HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD
Court No. – 70
Case :- APPLICATION U/S 482 No. – 39235 of 2019
Applicant :- Pramod Kumar Gupta And 2 Ors
Opposite Party :- State of U.P. and Another
Counsel for Applicant :- Krishna Gopal
Counsel for Opposite Party :- G.A.,Devashish Mitra
Hon’ble Sanjay Kumar Singh,J.
Heard learned counsel for the applicants, learned Additional Government Advocate for the State/opposite party No.1 and learned counsel for opposite party No. 2 and perused the record with the assistance of learned counsel for the parties.
This application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. has been filed by the applicants to quash the charge-sheet dated 07.01.2019 arising out of Case Crime No. 417 of 2018 and proceedings of case no. 2115 of 2019 (State Vs. Pramod Gupta and others), under Sections 498A, 323 IPC and ¾ D.P. Act, Police Station Prem Nagar, District – Bareilly pending in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate-IInd, Bareilly.
Filtering out unnecessary details, the basic facts, in brief, which are necessary for disposal of this case are that there is a matrimonial dispute between the applicants and opposite party No.2. Applicant no.1 Pramod Kumar Gupta is husband, applicant no.2 Naresh Gupta is father-in-law and applicant no.3 Dharmeshwari is mother-in-law of opposite party no.2. Applicants are seeking relief for quashing of impugned charge-sheet and criminal proceedings against them on the ground of compromise made between the parties.
Learned counsel for the applicant has drawn the attention of the Court to the order dated 16.09.2019 passed by this Court in Application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. No. 33592 of 2019, whereby upon being informed about the factum of inter-se compromise in between the parties concerned, the concerned court below was directed to verify the factum of compromise between the parties concerned. The said order dated 16.09.2019 is being reproduced herein-below:-
“Sri Devashish Mitra, learned Advocate has filed short counter affidavit along with his Vakalatnama on behalf of opposite party no.2, which is taken on record.
Heard learned counsel for the applicants, learned Additional Government Advocate for the State, learned counsel for the opposite party no.2 and perused the record.
This application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. has been filed by the applicants to quash the charge-sheet dated 7.1.2019, summoning order dated 16.7.2019 as well as entire proceedings of Criminal Case No. 2115 of 2019 (State vs. Pramod Gupta and others) arising out of Case Crime No. 417 of 2018, under Sections 498-A, 323 IPC and Section 3/4 Dowry Prohibition Act, police station Prem Nagar, district Bareilly pending in the court of A.C.J.M-IInd, Bareilly.
It is submitted by learned counsel for the applicants that applicant no. 1, 2 and 3 are husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law of opposite party no. 2 respectively. Marriage of applicant no.1 was solemnized on 30.4.2015 with opposite party no. 2, but on account of acrimonious relation, opposite party no. 2 lodged the impugned FIR on 18.7.2018 for the offence under Sections 498-A, 307, 325, 313, 323 and Section 3/4 D.P. Act at police station Prem Nagar, district Bareilly. The Investigating Officer after investigation submitted charge-sheet on 7.1.2019, on which the Magistrate concerned took cognizance on 16.7.2019. Thereafter before taking cognizance in the matter, the parties concerned have settled their dispute outside the court and compromise took place between them on 15.6.2019. The said compromise deed dated 15.6.2019 has been appended as annexure No. 5 to the application.
In paragraph No. 5 of the counter affidavit, it is mentioned that opposite party No. 2, Smt. Sonika Gupta is happily living at her in laws house and there is no dispute between them, as the matter has been settled.
It is submitted that no compromise application has yet been filed before the concerned court below, where criminal proceeding is pending against the applicants and requested to allow the applicants to move compromise application before the concerned court below.
Whether the parties have, in fact, compromised the matter or not, can best be ascertained by the Court below, as such said compromise has to be duly verified in presence of the parties concerned before the Court.
On the request made by learned counsel for the applicants three weeks time is allowed to the applicants to file compromise application before the concerned court below.
Accordingly, this application is disposed of with a direction to the court concerned that in case such compromise application is filed by the applicants before it within aforesaid period, it shall issue notices to all the signatories to the compromise requiring their personal presence and, thereafter, proceed to verify the compromise. If the aforesaid compromise is verified, a report to that effect shall be prepared by the court and the compromise will be made part of the record. The court in that scenario will allow the parties to obtain certified copy of the report as well as compromise and it will be open to the applicants to approach this Court again for quashing of the proceedings.
