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Ramgopal & Ors Vs The State of Madhya Pradesh: Jurisdiction of Supreme Court to Impart Complete Justice Under Article 142 Cannot Ipso Facto Be Limited or Restricted by Ordinary Statutory Provisions

Prahalad B ,
  08 November 2021       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court
Brief :

Citation :
Criminal Appeal No. 1489 of 2012

Date of Judgement:
29.09.2021

Coram:
Justice N V Ramana
Justice Surya Kant

Parties:
Appellants – Ramgopal & Ors.
Respondent – The State of Madhya Pradesh

Subject

Power under Article 142 to is on another level having wider scope and cannot be restricted by a statutory provision.

Legal Provisions

  • Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 – Compounding of offences.
  • Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 —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.
  • Article 142 in the Constitution - Enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and orders as to discovery, etc.

Overview

  • The facts of the case are that due a monetary dispute between the appellant and respondent, the appellant attacked the respondent with “Pharsa” resulting in detachment of little finger of the appellant. The appellants were convicted under various provisions of IPC by the Judicial Magistrate.
  • An appeal was preferred against the conviction. During the pendency, it was stated that the appellant and respondent entered into a compromise. This court also pointed out that this offence was not compoundable under Section 320 CrPC. However, taking note of the compromise, the sessions judge reduced the sentence from 3 years of rigorous imprisonment to 1 year of rigorous imprisonment.
  • Aggrieved by this decision, appellants preferred a criminal revision before the High Court. The court dismissed the appeal stating that the offence committed is non compoundable. An appeal was preferred before this court.
  • Criminal Appeal No. 1488/12 was merged with the present case. Though the incident in Crl.A No. 1488/12 is separate, it was proposed to be disposed with the present case as both involved identical question of law.
  • The appellants in both the cases requested this court to exercise its power conferred under Article 142 of the Constitution to render complete justice.

Issue

  • Whether the High Courts have power to quash proceedings consisting offence in nature of non-compoundable offence on the basis of compromise between the parties?

Judgement Analysis

  • The court observed the guidelines laid down in Gian Singh V. State of Punjab (2012), wherein it was held that theHigh Court’s power to quash a criminal proceeding can be exercised when the victim and the offender have settled their dispute. It was also emphasized that it can be done taking into account the facts and circumstances of the case.
  • If the offence is of a private and civil nature, a compromise can be held valid and the proceedings may be quashed if the offence does not have an impact on the society. The court should also look into the behaviour of criminal antecedents and after the proceedings of the accused and whether the compromise was entered will the absolute will of the victim and not by coercion or fraud.
  • This court, while accepting the rule that a non-compoundable offence cannot be compounded by High Courts while exercising power under Section 320 of Cr.P.C, held that this cannot act as an embargo against the powers of the court under section 482 of CrPC. In special facts and circumstances of a case, the court can exercise its powers under section 428 of CrPC to prevent abuse of process of the court. Hence, if the parties to the suit amicably settle matters, the courts can quash the criminal proceedings if the offence is non-compoundable.
  • Examining the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution, the court held that power conferred under Article 142 cannot be by a statutory provision.
  • The court while examining the powers of the court under Article 142 also held that power of this nature must be exercised with caution and laid down brief guidelines. This power should be exercised keeping in mind:
  1. The possible impact of the offence on the society.
  2. Gravity of the injury caused.
  3. Validity of the compromise by examining relevant facts and circumstances.
  4. Behaviour of the accused before and after occurrence of the crime.

Conclusion

The power under Article 142 of the Constitution is wide and there cannot be a limit established by an ordinary statutory provision. It should be exercised in rare cases to render justice and to prevent abuse of process of law. These powers must be exercised by taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case and behaviour of the accused person.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

Questions:
1. If the offence is non compoundable under the scheme of Section 320 of Cr.P.C, can a High Court compound the punishment by invoking its power under Section 482 of Cr.P.C?

 
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