section 307 IPC is held to be
non-compoundable, because the Code has identified which  conduct
should be brought within the ambit of non-compoundable offences.
Such provisions are not meant, just to protect  the  individual,
but the society as a whole. High Court was not right in thinking
that it was only an injury to the person and since  the  accused
persons had received the monetary compensation and  settled  the
matter, the crime as  against  them  was  wiped  off.   Criminal
justice system has a larger objective to achieve, that is safety
and protection of the people at large and it would be  a  lesson
not only to the offender, but to the  individuals  at  large  so
that such crimes would not be committed by  any  one  and  money
would not be a substitute for the crime  committed  against  the
society. Taking a lenient view on a  serious  offence  like  the
present, will  leave  a  wrong  impression  about  the  criminal
justice system and will encourage further criminal  acts,  which
will endanger the  peaceful  co-existence  and  welfare  of  the
society at large.”

24.    Thus, we find that in certain  circumstances,  this  Court  has
approved the quashing of proceedings under section 307,IPC whereas  in
some other cases, it is held  that as the offence is of serious nature
such proceedings cannot be quashed.  Though in each of  the  aforesaid
cases the view taken by this Court may be justified on its own  facts,
at the same time  this  Court  owes  an  explanation  as  to  why  two
different approaches are adopted in various cases.  The  law  declared
by this Court in the form of judgments becomes binding  precedent  for
the High Courts and the subordinate courts, to  follow  under  Article
141 of the Constitution of India.  Stare Decisis  is  the  fundamental
principle of judicial decision making which requires  ‘certainty’  too
in law  so that in a given set of facts the course of action which law
shall take is discernable and predictable.  Unless that  is  achieved,
the very doctrine of stare decisis will lose  its  significance.   The
related objective of the doctrine of stare decisis is to put a curb on
the personal preferences and priors of individual Judges.  In  a  way,
it achieves equality of treatment as well, inasmuch as  two  different
persons faced with similar  circumstances  would  be  given  identical
treatment at the hands of law.  It has, therefore,  support  from  the
human sense of justice as well.  The force of precedent in the law  is
heightened, in the words of Karl Llewellyn, by “that  curious,  almost
universal sense of justice which urges that all men are to be  treated
alike in like circumstances”.

25.   As there is a close relation between the equality  and  justice,
it should be clearly discernible as to how the two prosecutions  under
Section 307 IPC are  different  in  nature  and  therefore  are  given
different treatment.  With  this  ideal  objective  in  mind,  we  are
proceeding to discuss the subject at length.    It is for this  reason
we deem it appropriate to lay down some distinct, definite  and  clear
guidelines which can be kept in mind by the High Courts to take a view
as to under what circumstances it should accept the settlement between
the parties and quash the proceedings and under what circumstances  it
should refrain from doing so.  We make  it  clear  that  though  there
would be a general discussion in this behalf as well,  the  matter  is
examined in the context of offences under Section 307 IPC.

26.         The two rival parties have amicably settled  the  disputes
between themselves and buried the hatchet. Not  only  this,  they  say
that since they are neighbours, they want to live like good neighbours
and that was the  reason  for  restoring  friendly  ties.  In  such  a
scenario, should the court give its imprimatur to such  a  settlement.
The answer depends on various incidental aspects  which  need  serious
discourse.
The Legislators has categorically recognized that those offences which
are covered  by  the  provisions  of  section  320  of  the  Code  are
concededly those not only do not fall within the category  of  heinous
crime but also which are personal between the parties. Therefore, this
provision recognizes whereas there is a compromise between the parties
the Court is to act at the said compromise and quash the  proceedings.
However, even in respect of such offences not covered within the  four
corners of Section 320 of the Code, High Court is  given  power  under
Section 482 of the Code to accept the compromise between  the  parties
and quash the proceedings.  The guiding factor is as  to  whether  the
ends of justice  would  justify  such  exercise  of  power,  both  the
ultimate consequences may be acquittal  or  dismissal  of  indictment.
This is so recognized in various judgments taken note of above.

27.          In the case of Dimpey  Gujral  (supra),  observations  of
this Court to the effect that offences involved in that case were  not
offences against the society. It included charge under Section 307 IPC
as well.  However,  apart  from  stating  so,  there  is  no  detained
discussion on this aspect. Moreover, it is  the  other  factors  which
prevailed with the Court to accept  the  settlement  and  compound  he
offence, as noted above while discussing this case. On the other hand,
in Shambhu Kewat  (supra),  after  referring  to  some  other  earlier
judgments, this Court opined that commission of offence under  Section
307 IPC would be crime against the society at large, and not  a  crime
against an individual only. We find that in most of  the  cases,  this
view is taken. Even on first principle, we find  that  an  attempt  to
take the life of another person has to be treated as a  heinous  crime
and against the society.

