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Natrajan Sundaresan vs The State Of Maharashtra And Anr on 18 April, 2017

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IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPLICATION No. 50 OF 2014

Shri Natrajan Sundaresan …. Petitioner
vs
1 State of Maharashtra,
through Public Prosecutor,
High Court, Criminal Appellate Side,

2 Mrs. Shadi Natarajan …. Respondents

Mr. Gaurav Palkar I/by Mr. Prasad Kulkarni Associates for the
petitioner.

Mr. J. P. Yagnik, APP for respondent No.1-State.

Mr. Makrand Kale, Advocate for respondent No.2.

CORAM: ANOOP V. MOHTA AND
RAVINDRA V. GHUGE,JJ.

DATE : April 18, 2017

ORAL JUDGMENT (Per Anoop V. Mohta, J.):

1 The Petitioner-husband has filed this Petition for quashing

and setting aside FIR bearing No. 282/2012, registered under

Section 498A, 323 and 504 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) with Yerwada

Police Station, Pune in the following background:

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During December, 1993 the Petitioner (husband) met Mrs.

Shad Natrajan (nee Masrour) (the wife) (Respondent No.2) who is a

Muslim of Iranian origin. They got married in London, U.K. The

marriage was registered at Ealing Registration District in UK. In

1994, the Petitioner and Respondent No.2 came back to India after the

marriage. They have a daughter (15 years) and a son (10 years)

from this wedlock.

2 On 5th June, 2012, the Petitioner returned home early and

to his utter shock, dismay and disbelief, he caught the wife and Mr.

Navjeet Sharma committing adultery. On 18 th June, 2012, ironically,

instead of taking any action against the wife and her paramour, the

Police registered the impugned FIR bearing FIR No. 282/12 under

sections 498-A, 323 and 504 of IPC against the Petitioner in Yerwada

Police Station, based on a complaint filed by the wife. On 27 th

August 2012, the learned Sessions Court confirmed the interim

Anticipatory Bail to the Petitioner.

3 The parties have ultimately settled the issues. On

16.12.2016, the Petitioner and Respondent No.2, have filed a joint

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Petition for divorce by mutual consent under Section 28 of the Special

Marriages Act, 1954 read with Section 18 of the Foreign Marriage Act,

1969.

4 The Petitioner has filed the present Petition on 13.01.2014.

Affidavit dated 10.03.2017 is also filed by the wife (respondent No.2)

with the specific averments about amicable settlement including the

fact of presenting the joint petition for divorce by mutual consent.

The Petitioner has also placed on record an affidavit dated

17.04.2017.

5 The Petitioner and respondent No.2 both are present in

Court with their counsel and make statement that they have settled

the matter and accordingly filed the joint petition for settlement

before the Family Court and affidavit in this Court for settlement.

Compounding of non-compoundable offences.

6 The offences which are compoundable as contemplated

under Section 320 of Criminal Procedure Code (Cr PC), there is no

issue with regard to the passing of an appropriate order based upon

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the settlement between the parties. The offences which are not

compoundable, in the present case like Section 498-A of Indian Penal

Code, are always a matter of discussion. However, we have to see and

consider the facts of the case including the background of litigations,

specifically when the same revolve around the matrimonial dispute

between the parties. The law in this regard is settled by various

decisions. There are various judicial pronouncements by the

Supreme Court as well as High Court in regard to the power of High

Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and/or under

Section 482 of Cr PC.

Matrimonial disputes

7 We are concerned in the present case with the matrimonial

dispute and stated offences arising out of the relationship. The

following are the cases where in matrimonial matters, though offences

are non-compoundable, yet in view of the

settlement/compromise/consent decree, the Supreme Court and the

High Courts, have passed the compounding/settlement order by

invoking Articles 142/226 of the Constitution of India read with 482

of Cr. PC and quash and set aside the respective FIR/criminal

proceedings. Some of the judgments of the Supreme Court are as

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under:

(1) B. S. Joshi and ors v. State of Haryana and anr.1,

This was a case under Section 498-A, 323 and 406 of of

Criminal Procedure Code.

“12 The special features in such matrimonial matters are

evident. It becomes the duty of the court to encourage

genuine settlements of matrimonial disputes.”

(2) Gian Singh v. State of Punjab and anr.2

“61 ….. In other words, the High Court must consider

whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest of

justice to continue with the criminal proceeding or

continuation of the criminal proceeding would tantamount

to abuse of process of law despite settlement and

compromise between the victim and the wrongdoer and

whether to secure the ends of justice, it is appropriate that

the criminal case is put to an end and if the answer to the

above question (s) is in the affirmative, the High Court

shall be well within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal

proceedings.

1 (2003) 4 SCC 675
2 (2012) 10 SCC 303

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62 In view of the above, it cannot be said that B.

S. Joshi (2003)4 SCC 675; Nikhil Merchant, (2008) 9 SCC

677 and Manoj Sharma, (2008) 16 SCC 1 were not

correctly decided. We answer the reference accordingly.

Let the matters be now listed before the Bench(es)

concerned.”

(3) Jitendra Raghuvanshi vs. Babita Raghuvanshi3

“17 In the light of the above discussion,w e hold that the

High Court in exercise of its inherent powers can quash the

criminal proceedings or FIR or complaint in appropriate

cases in order to meet the ends of justice and Section 320

of the Code does not limit or affect the powers of the High

Court under Section 482 of the Code. ….”

