The High Court of Allahabad, vide its order dated 9th September 2020, quashed the entire proceeding in State vs Shakeel and Ors., and other orders regarding the matter. The proceeding was quashed, as the parties came into a compromise amongst themselves.
Background of the Case
Perusing the orders dated 7th August 2020 and 17th June 2020, it was stated that the parties of the case, State v. Shakeel and others, entered into a compromise. The parties intended for the proceedings as well as the pending trial to be quashed. Furthermore, from the order per se, it has been clearly stated that both parties have cleared the air. The parties are ready to bury their differences and disputes.
Submissions before the Court
The present application was filed under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedural Code to quash the impugned charge sheet (dated 6th August 2015) and the cognizance order (dated 5th October 2019). The parties prayed for the quashing of the entire proceedings of the case, State v. Shakeel and others. Charges were filed under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code: s/323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing Hurt), s/324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), s/504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the Peace), s/506 (Punishment for Criminal Intimidation), s/308 (Attempt to commit culpable homicide).
The FIR was filed at the Police Station of Kannauj, and the case was pending before the Court of Judicial Magistrate, Kannauj in terms of compromise dated 20th January 2020. The Counsel submitted that if the parties still carry on with proceedings of the case even after they’ve come to a consensus and compromised, it will not serve any purpose to anybody in keeping the matter alive and pending. The Counsel further drew attention to various judicial precedents on the matter regarding the same.
Observations of the Court
Given the above submissions at the Court, learned Judge Rahul Chaturvedi directed to quash all the aforesaid impugned orders and proceedings of the case. The Bench stated that keeping it alive does not serve any useful purpose to anybody. The said order observed several broad principles concerning the exercise of powers under Section 482 of CrPC. This section details the powers of the Court in case of a compromise/settlement between the parties.
In its order, the Bench observed the following, taking stock of the principles mentioned in the precedents set by the Supreme Court:
● Section 482 preserves the inherent powers of the High Court to prevent abuse of the process of any court or to secure the ends of justice. The provision does not confer new powers. It only recognizes and preserves powers which inherent with the High Court.
● The invocation of the jurisdiction of the High Court to quash a First Information Report or a criminal proceeding on the ground that a settlement has been arrived at between the offender and the victim is not the same as the invocation of jurisdiction to compound an offence. While compounding an offence, the power of the Court is governed by the provisions of Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The power to quash under Section 482 is attracted even if the offence is non-compoundable.
● While forming an opinion whether a criminal proceeding or complaint should be quashed in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482, the High Court must evaluate whether the ends of justice would justify the exercise of the inherent power,
● The decision as to whether a complaint or First Information Report should be quashed on the ground that the offender and victim have settled the dispute revolves ultimately on the facts and circumstances of each case The Court observed that no exhaustive elaboration of principles could be formulated.
● As distinguished from serious offences, there may be criminal cases which have an overwhelming or predominant element of a civil dispute. They stand on a distinct footing in so far as the exercise of the inherent power to quash is concerned.
● Criminal cases involving offences which arises from a commercial, financial, mercantile, partnership or similar transactions with an essentially civil flavour may in appropriate situations fall for quashing where parties have settled the dispute.
The Court allowed the present petition and ordered for the pending trial before the Judicial Magistrate to be quashed. The Court further gave a limit of twenty days for this order to be transmitted to the Lower Court.
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