28.   Having said so, we would hasten to  add  that  though  it  is  a
serious offence as the accused person(s) attempted to take the life of
another person/victim, at the same time the court cannot be  oblivious
to hard realities that many times whenever there is a quarrel  between
the parties leading to physical commotion and sustaining of injury  by
either or both the parties, there is a tendency to give it a slant  of
an offence under Section 307 IPC  as  well.  Therefore,  only  because
FIR/Charge-sheet incorporates the provision of Section 307  IPC  would
not, by itself, be a ground to reject the petition under  section  482
of the Code and refuse to accept the settlement between  the  parties.
We are, therefore, of the opinion that  while  taking  a  call  as  to
whether compromise in such cases should be effected or not,  the  High
Court should go by the nature of injury sustained, the portion of  the
bodies where the injuries were inflicted (namely whether injuries  are
caused at the vital/delicate parts of the  body)  and  the  nature  of
weapons used etc.  On that basis, if it  is  found  that  there  is  a
strong possibility of proving the charge under Section 307  IPC,  once
the evidence to that effect is led  and  injuries  proved,  the  Court
should not accept settlement between the parties.  On the other  hand,
on the basis of prima facie assessment of the aforesaid circumstances,
if the High Court forms an opinion that provisions of Section 307  IPC
were unnecessary included in the charge sheet, the  Court  can  accept
the plea of compounding of the offence based on settlement between the
parties.

29.   At this juncture, we would like also to add that the  timing  of
settlement would also play a  crucial  role.   If  the  settlement  is
arrived at immediately after the alleged commission  of  offence  when
the matter is  still  under  investigation,  the  High  Court  may  be
somewhat  liberal  in  accepting  the  settlement  and  quashing   the
proceedings/investigation.  Of course, it would be after looking  into
the  attendant  circumstances  as  narrated  in  the  previous   para.
Likewise, when challan is  submitted  but  the  charge  has  not  been
framed, the High Court may exercise  its  discretionary  jurisdiction.
However, at this stage, as mentioned above, since the  report  of  the
I.O. under Section 173,Cr.P.C. is also  placed  before  the  Court  it
would become the bounding duty of the Court to go into the said report
and the evidence collected, particularly the medical evidence relating
to injury etc. sustained by the victim.  This aspect,  however,  would
be examined along with another  important  consideration,  namely,  in
view of settlement between the parties, whether it would be unfair  or
contrary  to  interest  of  justice  to  continue  with  the  criminal
proceedings and whether possibility of conviction is remote and bleak.
If the Court finds the answer to this question in  affirmative,  then
also such a case would be a fit case for the High Court  to  give  its
stamp of approval to the compromise arrived at  between  the  parties,
inasmuch as in such  cases  no  useful  purpose  would  be  served  in
carrying out the criminal proceedings which in  all  likelihood  would
end in acquittal, in any case.

30.   We have found that  in  certain  cases,  the  High  Courts  have
accepted the compromise between the parties when the matter in  appeal
was pending before the High Court against the conviction  recorded  by
the trial court.  Obviously, such cases are those  where  the  accused
persons have been found guilty by the trial  court,  which  means  the
serious charge of Section 307 IPC has been  proved  beyond  reasonable
doubt at the level of  the  trial  court.   There  would  not  be  any
question of accepting compromise and acquitting  the  accused  persons
simply because the private parties have buried the hatchet.

31.   In view of the aforesaid discussion, we sum up and lay down  the
following principles by which the High Court would be guided in giving
adequate  treatment  to  the  settlement  between  the   parties   and
exercising its power under Section 482 of the Code while accepting the
settlement and quashing the proceedings  or  refusing  to  accept  the
settlement with direction to continue with the criminal proceedings:

(I) Power conferred under Section 482  of  the  Code  is  to  be
distinguished from the power which lies in the Court to  compound  the
offences under Section 320 of the Code. 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 caution.

(II)When the parties have reached the  settlement  and  on  that
basis petition for quashing the criminal  proceedings  is  filed,  the
guiding factor in such cases would be to secure:

(i) ends of justice, or

(ii) to prevent abuse of the process of any Court.

