Sunday, 7 April 2019

Whether court has discretion to refuse compounding of compoundable offence?

 Having heard the learned counsel on both sides we have
perused the impugned judgment and also other material placed
on record. It was the case of the prosecution that in the
beneficial scheme introduced for poor persons under
residential scheme an amount of Rs.9800/- was sanctioned
during the year 1991-92 to the complainant. It is the
specific case of the complainant that though she was to be
paid entire Rs.9800/-, but appellant misled her and procured
her signature and made payment of only Rs.4000/- and he has
utilised rest of the amount for himself for his personal
benefit and gain. Merely because an offence is compoundable
under Section 320 Cr.PC, still discretion can be exercised by
the court having regard to nature of offence, as such it is
rightly held in the impugned judgment that as the offence for
which appellant was convicted and sentenced, it will have its
own effect on the society at large. In view of the reasons

recorded in the impugned order rejecting the application for
compounding, it cannot be said that the High Court has
committed any error in not accepting the application filed
for compounding the offence.

NON-REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL No(s). 465 OF 2019
(Arising out of SLP(Crl.) No(s).125 of 2017)

BHAGYAN DAS  Vs THE STATE OF UTTARAKHAND 

R. SUBHASH REDDY, J.:
Dated:MARCH 11, 2019.

1. Leave granted.
2. This appeal is filed by the sole accused in Criminal
Case No.307 of 2006 on the file of Chief Judicial Magistrate,
Uttarkashi, aggrieved by the judgment dated 21st November 2016
passed in Criminal Revision No.168 of 2009 by the High Court
of Uttarakhand at Nainital.
3. The case in nutshell against the appellant-accused is as
follows.
4. Government granted the finance of Rs.9800/- in the year
1991-92 under the Poor Persons Residential Scheme, among
others, to Smt. Deveshwari Devi. Out of the said amount,
Rs.4600/- were in the form of debt and remaining amount of
Rs.5200/- was in the form of assistance (non-refundable) to
the Government. During the relevant time, the appellantaccused
– Bhagyan Das was working as Village Development
Officer (V.D.O). As per the Scheme, the whole amount had to
be withdrawn by joint signatures of beneficiary and V.D.O.
2
It is the case of the prosecution that appellant Bhagyan Das,
misusing his position of a Government servant, procured the
signature of Smt. Deveshwari Devi and misled her and paid
only Rs.4000/- and thus he utilised the rest of the amount
for his personal benefit and gain.
5. Pursuant to a complaint lodged by Smt. Deveshwari Devi
by registering First Information Report and on completion of
investigation, chargesheet was filed against the appellantaccused
in Criminal Case No.307 of 2006 on the file of the
Chief Judicial Magistrate for the offences punishable under
Sections 409 and 420B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The
trial court acquitted the accused for offence under Section
409 IPC but convicted him for offence under Section 420 IPC
and sentenced him to undergo two years’ rigorous imprisonment
and also imposed a fine of Rs.2000/-.
6. Aggrieved by the conviction recorded and sentence
imposed, the appellant has preferred Criminal Appeal No.18 of
2009 before the learned Sessions Judge. The learned Sessions
Judge did not interfere with the finding of conviction.
However, he modified the quantum of sentence by reducing it
from two years’ rigorous imprisonment to one year, and
sustained the imposition of fine.
7. Challenging both the judgments, i.e., judgment of the
trial court as modified by the appellate court, the appellant
has filed criminal revision petition in Criminal Revision
No.168 of 2009 before the High Court of Uttarakhand at
Nainital. In the aforesaid Criminal Revision, Compounding

Application (CRMA 1937 of 2016) was filed seeking compounding
of the offence, supported by the affidavit of the appellantaccused
– Bhagyan Das and Smt. Deveshwari Devi. Though both
parties have appeared before the High Court in person and
sought compounding of the offence, the High Court, by
recording a finding that, it is not a case which leaves its
effect only on the complainant – Smt. Deveshwari Devi, but to
the society at large, has declined to compound the offence by
order dated 21.11.2016. While rejecting the application for
compounding, the High Court also dismissed the Criminal
Revision itself.
8. We have heard Sri Shyam D. Nandan, learned counsel
appearing for the appellant, and Sri Jatinder Kumar Bhatia,
learned counsel appearing for respondent-State and also
perused the impugned judgment and the entire materials placed
on record.
9. Even in this appeal, it is argued by learned counsel for
the appellant that in view of the provision under Section 320
of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the offence under Section
420 IPC is compoundable with the permission of the court. It
is further argued by learned counsel, that while dismissing
the application for compounding, High Court has dismissed the
Criminal Revision also without considering the various
grounds raised in the Revision Petition. It is further
submitted that the alleged incident was of the year 1991-92,
but the complaint was lodged belatedly on 05th of November
2004. Further it is submitted that appellant is a senior

citizen and the High Court has committed error in dismissing
the Criminal Revision without considering the same on merits.
On the other hand, learned counsel appearing for the
State has submitted that, merely because an offence is
compoundable under Section 320 Cr.PC, if the offence for
which the appellant is convicted has its adverse social
impact on the society, it need not be compounded. It is
further submitted that as much as Criminal Revision is also
dismissed by the High Court, no case is made out in this
appeal to interfere with the conviction recorded and sentence
imposed on the appellant.
10. Having heard the learned counsel on both sides we have
perused the impugned judgment and also other material placed
on record. It was the case of the prosecution that in the
beneficial scheme introduced for poor persons under
residential scheme an amount of Rs.9800/- was sanctioned
during the year 1991-92 to the complainant. It is the
specific case of the complainant that though she was to be
paid entire Rs.9800/-, but appellant misled her and procured
her signature and made payment of only Rs.4000/- and he has
utilised rest of the amount for himself for his personal
benefit and gain. Merely because an offence is compoundable
under Section 320 Cr.PC, still discretion can be exercised by
the court having regard to nature of offence, as such it is
rightly held in the impugned judgment that as the offence for
which appellant was convicted and sentenced, it will have its
own effect on the society at large. In view of the reasons

recorded in the impugned order rejecting the application for
compounding, it cannot be said that the High Court has
committed any error in not accepting the application filed
for compounding the offence.
11. At the same time it is to be noticed that alleged
incident was of the year 1991-92 and complaint was lodged
belatedly on 05th of November 2004, nearly 12 years after
occurrence of incident. Having regard to facts and
circumstances of the case and considering the age of the
appellant, we are of the considered view that while
confirming the conviction recorded by the courts below, it is
a fit case to modify the sentence imposed on the appellant
for the period already undergone. Ordered accordingly.
Further, we affirm the amount of fine imposed on the
appellant.
12. For the aforesaid reasons, this appeal is partly
allowed, by modifying the sentence imposed on the appellant,
as referred above. The judgment of the trial court, as
confirmed by the appellate court and High Court, stands
modified to the extent indicated above.
........................J.
[R. BANUMATHI]
........................J.
[R. SUBHASH REDDY]
NEW DELHI,
MARCH 11, 2019.
Print Page

No comments:

Post a comment