Till verification of compromise between the parties by the court concerned, no coercive action shall be taken against the applicants in the aforesaid case. ”
It is submitted by learned counsel for the applicant that pursuant to aforesaid order dated 16.09.2019, parties concerned appeared before the concerned court below and produced the compromise. The said compromise has been verified by the court concerned and verification order dated 30.09.2019 has been passed by Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Court No.2, Bareilly mentioning therein that parties concerned have accepted the compromise made between them. Certified copy of the said order dated 30.09.2019 has been brought on record as Annexure No.8 to the application.
It is also submitted that on account of compromise entered into between the parties concerned, all disputes between them have come to an end, and therefore, further proceedings against the applicants in the aforesaid case is liable to be quashed by this Court.
Learned Additional Government Advocate as well as learned counsel appearing on behalf of opposite party No.2 do not dispute the aforesaid fact. Learned counsel for opposite party No. 2 has also submitted at the Bar that since the parties concerned have settled their dispute as mentioned above, therefore, opposite party No.2 has no grievance and has no objection in quashing the impugned criminal proceedings against the applicants. In paragraph no.5 of the short counter affidavit, it is mentioned that at present opposite party no.2 is living with applicant no.1 and leading her matrimonial live peacefully and there is no dispute between them.
After having heard the arguments of learned counsel for the parties, before proceedings further, it is apposite to give reference of some judgments of the Apex Court, wherein the Apex Court has laid down the guideline for quashing of criminal proceedings arising out of non-compoundable offences under Section 320 Cr.P.C. on the basis of compromise and amicable settlement of matrimonial cases between the parties concerned, which are as follows:-
(i) The Apex Court in case of B.S. Joshi and others Vs. State of Haryana and another (2003) 1 SCC (Cri) 848 gave its approving nod to the existence and exercise of High Court’s power to quash the criminal proceedings on compromise in suitable matrimonial cases. Paragraph nos. 14 and 15 of the said judgment are reproduced herein-below:-
“14. There is no doubt that the object of introducing Chapter XX-A containing Section 498A in the Indian Penal Code was to prevent the torture to a woman by her husband or by relatives of her husband. Section 498A was added with a view to punishing a husband and his relatives who harass or torture the wife to coerce her or her relatives to satisfy unlawful demands of dowry. The hyper-technical view would be counter productive and would act against interests of women and against the object for which this provision was added. There is every likelihood that non-exercise of inherent power to quash the proceedings to meet the ends of justice would prevent women from settling earlier. That is not the object of Chapter XXA of Indian Penal Code.
15. In view of the above discussion, we hold that the High Court in exercise of its inherent powers can quash criminal proceedings or FIR or complaint and Section 320 of the Code does not limit or affect the powers under Section 482 of the Code.”
(ii) The Apex Court in case of State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Laxmi Narayan and others, AIR 2019 SC 1296, considering previous judgments and section 320 Cr.P.C. has laid down guideline for exercising the inherent power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. in case of settlement of dispute between the parties concerned. Paragraph no. 13 of the said judgment is reproduced herein-below:-
“13. Considering the law on the point and the other decisions of this Court on the point, referred to hereinabove, it is observed and held as under:
(i) that the power conferred under Section 482 of the Code to quash the criminal proceedings for the non-compoundable offences under Section 320 of the Code can be exercised having overwhelmingly and predominantly the civil character, particularly those arising out of commercial transactions or arising out of matrimonial relationship or family disputes and when the parties have resolved the entire dispute amongst themselves;
(ii) such power is not to be exercised in those prosecutions which involved heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. Such offences are not private in nature and have a serious impact on society;
(iii) similarly, such power is not to be exercised for the offences under the special statutes like Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity are not to be quashed merely on the basis of compromise between the victim and the offender;
