Saturday, 13 March 2021

Whether the court should set aside conviction if there is a compromise between convict and victim after conviction in a non-compoundable offence?

 While answering Question (A) we may observe in the light of the settled legal position as under :

At the conclusion of the criminal trial the Court on finding the  evidence on record led by the prosecution to be sufficient to prove the guilt of the accused would proceed to convict the accused. The remedy of challenging the order of conviction is available to the accused by way of an appeal. Any compromise entered into post-conviction for a non-compoundable offence cannot by itself result in acquittal of the accused. Similarly, the Court has no power to compound any offence that is non-compoundable and not permitted to be compounded under Section 320 of the Code. The compromise entered into therefore is just a mitigating factor that can be taken into account while hearing the appeal/revision challenging the conviction and which factor has to be taken into consideration while imposing appropriate punishment/sentence. It is not permissible to set aside the judgment of conviction at the appellate/revisional stage only on the ground that the parties have entered into a compromise. In a given case the appellate Court/revisional Court also has the option of not accepting the compromise. Thus if the judgment of conviction cannot be set aside in an appeal/revision only on the ground that the parties have entered into a compromise similar result cannot be obtained in a proceeding under Section 482 of the Code.

Hence, we hold that ordinarily the contention that the convict and the informant/complainant have entered into a compromise after the judgment of conviction can be raised only before the appellate/revisional Court in proceedings challenging such conviction. It would be a sound exercise of discretion under Section 482 of the Code and in accordance with the law of the land to refuse to quash criminal proceedings post-conviction for a non- compoundable offence only on the ground that the parties have entered into a compromise. Instead the Court can permit the convicted party to bring to the notice of the appellate/revisional Court the aspect of compromise. Having said so, it is only in rarest of rare cases that the Court may quash the criminal proceedings post-conviction for a non-compoundable offence on settlement between the convict and the informant/complainant. To illustrate, where a jurisdictional issue going to the root of the matter is raised for challenging the conviction or in matrimonial disputes where the parties have agreed to settle their differences, jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code could be exercised. Such exercise of jurisdiction should be limited to the rarest of rare cases when found necessary to prevent the abuse of the process of the Court or to secure the ends of justice. Thus while holding that inherent power under Section 482 of the Code could be exercised for quashing criminal proceedings even at the appellate/revisional stage as held in Kiran T. Ingale (supra) such exercise of jurisdiction should be limited to the extent stated hereinabove. The ratio of the decision in Kiran T. Ingale (supra) has to be applied subject to aforesaid limitations. Further, the expression "criminal proceedings" would cover the entire journey of the proceedings commencing from its initiation till the proceedings culminate giving it seal of finality. Question (A) is answered accordingly.{Para 33}

Bombay High Court
Maya Sanjay Khandare And Another vs State Of Maharashtra, Thr Police ... on 5 January, 2021

Bench: A.S. Chandurkar, V. G. Joshi, Nitin B. Suryawanshi
Citation: 2021(1) MHLJ 613.
Read full Judgment here: Click here
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