While exercising the power the High Court is to  form  an  opinion  on
either of the aforesaid two objectives.

(III) Such a power is not be  exercised  in  those  prosecutions
which involve 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. Similarly, for
offences alleged to have been committed under special statute like the
Prevention of Corruption Act  or  the  offences  committed  by  Public
Servants while working in that capacity are not to be  quashed  merely
on the basis of compromise between the victim and the offender.

(IV) On the other, those criminal  cases  having  overwhelmingly
and pre-dominantly civil character, particularly those arising out  of
commercial transactions or arising out of matrimonial relationship  or
family disputes should be quashed when the parties have resolved their
entire             disputes             among              themselves.
(V) While exercising its powers, the High Court is to  examine  as  to
whether  the  possibility  of  conviction  is  remote  and  bleak  and
continuation  of  criminal  cases  would  put  the  accused  to  great
oppression and prejudice and extreme injustice would be caused to  him
by        not        quashing        the        criminal        cases.
(VI) Offences under Section 307 IPC would fall in the
category of heinous and  serious  offences  and  therefore  is  to  be
generally treated as crime against the society  and  not  against  the
individual alone. 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  proving  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. Medical report in respect of injuries suffered by the victim
can generally be the guiding factor. On the basis of this prima  facie
analysis, the High Court can examine as to whether there is  a  strong
possibility of conviction or the chances of conviction are remote  and
bleak. In the former case it can refuse to accept the  settlement  and
quash the criminal proceedings whereas in the later case it  would  be
permissible for the High Court to  accept  the  plea  compounding  the
offence based on complete settlement  between  the  parties.  At  this
stage, the Court can also be swayed by the fact  that  the  settlement
between the parties is going to result in harmony between  them  which
may improve their future relationship.

(VII) While deciding whether to exercise its power under Section
482 of the Code or not, timings of settlement  play  a  crucial  role.
Those cases where the settlement is arrived at immediately  after  the
alleged  commission  of  offence  and  the  matter  is   still   under
investigation,  the  High  Court  may  be  liberal  in  accepting  the
settlement to quash  the  criminal  proceedings/investigation.  It  is
because of the reason that at this stage the investigation is still on
and even the charge sheet has not been filed.  Likewise,  those  cases
where the charge is framed but the evidence is yet  to  start  or  the
evidence  is  still  at  infancy  stage,  the  High  Court  can   show
benevolence in exercising its powers favourably, but after prima facie
assessment of the circumstances/material mentioned above. On the other
hand, where the prosecution evidence is almost complete or  after  the
conclusion of the evidence the matter is at  the  stage  of  argument,
normally the High Court should refrain from exercising its power under
Section 482 of the Code, as in such cases the trial court would be  in
a position to decide  the  case  finally  on  merits  and  to  come  a
conclusion as  to  whether  the  offence  under  Section  307  IPC  is
committed or not. Similarly, in those cases where  the  conviction  is
already recorded by the trial court and the matter is at the appellate
stage before the High Court, mere compromise between the parties would
not be a ground to accept the  same  resulting  in  acquittal  of  the
offender who has already been  convicted  by  the  trial  court.  Here
charge is proved under Section  307  IPC  and  conviction  is  already
recorded of a heinous crime and, therefore, there is  no  question  of
sparing a convict found guilty of such a crime.

32.    After  having  clarified  the  legal  position  in  the  manner
aforesaid, we proceed to discuss the case at hand.

33.   In the present case, FIR No.121 dated 14.7.2010  was  registered
under  Section  307/324/323/34  IPC.   Investigation  was   completed,
whereafter challan was presented in the court against  the  petitioner
herein.  Charges have also been framed; the case is at  the  stage  of
recording  of  evidence.   At  this  juncture,  parties  entered  into
compromise on the basis of which petition under  Section  482  of  the
Code was filed by the  petitioners  namely  the  accused  persons  for
quashing of the criminal proceedings under the said FIR.  As  per  the
copy of the settlement which was annexed along with the petition,  the
compromise  took  place  between  the  parties   on   12.7.2013   when
respectable members of the Gram Panchayat held  a  meeting  under  the
Chairmanship of Sarpanch.  It is stated that on  the  intervention  of
the  said  persons/Panchayat,  both  the  parties  were   agreed   for
compromise and have also decided to live with  peace  in  future  with
each other.  It was argued that since the parties have decided to keep
harmony between the parties so that in future they are  able  to  live
with peace and love and they are the residents of  the  same  village,
the High Court should have accepted the said compromise and quash  the
proceedings.

