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Compromise between complainant and accused does not mean that the criminal case would always end in acquittal
The State of Madhya Pradesh Vs Dhruv Gurjar and another
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.336 OF 2019 (Arising from SLP(Criminal) No.9859/2013)
About/from the judgment:
“In a given case, it may happen that the prosecution still can prove the guilt by leading cogent evidence and examining the other witnesses and the relevant evidence/material, more particularly when the dispute is not a commercial transaction and/or of a civil nature and/or is not a private wrong.”
The Supreme Court has observed that, in every case, it cannot be concluded that there would be no conviction in a criminal case, if the complainant and the accused arrive in a compromise.
In two cases, the High Court relied on a Supreme Court judgment in Shiji @ Pappu and others vs.Radhika, to conclude that there was no chance of recording conviction against the accused persons, in view of the compromise arrived between the complainant and the accused. The State had approached the Apex court against two High Court orders which quashed the FIRs alleging non-compoundable offences including Sections 307, 294 of the Indian Penal Code.
The bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice MR Shah observed that, in the instant cases, the High Court misread or misapplied the Judgment in Shiji Case to the facts of the cases on hand. It said:
"The High Court ought to have appreciated that it is not in every case where the complainant has entered into a compromise with the accused, there may not be any conviction. Such observations are presumptive and many a time too early to opine. In a given case, it may happen that the prosecution still can prove the guilt by leading cogent evidence and examining the other witnesses and the relevant evidence/material, more particularly when the dispute is not a commercial transaction and/or of a civil nature and/or is not a private wrong. In the case of Shiji (supra), this Court found that the case had its origin in the civil dispute between the parties, which dispute was resolved by them and therefore this Court observed that, 'that being so, continuance of the prosecution where the complainant is not ready to support the allegations…will be a futile exercise that will serve no purpose'."
The court said that the said judgment may not be applicable in a case where the offences alleged are very serious and grave offences, having a social impact like offences under Section 307 IPC and 25/27 of the Arms Act etc. The bench, therefore, held that, the High court erred in mechanically quashing the FIRs by observing that in view of the compromise, there are no chances of recording conviction and/or the further trial would be an exercise in futility. The bench also said:
"The High Court has not at all considered the fact that the offences alleged were non-compoundable offences as per Section 320 of the Cr.P.C. From the impugned judgments and orders, it appears that the High Court has not at all considered the relevant facts and circumstances of the case, more particularly the seriousness of the offences and its social impact. From the impugned judgments and orders passed by the High Court, it appears that the High Court has mechanically quashed the respective FIRs, in exercise of its powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The High Court has not at all considered the distinction between a personal or private wrong and a social wrong and the social impact."
Read the Judgment
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