This was a case also under Section 498-A, 406 read with

Section 34 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

  (4)           Yogendra Yadav v. State of Jharkhand4

"4 .....However, when the High Court is convinced that

3 (2013) 4 SCC 58
4 (2014) 9 SCC 653

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the offences are entirely personal in nature and, therefore,

do not affect public peace or tranquility and where it feels

that quashing of such proceedings on account of

compromise would bring about peace and would secure

ends of justice, it should not hesitate to quash them. In

such cases, the prosecution becomes a lame prosecution.

Pursuing such a lame prosecution would be waste of time

and energy. That will also unsettle the compromise and

obstruct restoration of peace."

(5) Gold Quest International Private Limited v. State of Tamil

Nadu and ors.5

"8 In view of the principle laid down by this Court in

the aforesaid cases, we are of the view that in the disputes

which are substantially matrimonial in nature, or the civil

property disputes with criminal facets, if the parties have

entered into settlement, and it has become clear that there

are no chances of conviction, there is no illegality in

quashing the proceedings under Section 482 Cr PC read

with Article 226 of the Constitution. ...."

5 (2014) 15 SCC 235

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CONCLUSION:

8 It is to be noted that there cannot be automatic

compounding of offences. The parties/victims must forward a

proposal, as prescribed under Section 320 of Cr PC to settle and get

the offences compounded. So far as the non-compounding offences

are concerned, ordinarily the Court has no power to compound it, as it

would amount to passing order beyond the scheme and object of

Section 320 of Cr PC. However, in view of Article 226 of the

Constitution of India, Section 482 of Cr PC, in the given facts the High

Court may pass an appropriate order, based upon the consent terms

and settlement, including of setting aside and/or quashing of such

criminal proceedings. The Courts, in above decisions, have also

noted, on given facts, when the contesting parties themselves have

settled the disputes/conflicts and arrived at the settlement and

reflected it in writing, the continuation of such criminal proceedings

would amount to a futile exercise/ordeal. Apart from the prolonged

trial, ultimately, the learned Judge and/or Judges may require to face

various difficulties in passing the final order for and/or against the

same parties, who have settled the matter. In a matrimonial matters,

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wherein parties have arrived at settlement, all the consequential

disputes/conflicts need to be settled and concluded at the earliest to

give fruitful result to their settlement/compromise/consent terms.

Any pendency and specifically for and against the same parties and

their relations would certainly hamper and delay the matrimonial

settlements and conflicts. In the present case, Section 498-A is the

main Section, which is non-compoundable. The offences are

registered on the belated afterthought complaint filed by the wife in

the above background and as both the parties have arrived at

settlement, we are inclined to quash and set aside the FIR so lodged

against the husband-Petitioner, to enable the parties to resolve the

matrimonial/conflicts. In matrimonial matters, an

accused/complainant/victim may be accused of many such allegations

or counter allegations, by the other party and/or vice versa.

However, ultimately as wisdom prevailed and and they have decided

to settle the matters, which will lead into peace of minds to whole

family.

9 The concerned parties themselves decided to settle the

dispute and accordingly reflected the same in the consent terms. This

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is required to be treated as a foundation for granting the prayer so

sought. Even otherwise, in such matrimonial dispute, once the stated

complaint and/or accused and/or parties, if arrived at particular

settlement, at the time of trial and/or passing appropriate final order,

this settlement ultimately will play a definite and important role. This

may also result into continuation of long drawn trial, but with no

fruitful result as the concerned parties may not even be interested or

cooperate for conclusion of trial.

10 Recently, the Apex Court in Central Bureau of Investigation

vs. Sadhu Ram Singla ors6 refused to interfere with the order of

quashing and setting aside the criminal proceedings, as the parties

have even settled the monetary claims in the commercial dispute on

given facts by dealing with Section 320 (9) of Cr PC though the non-

compoundable offences registered under Section 471 read with 468 of

IPC. The Supreme Court in CBI (supra) while concluding in paras 15

and 16 observed as under:

"15 Having carefully considered the singular facts
and circumstances of the present case, and also the law
relating to the continuance of criminal cases where the
complainant and the accused had settled their

6 2017 (3) SCALE 166

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differences and had arrived at an amicable
arrangement, we see no reason to differ with the view
taken in Manoj Sharma's case (supra) and several
decisions of this Court delivered thereafter with respect
to the doctrine of judicial restraint. In concluding
hereinabove, we are not unmindful of the view
recorded in the decisions cited at the Bar that
depending on the attendant facts, continuance of the
criminal proceedings, after a compromise has been
arrived at between the complainant and the accused,
would amount to abuse of process of Court and an
exercise in futility since the trial would be prolonged
and ultimately, it may end in a decision which may be
of no consequence to any of the parties.

16 In view of the discussion we made in the
preceding paragraphs, in our opinion, it would be
proper to keep the said point of law open. However,
in the given facts, we dismiss this appeal."

11 Therefore, in view of the material and the circumstances

under which, as counter blast, the FIR was filed and the affidavits

placed on record with settlement terms by the parties, we are of the

view, that FIR No.282/2012, registered with Yerwada Police Station,

Pune, is required to be set aside and the proceedings arising out of the

same, if any.

12              In the result, the following order :

ORDER

(i) FIR No.282/2012, registered with Yerwada Police

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Station, Pune, is quashed and set aside.

(ii) The Criminal Application is allowed accordingly.

(iii) No costs

( RAVINDRA V. GHUGE J.) (ANOOP V. MOHTA, J.)

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