34.   We find from the impugned  order  that  the  sole  reason  which
weighed with the High Court  in  refusing  to  accept  the  settlement
between the parties was the nature of  injuries.  If  we  go  by  that
factor alone, normally we would tend to agree with  the  High  Court’s
approach. However, as pointed out hereinafter,  some  other  attendant
and inseparable circumstances also need  to  be  kept  in  mind  which
compel us to take a different view.

35.   We have gone through the FIR as well which was recorded  on  the
basis of statement of the complainant/victim.  It gives an  indication
that the complainant was attacked allegedly  by  the  accused  persons
because of some previous dispute between the parties, though nature of
dispute etc. is not  stated  in  detail.  However,  a  very  pertinent
statement appears on  record  viz.,  “respectable  persons  have  been
trying for    a compromise up till now, which could not be finalized”.
This becomes an important aspect.  It appears that  there  have  been
some disputes which led to  the  aforesaid  purported  attack  by  the
accused on the complainant. In this context  when  we  find  that  the
elders of the village, including Sarpanch, intervened  in  the  matter
and the parties have not only buried their hatchet but have decided to
live peacefully in future, this becomes  an  important  consideration.
The evidence is yet to be led in the Court. It has not  even  started.
In view of compromise between parties, there is a  minimal  chance  of
the witnesses coming forward in support of the prosecution case.  Even
though nature of injuries can still be established  by  producing  the
doctor as witness who conducted medical  examination,  it  may  become
difficult to prove as to who caused these  injuries.  The  chances  of
conviction, therefore, appear to be remote. It  would,  therefore,  be
unnecessary to drag these proceedings. We, taking  all  these  factors
into  consideration  cumulatively,  are  of  the  opinion   that   the
compromise  between  the  parties  be  accepted   and   the   criminal
proceedings arising out of FIR No.121 dated 14.7.2010 registered  with
Police Station LOPOKE, District Amritsar Rural be  quashed.  We  order
accordingly.

36.       Appeal is allowed. No costs.

………………………………J.
(K.S.Radhakrishnan)

………………………………J.
(A.K.Sikri)
New Delhi,
March 27, 2014

Section 482 of criminal Procedure Code

– Saving of inherent power of High Court.

Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

The law in regard to exercise of the powers of this Court under Section 482 CrPC to quash criminal cases involving non-compoundable offences is well-settled. In B.S. Joshi v. State of Haryana the Supreme Court held that where the criminal cases have been registered under Sections 406 and 498A IPC as a result of matrimonial discord and there is a settlement arrived at between the parties it would be against the interests of the woman and the object for which Section 498A was enacted if the High Court did not, in such circumstances, quash the proceedings. It said (JT p.284): There is every likelihood that non-exercise of inherent power to quash the proceedings to meet the ends of justice would prevent women from settling earlier. 10. Following this decision, a five-judge Bench of this Court held in Ramesh Kumar v. State 2003 IV AD (Del) 377 that criminal cases involving matrimonial offences could be quashed under Section 482 CrPC. But the position in regard to other kinds of criminal cases is not so categorical. In a short order in Inspector of Police, CBI v. B. Raja Gopal.

Judgment of Delhi High Court;

Jugal Kishore Sharma vs State And Ors. on 15 January, 2008

Author: S Muralidhar

Bench: S Muralidhar

JUDGMENT

S. Muralidhar, J.

1. This is a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.PC) seeking the quashing of a criminal complaint, the consequent FIR No. 204 of 2002 under Sections 420/468/471/34 IPC registered at P.S. Hazrat Nizamuddin, New Delhi and all consequent proceedings.

2. The ground on which the quashing sought is that the accused as well as the complainant have arrived at a settlement and in the circumstances the continuation of the criminal proceedings is not warranted.

3. On 25th July 2007 this Court passed the following order:

It is stated that parties have compromised. Mr. P.C. Sood, the complainant is present in Court. He stated that the other complainant, Shri R.C. Sood, his brother has also consented to the terms of the compromise and that they do not wish to proceed further in the matter.

