When the offence is non compoundable under s 320 Cr.P.C., but the relations of victim and accused have now become cordial and the victim does not want the accused to be punished, a technical problem arises before the trial court/lower judiciary as sub section 9 of s said section clearly provides that “no offence can be compounded except as provided by this section”. Thus the lower courts are clearly barred from closing a non compoundable case on the basis of compromise. But, section 320 Cr.P.C. cannot be read in isolation. It has to be read along with other provisions of the code. One such other provision is section 482 Cr.P.C. which reads thus:-
“S. 482. Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.”
The words "Nothing in this Code" used in section 482 is a non obstante clause, and give it overriding effect over other provisions in the Cr.P.C. The words "or otherrwise to secure the ends of justice" in section 482 implies that to secure the interest of justice, sometimes (though only in very rare cases) the High Court can pass an order in violation of a provision in the Cr.P.C.
Section 320 (9) Cr.P.C. was creating a lot of difficulty and hardship to the public and hence a way out was found by Hon'ble Apex Court in B.S.Joshi & others vs. State of Haryana and another [2003 (46) ACC 779], in which it has been observed that the High Court under section 482 Cr.P.C. can quash the criminal proceedings, if it comes to the conclusion that the interest of justice so requires e.g; where there would almost be no chance of conviction. In a case under section 498A IPC, if the parties enter into a compromise, the chances of a ultimate conviction are bleak and hence, no useful purpose would be served by allowing the criminal proceedings to continue and they should, therefore, be quashed by exercising power under section 482 Cr.P.C. Thus in this case the Apex Court has held that the High Court in exercise of its inherent power can quash criminal proceedings or FIR or complainant and section 320 of the Code does not limit or affect the powers under section 482 of the Code.
The apex court observed: "Marriage is a scared ceremony, the main purpose of which is to enable the young couple to settle down in life and live peacefully. But little matrimonial skirmishes suddenly erupt which often assume serious proportions resulting in commission of heinous crimes in which elders of the family are also involved with the result that those who could have counselled and brought about rapprochement are rendered helpless on their being arrayed as accused in the criminal case. There are many other reasons which need not be mentioned here for not encouraging matrimonial litigation so that the parties may ponder over their defaults and terminate their disputes amicably by mutual agreement instead of fighting it out in a court of law where it takes years and years to conclude and in that process the parties lose their "young" days in chasing their " cases" in different courts.
There is no doubt that the object of introducing Chapter XX-A containing section 498-A in the Indian Penal Code was to prevent the torture to a woman by her husband or by relatives of her husband. Section 498-A 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."
Thus in this case the Apex Court devised a creative solution to the problem and held that the High Court may quash the proceedings under its inherent power. The said decision was followed by Hon'ble Apex Court in Nikhil Marchent vs. Central Bureau of Investigation and another JT 2008 (9) SC 192.
Following B.S. Joshi’s case, the Allahabad High Court (Hon. Vijjay Kumar Verma, J) in Prem Shankar Pandey & Others
State Of U.P. & Another decided on 18/08/2009 has held that in appropriate cases where the dispute is of a personal nature and the parties have settled the dispute amicably, the High Court in exercise of its inherent power under section 482 Cr.P.C. can quash the criminal proceedings even in those cases where the offences are non- compoundable. Reference in this context may be made to the case of Manoj Sharma vs. State and others 2009 (64) ACC 320, in which the criminal proceedings arising out of the FIR under section 420/ 468/ 471/ 34/120B IPC was quashed by Hon'ble Apex Court on the basis of the settlement arrived at between the parties.