In this case, the Supreme Court has reiterated that heinous and serious offences cannot be quashed under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure solely on the ground that the dispute was settled amicably between the parties.
Case name: The State of Madhya Pradesh v. Laxmi Narayan and ors.
The State in the instant case has assailed High Court’s order, whereby the High Court in exercise of its powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, has quashed the proceedings against the accused for offences under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC solely on the ground that accused and the complainant have settled the disputes amicably.
The Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court condemned the High Court’s order in view of the facts of the case and made the following observations in the case:
- The Supreme Court noted that the offences alleged were non-compoundable offences as per Section 320 of the CrPC and that the High Court has not at all considered the relevant facts and circumstances of the case, more particularly the seriousness of the offences and its social impact. Thus, the High Court has mechanically quashed the FIR.
- That the High Court has not at all considered the distinction between a personal or private wrong and a social wrong and the social impact.
- While referring to plethora of judgments on the issue, the Apex Court noted that the High Court has not at all taken pains to scrutinise the entire conspectus of facts in proper perspective and has quashed the criminal proceedings mechanically. That the quashing of the FIR by the High Court in the present case for the offences under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC, and that too in exercise of powers under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. is just contrary to the law laid down by this Court in a catena of decisions.
- When can Non- Compoundable offences be quashed? The Supreme Court while elucidating on High Court’s inherent power to quash FIR under Section 482 of the Code noted that to quash the criminal proceedings for the non-compoundable offences under Section 320 of the Code can be exercised having overwhelmingly and predominantly the civil character, particularly those arising out of commercial transactions or arising out of matrimonial relationship or family disputes and when the parties have resolved the entire dispute amongst themselves.
- That power under Section 482 of CrPC is not to be exercised in those prosecutions which involved heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. Such offences are not private in nature and have a serious impact on society. Similarly, such power is not to be exercised for the offences under the special statutes like Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity are not to be quashed merely on the basis of compromise between the victim and the offender.
- Finally, the Court held that Offences under Section 307 IPC and the Arms Act etc. would fall in the category of heinous and serious offences and therefore are to be treated as crime against the society and not against the individual alone, and therefore, the criminal proceedings for the offence under Section 307 IPC and/or the Arms Act etc. which have a serious impact on the society cannot be quashed in exercise of powers under Section 482 of the Code, on the ground that the parties have resolved their entire dispute amongst themselves.