The parties to a dispute who have reached an agreement can petition the High
Court for the quashing of criminal proceedings, FIRs, or complaints based on the
compromise. The High Court has the inherent power under Section 482 CrPC to
issue necessary orders to prevent abuse of the judicial process or to secure the
goals of justice.
While exercising this power, the High Court must form a view
on one of two purposes that serve as guiding factors for quashing:
- Securing the ends of Justice, or
- Preventing abuse of court's procedure.
When might a court quash criminal proceedings based on a compromise?
The Supreme Court has outlined and defined numerous scenarios and parameters for
quashing an FIR based on a compromise. In Narinder Singh vs. State of Punjab
(2014) 6 SCC 466 and Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab
(2012) 10 SCC 303, the court
considered when to exercise such power and when not to.
The power to quash non-compoundable offences under Section 320 of the Code can
be used in the following situations:
- cases with an overwhelmingly and predominantly civil character;
- cases arising from commercial transactions;
- disputes arising out of matrimonial relationships;
- family disputes and when the parties have resolved the entire dispute
When courts cannot dismiss criminal proceedings based on a compromise? In the following situations, such power cannot be used:
- Prosecutions involving heinous and serious mental depravity
offences, such as murder, rape, and dacoity, as such offences are not private in nature and have a
serious impact on society;
- Offences under special statutes, such as the Prevention of
Corruption Act, or offences committed by public servants while serving
in that capacity, are not to be quashed merely because the victim and
the offender reached an agreement;
Other Relevant Factors to be considered by the Court While exercising power
under section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code: The High Court is required to consider:
- the accused's antecedents;
- the accused's conduct;
- whether the accused was absconding; and how the accused managed,
with the help of the victim, to quash the criminal proceedings in
respect of non-compoundable offences that are private in nature and do
not have a serious impact on society, on the grounds that there is a
settlement/compromise between the victim and the offender.
Is it possible to have an offence under section 307 IPC quashed because of a
The Hon'ble Supreme Court held in the case of State of Madhya Pradesh vs Laxmi
Naryan and others, Criminal Appeal No.349 of 2019, that criminal proceedings for
offences under Section 307 IPC and/or the Arms Act, etc. that have a serious
impact on society cannot be quashed in the exercise of powers under Section 482
of the Code on the ground that the parties have resolved.
The High Court, on the
other hand, will not make its determination only on the basis of the FIR's
reference to Provision 307 IPC or the charge's formulation under this section.
The High Court will have to assess whether the incorporation of Section 307 IPC
is justified or whether the prosecution has accumulated sufficient evidence to
support a charge under Section 307 IPC if proven.
The type of the injury
experienced, whether the injury was inflicted on vital/delegated body parts, and
the nature of the weapons used may all be taken into account by the High Court.
The High Court may, however, exercise this power only after the evidence has
been acquired during the investigation and the charge sheet/charge has been
filed/framed, as well as during the trial. The High Court cannot carry out these
proceedings while the case is still being investigated.
The inherent jurisdiction of the High Court to quash a criminal trial, FIR, or
complaint is distinct from the power conferred to a criminal court under Section
320 of the Code to compound offences. While inherent power has no statutory
boundaries, it must be used in conformity with the rules enshrined in it, namely
to achieve the goals of justice or to prevent misuse of any court's procedure.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, the ability to quash the
criminal process, complaint, or FIR may be exercised if the accused and the
victim have resolved their dispute.