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Criminal Proceedings Can Be Quashed Even Post-Conviction u/s 482 CRPC: Kerala High Court

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Excerpt 

The Kerala high court, on April 27, 2021, held during a criminal proceeding that, the category of offences termed to be prohibited in the pronouncements of Apex Court to be compounded exercising power u/s 482 of CrPC. The dispute was personal in nature and the victim was no more interested in carrying on with the criminal proceedings therefore the proceedings can be quashed even post-conviction.

Facts 

The Appellant along with other six others was punished by the court for offences under sections 143,147,149,326,307 r/w Section 149 of IPC on the allegations under unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapons. The court had pronounced him only to be guilty and punishable under section 326 of IPC and was convicted for the same. The rest of the accused was not found guilty under any offence and therefore were acquitted.

Arguments 

When the appeal came up for the final hearing, the appellant filed an application under section 482 and 320of CrPC asking to quash the entire proceeding as he and the victim had settled the dispute.

The Appellant further stated that Section 482 of CrPC can be applied to quash any kind of criminal proceedings, be it compoundable or non-compoundable at any period. It can be done even after post-conviction if the convict and victim come into an amicable settlement.

Court’s Observation 

The court observed that the inherent power under section 482 of CrPC for quashing criminal proceedings are broad to be exercised with an intend to secure justice, there cannot be limitations on such powers for being exercised only before the conviction of the accused.

The court further observed that merely because the order was not pending it cannot be a ground to exercise powers u/s 482 to quash a criminal proceeding especially when the parties to the dispute have agreed on a settlement. 

The requirements of S.482 of Cr. P.C needs to be satisfied to be considered necessary to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or to secure justice. The criminal proceedings involving non-compoundable offence could be quashed even if the order of conviction has already passed against the accused provided that the offence does not fall in the category of offences prohibited or compounding in terms of the pronouncement of the Apex Court in Gian Singh, Narinder Singh and Laxmi Narayan.

Court’s Decision 

The Court said that the accused in this case was not convicted due to any offence that caused mental depravity or was heinous in nature as murder, rape, etc. Therefore, it doesn’t fall under the category that objects to the pronouncement of the Apex court to be compounded exercising the power u/s.482. The dispute here was personal in nature and the victim itself was not interested in continuing the proceedings. Therefore, the court quashed the criminal proceedings against the accused.

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