Saturday, January 5, 2019

Cannot quash proceedings for offence under Section 307 IPC on the ground of settlement, Supreme Court

The Supreme Court yesterday held that criminal proceedings in a case of attempt to murder under Section 307 of Indian Penal Code cannot be quashed on the ground that the complainant and accused have settled the dispute.
Noting that the offence of attempt to murder under Section 307 is a non-compoundable offence, the Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah allowed the appeal filed by the State of Madhya Pradesh in this case.
The appeal was preferred against the judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which had quashed the proceedings against four persons who were accused under Sections 307 and 294 read with Section 34 of the IPC.
The complainant had filed a criminal complaint against the accused persons which was registered in Gwalior District in 2013. After registration of the complaint, the main accused filed for bail which was rejected by the Sessions Judge.
However, the main accused then approached the High Court of Madhya Pradesh praying that the criminal proceedings against him be quashed. It was submitted by him before the High Court that the dispute between him and the complainant has been settled amicably and therefore the proceedings must be quashed.
To support this prayer, an affidavit by the complainant was submitted before the High Court which stated that the complainant had no objection to dropping of charges against the Accused.
The High Court, in the exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) quashed the proceedings on the sole ground that the complainant does not wish to prosecute further since the dispute stands settled.
The same was opposed by the State before the High Court and aggrieved by the said judgment.

The Court observed that not only is the offence under Section 307 non-compoundable but the specific instance recorded is very serious in nature. One of the accused persons is said to have fired shots twice and another accused has severe criminal antecedents.
“It is required to be noted that the original Accused was facing the criminal proceedings under Sections 307, 294 read with Section 34 of the IPC. It is not in dispute that as per Section 20 of the Cr.PC offences under Sections 307, 294 read with Section 34 of the IPC are non­compoundable. It is also required to be noted that the allegations in the complaint for the offences under Sections 307, 294 read with Section 34 of the IPC are, as such, very serious. It is alleged that the accused fired twice on the complainant by a country­made pistol. From the material on record, it appears that one of the accused persons was reported to be a hardcore criminal having criminal antecedents.” 
The Supreme Court noted that the Madhya Pradesh High Court erred in its judgment by quashing the proceedings.
“we are of the opinion that the High Court has committed a grave error in quashing the criminal proceedings for the offences under Section 307, 294 read with Section 34 of the IPC solely on the ground that the original Complainant and the accused have settled the dispute.”
The Court, therefore, set aside the High Court’s order and allowed the appeal thereby paving the way for the criminal proceedings to continue in accordance with the law.

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