High Court Can Set Aside Conviction on Compromise in a Non Compoundable Offence Only in Rare Cases

On Tuesday, a Full Bench of the Bombay High Court ( Nagpur Bench ) High Courts while exercising their inherent powers u/s 482 cannot set aside an accused’s conviction in non compoundable offence on the ground that the complainant and accused compromised at a post-conviction stage.

The Bench clarified that Court’s could set aside the conviction only in rarest of rare cases depending upon the circumstances and facts of the case.

Background:-

The case was referred to the full Bench after a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court held that Courts should rarely exercise power u/s 482 of CrPc for setting aside and quashing the conviction order.

Questions of Reference before the Full Bench:-

  • Can High Courts use their power u/s 482 CrPc if the parties have compromised?
  • Whether the parameters/principles set out in Gian Singh vs the State of Punjab and another, Narinder Singh vs State of Punjab and Parbatbhai Aahir and others vs the State of Gujarat has been correctly applied in deciding Udhav Kisanrao Ghodse and Shivaji Haribhau Jawanjal?

Arguments raised before the Court:-

Counsel for the applicants argued that the High Court could use its power u/s 482 CrPc even after conviction, to end a dispute when the complainant and accused have settled. It is further argued that in such cases, the reformative theory has to be taken into consideration. Reliance was placed on Shivaji Haribhau judgement.

It is also argued that the Narinder Singh and Gian Singh case did not deal with the same subject matter as in those cases settlement was done before conviction and not after the conviction, as in this case. Another contention was that if proceedings u/s 482 are entertained despite the availability of appellate remedy, it will transgress the courts’ appellate jurisdiction.

Observations of the Court

On Scope of Section 482 CrPc:-

The Bench observed that Gian Singh case was regarding quashing a non-compoundable offence u/s 482 after parties settled; however, use of power u/s 482 would depend upon each case’s circumstance and facts.

While referring to the Narinder Singh Case, the Court observed that while quashing cases where the offence was private and did not profoundly impact society, the Court should look into the criminal history of the accused and how he compromised with the victim.

Whether compromise is enough to set aside the conviction?

The Bench relied on Ram Pujan & Ors. Vs State of UP and held that CrPC does not empower revisional court/appellate court to acquit a convict on the ground that the victim and the convict have entered into a compromise.

Court’s Observations about the broader principles.

Hon’ble Court relied on Surender Nath Mohanty & Anr vs the State of Orissa, wherein the Supreme Court held that a compromise between the parties after a conviction could be considered by Court to reduce the sentence and not for setting aside the conviction.

The Bench held since it’s clear that a compromise cannot be used by the parties to set aside the conviction, setting aside an order of the conviction is contrary to dictum set in Surendra Nath Mohanty & Anr.

Case Details:

Title: Saumaya Sanjay Khandare & Anr. vs the State of Maharashtra

Case No.:CRIMINAL APPLICATION (APL) NO. 709/2020

Date of Order:05.01.2021

Coram: Hon’ble Justice NB Suryavanshi, Hon’ble Justice Vinay Joshi and Hon’ble Justice AS Chandurkar

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