The request for quashing was opposed by the learned APP who adverted to the circumstances whereby one Chand Kumar Verma, the complainant’s tenant faced a decree by this Court and was required to vacate the premises on 31.12.2000. According to the allegations, the present petitioner/accused, contrived a situation and allegedly forged documents which led to harassment of the complainants; they had to face further civil proceedings in which the petitioner claimed specific performance of an alleged agreement. The suit was dismissed on 23.12.2000. According to the learned APP, investigations revealed that the documents presented were forged.

Let the IO verify as to the medical condition of the petitioners. Counsel for the petitioners shall also produce relevant documents about their medical condition before the next date of hearing.

4. The reference to the medical condition of the petitioner in the above order was in the context of the plea that the petitioner was in poor health and the continuation of the criminal proceedings despite the settlement would, in those circumstances, not be just and fair. The medical report of Dr. S. Raghavan, Chief Medical Officer (NFSG) Neurologist, Department of Neurology, Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi has been placed on record. It does not indicate any abnormality having been detected in the petitioner Shri Jugal Kishore Sharma. In other words, the health of the petitioner cannot certainly constitute a ground for quashing of the criminal complaint and consequent proceedings.

5. The reference to the forged documents in the above order is to three documents shown by the petitioner to have been executed by the complainant and his brother in favor of the petitioner, when in fact they did not execute any such document. These were: (a) an agreement to sell the property in question (b) a receipt for Rs. 5000 and (c) a pay-in slip on which the signature of the complainant was forged. Since forgery would, if proved, constitute a grave offence, this Court by its order dated 17th December 2007 directed that the report of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) be produced. Mr. Pawan Behl, learned APP appearing for the State, today informed the Court that the CFSL report has since been received and filed in the trial court. After examining the record, he informed that that the CFSL report confirms that there has been a forgery of the documents in question and therefore supports the prosecution of the petitioner for the commission of the offences under Sections 468 and 471 IPC. Mr. Behl objected to the quashing of the criminal proceedings notwithstanding the fact that the parties have settled their disputes.

7. Learned counsel for the complainant has relied upon two orders passed by this Court in which, according to him, this Court has exercised its jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC and quashed criminal proceedings involving offences under Sections 468 and 471 IPC. The first is an order dated 6th December, 2005 passed by this Court in Crl M.C. 5725-29 of 2005 (M/s. Continental Spinners Limited v. State) and the second is an order dated 9th October, 2006 passed in Crl M C. 5029-31/2006 (Savitri Devi v. State).

8. This Court finds that in neither of the above two orders is there any reference to a report of the CFSL supporting the commission of the offences under Sections 468 and 471 IPC. More importantly, the orders do not refer to any opposition by the counsel for the State to the quashing of the criminal proceedings.

9. Both the offences under Sections 468 and 471 IPC are non-compoundable under Section 320 CrPC. The law in regard to exercise of the powers of this Court under Section 482 CrPC to quash criminal cases involving non-compoundable offences is well-settled. In B.S. Joshi v. State of Haryana the Supreme Court held that where the criminal cases have been registered under Sections 406 and 498A IPC as a result of matrimonial discord and there is a settlement arrived at between the parties it would be against the interests of the woman and the object for which Section 498A was enacted if the High Court did not, in such circumstances, quash the proceedings. It said (JT p.284): There is every likelihood that non-exercise of inherent power to quash the proceedings to meet the ends of justice would prevent women from settling earlier.

10. Following this decision, a five-judge Bench of this Court held in Ramesh Kumar v. State 2003 IV AD (Del) 377 that criminal cases involving matrimonial offences could be quashed under Section 482 CrPC. But the position in regard to other kinds of criminal cases is not so categorical. In a short order in Inspector of Police, CBI v. B. Raja Gopal 2003 SCC (Cri) 1238, the Supreme Court held that merely because monies had been repaid to the complainant Bank it could not be held that the criminal prosecution cannot proceed.

11. This Court’s attention has been drawn to the judgments of this Court in Ajay Kumar v. State 2006 (2) JCC 1073; Sanjay Goel v. State 2006 (2) JCC 1127 and G. Udayan Dravid v. State 2007 (1) JCC 127. It is contended that in these cases although the offences were under Sections 468 and 471, this Court exercised its inherent powers under Section 482 and quashed the criminal proceedings. It must be straightway noticed that in Ajay Kumar and Sanjay Goel although the facts narrated do indicate that the offences involved included Sections 468 and 471, there is no reference to any objection raised by the State to the quashing of the proceedings or to any evidence gathered, like the report of the CFSL, which supported the case of the prosecution. In G. Udayan Dravid the offences were under Sections 406 and 120B IPC and not Sections 468 and 471.