(iv) offences under Section 307 IPC and the Arms Act etc. would fall in the category of heinous and serious offences and therefore are to be treated as crime against the society and not against the individual alone, and therefore, the criminal proceedings for the offence under Section 307 IPC and/or the Arms Act etc., which have a serious impact on the society cannot be quashed in exercise of powers under Section 482 of the Code, on the ground that the parties have resolved their entire dispute amongst themselves. However, the High Court would not rest its decision merely because there is a mention of Section 307 IPC in the FIR or the charge is framed under this provision. It would be open to the High Court to examine as to whether incorporation of Section 307 IPC is there for the sake of it or the prosecution has collected sufficient evidence, which if proved, would lead to framing the charge under Section 307 IPC. For this purpose, it would be open to the High Court to go by the nature of injury sustained, whether such injury is inflicted on the vital/delegate parts of the body, nature of weapons used etc. However, such an exercise by the High Court would be permissible only after the evidence is collected after investigation and the charge sheet is filed/charge is framed and/or during the trial. Such exercise is not permissible when the matter is still under investigation. Therefore, the ultimate conclusion in paragraphs 29.6 and 29.7 of the decision of this Court in the case of Narinder Singh (supra) should be read harmoniously and to be read as a whole and in the circumstances stated hereinabove;
(v) while exercising the power under Section 482 of the Code to quash the criminal proceedings in respect of non compoundable offences, which are private in nature and do not have a serious impart on society, on the ground that there is a settlement/compromise between the victim and the offender, the High Court is required to consider the antecedents of the accused; the conduct of the accused, namely, whether the accused was absconding and why he was absconding, how he had managed with the complainant to enter into a compromise etc.”
On going through the judgments referred herein above makes it very clear that even in the cases which involved non compoundable offences, their quashing has been approved by the Apex Court if the nature of the offence is such which does not have grave and wider social ramifications and where the dispute is more or less confined between the litigating parties. The inherent jurisdiction of this Court may be suitably exercised if the parties inter-se have mutually decided to bury the hatchet and settle the matter amicably in between them in a criminal litigation emanating from matrimonial disputes, which are quintessentially of civil nature and other criminal litigations, which do not have grave and deleterious social fall-outs. The Court in the wider public interest may suitably exercise its power in appropriate case and terminate the pending proceedings in order to secure ends of justice or to prevent an abuse of the process of any court. Such positive exercise of the inherent jurisdiction can also find its vindication in a more pragmatic reason. When the complainant of a case or the victim of the offence itself expresses its resolve not to give evidence against the accused in the back drop of the compromise between the parties inter-se or if the fact of inter-se compromise in between the parties is apparent on the face of record, and they are still called upon the depose in the Court, they in all probability, go back on their words and resile from their previous statements, the truthfulness of which is best known only to themselves. They are in such circumstances very likely to eat their words and perjure themselves. The solemn proceedings of the Court often get reduced to a sham exercise and farce in such circumstances. The proceedings can hardly be taken to their logical culmination and in such circumstances, the prospect of the conviction gets lost.
The object of criminal law is primarily to visit the offender with certain consequences. He may be made to suffer punishment or by paying compensation to the victim, but the law at the same time also provides that it may not be necessary in every criminal offence to mete out punishment, particularly, if the parties concerned wants to bury the hatchet. If they want to move on in a matrimonial dispute on the basis of compromise, they may be allowed to compound the offences in terms of settlement.
After compromise/settlement arrived at between the parties in the present case, the chance of ultimate conviction is bleak and therefore, no useful purpose is likely to be served by allowing a criminal prosecution against the applicant to continue, as the same would be futile exercise and a sheer wastage of precious time of the Court. The continuation of a criminal proceedings after compromise would cause oppression and prejudice to the parties concerned.
Considering the facts and circumstances of the case in the light of dictum and guideline laid down by the Apex Court as mentioned above, this Court feels that this is a fit case, where this Court can exercise its inherent power to secure the end of justice. In view of above interest of justice would be met, if the prayer of parties is acceded to and the criminal proceedings and other litigation between the parties is brought to an end.
As a fallout and consequence of above discussions, charge-sheet dated 07.01.2019 arising out of Case Crime No. 417 of 2018 and proceedings of case no. 2115 of 2019 (State Vs. Pramod Gupta and others), under Sections 498A, 323 IPC and ¾ D.P. Act, Police Station Prem Nagar, District – Bareilly pending in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate-IInd, Bareilly against the applicants are hereby quashed.
The instant application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is allowed in terms of compromise as mentioned above.
Order Date :- 15.11.2019