Tuesday, October 11, 2016

new guidelines on quashing of fir u/s 482 of Cr.P.C. by supreme court of india.



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