12. In Central Bureau of Investigation, SPE, SIU (X) New Delhi v. Duncans Agro Industries Ltd., Calcutta , the Supreme Court upheld a judgment of the Calcutta High Court by which the FIR registered against the respondent company for offences under Sections 120B read with Sections 409, 420, 467, 468 and 471 IPC was quashed in exercise of the powers under Section 482 CrPC. However, on a perusal of the judgment in that case, it appears that the decision of the Supreme Court did not turn so much on any report of the CFSL. The manner of dealing with the issue concerning the offences under Sections 468 and 471 IPC is evident from paras 22 and 26 in the said decision in Duncans Agro Industries which read as under:

22. Coming to the question of offences under Sections 467, 468 and 471 I.P.C. Mr. Shanti Bhushan has also submitted that no offence under the aforesaid Sections even prima facie, has been committed even on the face value of the allegations in the FIR. Mr. Shanti Bhushan has submitted that it is the case of the CBI that since it is stated in the FIR that Shri D.K. Sengupta had signed the memorandum as Chief Manager which post was not occupied by him, an offence of forgery has been committed. It was alleged in the FIR that Mr. D.K. Sengupta had issued a memorandum of complete satisfaction of the charge even though there had been no repayment whatsoever. Mr. Shanti Bhushan has submitted that such statement is erroneous and cannot be sustained. It has been submitted by Mr. Shanti Bhushan that in view of the order of the High Court under Section 394(2) of the Companies Act, the liabilities of the Tobacco Division of DAIL got transferred to the new company, i.e. New Tobacco Company. There was, thus a statutory discharge of the liabilities of M/s. DAIL and the memorandum of complete satisfaction was properly issued even though there had not been any repayment of the loan by M/s. DAIL. Mr. Shanti Bhushan has submitted that notice may be taken by the Court to the usual practice of the Bank that when formal document is issued in the name of the Chief Manager, the Officer dealing with the matter, i.e. Asstt. Manager, puts his signature on the document, on behalf of the higher officer. Such signature on a document, on behalf of the high officer by lower officer who specifically deals with it is in the usual course of business of the Bank and no element of forgery can be assigned on account of such signature by a junior officer of the Bank…

26. After giving our careful consideration to the facts and circumstances of the case and the submissions made by the respective counsel for the parties, it appears to us that for the purpose of quashing the complaint, it is necessary to consider whether the allegations in the complaint prima facie make out an offence or not. It is not necessary to scrutinise the allegations for the purpose of deciding whether such allegations are likely to be upheld in the trial. Any action by way of quashing the complaint is an action to be taken at the threshold before evidences are led in support of the complaint. For quashing the complaint by way of action at the threshold, it is, therefore, necessary to consider whether on the face of the allegations, a criminal offence is constituted or not. In recent decisions of this Court, in the case of Bhajan Lal (supra), P.P. Sharma (supra) and Janta Dal (supra), since relied on by Mr. Tulsi, the guiding principles in quashing a criminal case have been indicated.

13. The Supreme Court ultimately concluded in Duncans Agro Industries as under:

29. In the facts of the case, it appears to us that there is enough justification for the High Court to hold that the case was basically a matter of civil dispute. The Banks had already filed suits for recovery of the dues of the Banks on account of credit facility and the said suits have been compromised on receiving the payments from the concerned companies. Even if an offence of cheating is prima facie constituted, such offence is a compoundable offence and compromise decrees passed in the suits instituted by the Banks, for all intents and purposes, amount to compounding of the offence of cheating. It is also to be noted that long time has elapsed since the complaint was filed in 1987. It may also be indicated that although such FIRs were filed in 1987 and 1989, the Banks have not chosen to institute any case against the alleged erring officials despite allegations made against them in the FIRs. Considering that the investigations had not been completed till 1991 even though there was no impediment to complete the investigations and further investigations are still pending and also considering the fact that the claims of the Banks have been satisfied and the suits instituted by the Banks have been compromised on receiving payments, we do not think that the said complaints should be pursued any further. In our view, proceeding further with the complaints will not be expedient. In the special facts of the case, it appears to us that the decision of the High Court in quashing the complaints does not warrant any interference under Article 136 of the Constitution. We, therefore, dismiss these appeals.

14. It is difficult for this Court to accept the contention that the decision of the Supreme Court in Duncan Agro is an authority for the proposition that in all cases where the complainant and the accused have settled their disputes, the High Court should exercise its powers under Section 482 CrPC to quash the criminal case notwithstanding the nature and type of offence and the stage at which the case is. The highlighted portions of the paragraphs extracted indicate that the Supreme Court proceeded on the footing that the offence of cheating was compoundable, that there was an enormous delay in completing the investigation, that the case was basically a civil dispute and that the decision was in the special facts of the case. The facts in the case on hand are, however, different. There was no occasion for the Supreme Court in that case to consider a situation, like the one obtaining in the present case, where there is evidence in the form of a CFSL Report strongly supporting the case of the prosecution for the commission of the offence of forgery. Secondly, the nature of the allegations in the FIR indicate that this was not a purely civil dispute as was the case in Duncans Agro.

15. In Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia v. Sambhajirao Chandrajirao Angre , it was explained by the Supreme Court that it was for the High Court while exercising its power under Section 482 CrPC to consider whether it was expedient and in the interests of justice to permit the prosecution to continue. One of the factors mentioned by the Supreme Court is whether, in the opinion of the court, chances of an ultimate conviction is bleak and, therefore, no useful purpose is likely to be served by allowing a criminal prosecution to continue. Applying this decision to the facts on hand it requires to be acknowledged that for proving forgery, the prosecution does not have to rely only upon the evidence of the complainant; it can be proved even by the report of the CFSL. This is not therefore a case where the chances of ultimate conviction are rendered bleak on account of the complainant having settled the matter with the accused.

16. This court cannot be unmindful of the fact that in criminal cases there are only two parties, viz., the accused and the State. When one of the parties i.e. State is not agreeable to the quashing of the proceedings, and the evidence that has been gathered supports the continuation of the trial for the offences of forgery and use of forged documents under Sections 468 and 471 IPC respectively, it would not be appropriate for this Court to exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC to quash the criminal proceedings only on the ground that the accused and the complainant have settled their disputes. While each case has been to be examined for its peculiar facts, the larger interests of justice and the rule of law will also have to be borne in mind. The offence of forgery is not merely against the party who is misled as a result of the use of such forged document but against the State as such.

17. For the aforementioned reasons, this Court finds merit in the objection raised by learned APP for the State to the quashing of the criminal proceedings in this case. Accordingly, the petition stands dismissed and the pending application stands disposed of.

pa� o � 0ߘ under Sections 120B read with Sections 409, 420, 467, 468 and 471 IPC was quashed in exercise of the powers under Section 482 CrPC. However, on a perusal of the judgment in that case, it appears that the decision of the Supreme Court did not turn so much on any report of the CFSL. The manner of dealing with the issue concerning the offences under Sections 468 and 471 IPC is evident from paras 22 and 26 in the said decision in Duncans Agro Industries which read as under:

22. Coming to the question of offences under Sections 467, 468 and 471 I.P.C. Mr. Shanti Bhushan has also submitted that no offence under the aforesaid Sections even prima facie, has been committed even on the face value of the allegations in the FIR. Mr. Shanti Bhushan has submitted that it is the case of the CBI that since it is stated in the FIR that Shri D.K. Sengupta had signed the memorandum as Chief Manager which post was not occupied by him, an offence of forgery has been committed. It was alleged in the FIR that Mr. D.K. Sengupta had issued a memorandum of complete satisfaction of the charge even though there had been no repayment whatsoever. Mr. Shanti Bhushan has submitted that such statement is erroneous and cannot be sustained. It has been submitted by Mr. Shanti Bhushan that in view of the order of the High Court under Section 394(2) of the Companies Act, the liabilities of the Tobacco Division of DAIL got transferred to the new company, i.e. New Tobacco Company. There was, thus a statutory discharge of the liabilities of M/s. DAIL and the memorandum of complete satisfaction was properly issued even though there had not been any repayment of the loan by M/s. DAIL. Mr. Shanti Bhushan has submitted that notice may be taken by the Court to the usual practice of the Bank that when formal document is issued in the name of the Chief Manager, the Officer dealing with the matter, i.e. Asstt. Manager, puts his signature on the document, on behalf of the higher officer. Such signature on a document, on behalf of the high officer by lower officer who specifically deals with it is in the usual course of business of the Bank and no element of forgery can be assigned on account of such signature by a junior officer of the Bank…

26. After giving our careful consideration to the facts and circumstances of the case and the submissions made by the respective counsel for the parties, it appears to us that for the purpose of quashing the complaint, it is necessary to consider whether the allegations in the complaint prima facie make out an offence or not. It is not necessary to scrutinise the allegations for the purpose of deciding whether such allegations are likely to be upheld in the trial. Any action by way of quashing the complaint is an action to be taken at the threshold before evidences are led in support of the complaint. For quashing the complaint by way of action at the threshold, it is, therefore, necessary to consider whether on the face of the allegations, a criminal offence is constituted or not. In recent decisions of this Court, in the case of Bhajan Lal (supra), P.P. Sharma (supra) and Janta Dal (supra), since relied on by Mr. Tulsi, the guiding principles in quashing a criminal case have been indicated.

13. The Supreme Court ultimately concluded in Duncans Agro Industries as under:

29. In the facts of the case, it appears to us that there is enough justification for the High Court to hold that the case was basically a matter of civil dispute. The Banks had already filed suits for recovery of the dues of the Banks on account of credit facility and the said suits have been compromised on receiving the payments from the concerned companies. Even if an offence of cheating is prima facie constituted, such offence is a compoundable offence and compromise decrees passed in the suits instituted by the Banks, for all intents and purposes, amount to compounding of the offence of cheating. It is also to be noted that long time has elapsed since the complaint was filed in 1987. It may also be indicated that although such FIRs were filed in 1987 and 1989, the Banks have not chosen to institute any case against the alleged erring officials despite allegations made against them in the FIRs. Considering that the investigations had not been completed till 1991 even though there was no impediment to complete the investigations and further investigations are still pending and also considering the fact that the claims of the Banks have been satisfied and the suits instituted by the Banks have been compromised on receiving payments, we do not think that the said complaints should be pursued any further. In our view, proceeding further with the complaints will not be expedient. In the special facts of the case, it appears to us that the decision of the High Court in quashing the complaints does not warrant any interference under Article 136 of the Constitution. We, therefore, dismiss these appeals.

14. It is difficult for this Court to accept the contention that the decision of the Supreme Court in Duncan Agro is an authority for the proposition that in all cases where the complainant and the accused have settled their disputes, the High Court should exercise its powers under Section 482 CrPC to quash the criminal case notwithstanding the nature and type of offence and the stage at which the case is. The highlighted portions of the paragraphs extracted indicate that the Supreme Court proceeded on the footing that the offence of cheating was compoundable, that there was an enormous delay in completing the investigation, that the case was basically a civil dispute and that the decision was in the special facts of the case. The facts in the case on hand are, however, different. There was no occasion for the Supreme Court in that case to consider a situation, like the one obtaining in the present case, where there is evidence in the form of a CFSL Report strongly supporting the case of the prosecution for the commission of the offence of forgery. Secondly, the nature of the allegations in the FIR indicate that this was not a purely civil dispute as was the case in Duncans Agro.

15. In Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia v. Sambhajirao Chandrajirao Angre , it was explained by the Supreme Court that it was for the High Court while exercising its power under Section 482 CrPC to consider whether it was expedient and in the interests of justice to permit the prosecution to continue. One of the factors mentioned by the Supreme Court is whether, in the opinion of the court, chances of an ultimate conviction is bleak and, therefore, no useful purpose is likely to be served by allowing a criminal prosecution to continue. Applying this decision to the facts on hand it requires to be acknowledged that for proving forgery, the prosecution does not have to rely only upon the evidence of the complainant; it can be proved even by the report of the CFSL. This is not therefore a case where the chances of ultimate conviction are rendered bleak on account of the complainant having settled the matter with the accused.

16. This court cannot be unmindful of the fact that in criminal cases there are only two parties, viz., the accused and the State. When one of the parties i.e. State is not agreeable to the quashing of the proceedings, and the evidence that has been gathered supports the continuation of the trial for the offences of forgery and use of forged documents under Sections 468 and 471 IPC respectively, it would not be appropriate for this Court to exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC to quash the criminal proceedings only on the ground that the accused and the complainant have settled their disputes. While each case has been to be examined for its peculiar facts, the larger interests of justice and the rule of law will also have to be borne in mind. The offence of forgery is not merely against the party who is misled as a result of the use of such forged document but against the State as such.

17. For the aforementioned reasons, this Court finds merit in the objection raised by learned APP for the State to the quashing of the criminal proceedings in this case. Accordingly, the petition stands dismissed and the pending application stands disposed of.