Manoj Sharma Vs.
State & Ors.  INSC 1746 (16 October 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1619 OF 2008 @
S.L.P. (Crl.) NO.5265 of 2007 Manoj Sharma ..Appellant State & Ors
question whether a First Information Report under Sections 420/468/471/34/120-B
IPC can be quashed either under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
or under Article 226 of the Constitution, when the accused and the complainant
have compromised and settled the 2 matter between themselves, is the question
which arises for decision in this appeal.
identical question fell for the consideration of this Court in the case of B.S.
Joshi vs. State of Haryana,[2003 (4) SCC 675] wherein also the question arose
as to whether criminal proceedings or a First Information Report or complaint
filed under Section 498-A and 406 IPC by the wife could be quashed under
Section 482 CrPC on account of the fact that the offences complained of were
not compoundable under Section 320 of the Code.
The objection taken
in the said case has also been raised by Mr. B.B. Singh, learned advocate for
the respondent State.
B.S. Joshi's case, this Court drew a distinction between compounding an offence
as permitted under Section 320 CrPC and quashing of the complaint or criminal
proceedings under Section 482 CrPC as also Article 226 of the 3 Constitution.
Pointing out that the appellant in the said case had not prayed for compounding
the offence as the same was not compoundable, this Court observed with
reference to the earlier decision in Pepsi Food Limited vs. Special Judicial
Magistrate, [1998 (5) SCC 749], that where the Court will exercise jurisdiction
under Section 482 of the Code could not be inflexible or rigid formulae to be
followed by the Courts could not be laid down.
Exercise of such
power would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case but with the
sole object of preventing abuse of the process of any Court, or otherwise to
secure the ends of justice. It was also observed that it is well settled that
these powers have no bar, but the same was required to be exercised with utmost
care and caution. Accordingly, the learned Judges held that the power of the
High Court under Section 482 of the Code to quash Criminal proceedings or FIR
or complaint were 4 not circumscribed by Section 320 of the Code of Criminal
the appellant herein strongly relied on the decision in B.S. Joshi's case. Mr.
B.B. Singh, learned counsel appearing for the respondent-State urged that
having regard to the specific provision in the Code regarding compounding of
offences, and indicating what offences may be compromised either with or
without the leave of the Court, possibly the decision rendered in B.S. Joshi's
case required a second look. Relying on the decision of this Court in Inspector
of Police, CBI vs. Rajagopal, [2002 (9) SCC 533], K.G. Prem Shankar vs.
Inspector of Police and Anr. [JT 2002 (7) SC 30] and also Textile Labour and
Anr. [JT 2004 (suppl.1) SC 1], Mr. Singh submitted that in B.S. Joshi's case
there was a departure from the view taken in the first of the two aforesaid
have carefully considered the submissions made on behalf of the respective
parties and the facts involved in this case, and we are not inclined to accept
Mr. Singh's contention that the decision in B.S. Joshi's case requires
reconsideration, at least not in the facts of this case. What was decided in
B.S. Joshi's case was the power and authority of the High Court to exercise
jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC or under Article 226 of the Constitution to
quash offences which are not compoundable. The law stated in the said case
simply indicates the powers of the High Court to quash any criminal proceeding
or First Information Report or complaint whether it be compoundable or not. The
ultimate exercise of discretion under Section 482 CrPC or under Article 226 of
the Constitution is with the Court which has to exercise such jurisdiction in the
facts of each case. It has been explained that the said power is in no way
limited by the provisions of Section 320 CrPC.
We are unable to
disagree with such statement of law. In any event, in this case, we are only
required to consider whether the High Court had exercised its jurisdiction
under Section 482 Cr.P.C. legally and correctly.
view of the nature of the offences set out in the complaint, the High Court did
not consider it an appropriate case for exercising its jurisdiction under
Article 226 of the Constitution for quashing the same.
our view, the High Court's refusal to exercise its jurisdiction under Article
226 of the Constitution for quashing the criminal proceedings cannot be
supported. The First Information Report, which had been lodged by the
complainant indicates a dispute between the complainant and the accused which
is of a private nature. It is no doubt true that the First Information Report
was the basis of the investigation by the Police authorities, but 7 the
dispute between the parties remained one of a personal nature. Once the
complainant decided not to pursue the matter further, the High Court could have
taken a more pragmatic view of the matter. We do not suggest that while
exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution the High Court
could not have refused to quash the First Information Report, but what we do
say is that the matter could have been considered by the High Court with
greater pragmatism in the facts of the case. As we have indicated hereinbefore,
the exercise of power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. or Article 226 of the
Constitution is discretionary to be exercised in the facts of each case.
the facts of this case we are of the view that continuing with the criminal
proceedings would be an exercise in futility.
accordingly, allow the appeal and set aside the order of the High Court and
quash the criminal proceedings pending before the learned Additional Chief
Metropolitan Magistrate, Karkardooma Court, Delhi, in FIR No.50 of 1997 dated
31st January, 1997 P.S. Vivek Vihar (East Delhi).
(ALTAMAS KABIR) New
Delhi Dated:October 16, 2008 9 REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.___________OF 2008 [@
Special Leave Petition(Criminal_ No. 5265 of 2007] Manoj Sharma .. Appellant
-versus State & Others ..
Respondents J U D G M
EN T Markandey Katju, J.
have read the judgment of my learned brother Hon. Kabir, J. and I respectfully
agree with his conclusion that the appeal should be allowed and 10 the
judgment of the High Court as well as the criminal proceedings pending before
the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Karkardooma Court, Delhi in FIR
No. 50 of 1997 dated 31st January, 1997 P.O. Vivek Vihar (East Delhi) against the
appellant should be quashed.
I wish to give a separate concurring judgment in view of the importance of the
issue involved in this case.
question involved in this case is whether an FIR under Section
420/468/471/34/120-B IPC can be quashed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. or Article
226 of the Constitution when the accused and the complainant have compromised
and settled the matter between themselves.
allegations in the FIR are as follows:
Sanjay Pal S/o Mahendra singh Pal R/o House No. A-25, Jhilmil Colony, Vivek
Vihar, Delhi, stated that I reside at the above mentioned address with my
family. I got financed a Maruti Van bearing No. DL- 1CB-4065 from Shri Manoj
Kumar Sharma - Vijay Lakshmi Finance & Investment Company before two years
back for a consideration amount of Rs. 30,000/- and I paid Rs. 3954/- as first
installment. After that Shri Man Mohan Sharma R/o D-131, Jhilmil Colony, came
and told me that your finance is fabricated one, that is why your vehicle has
not been financed by me from Real Auto Deals which is run by my brother-in-law.
I have received the payment given by you and your file. He asked me to give
return the first R.C. He gave me the 11 new R.C.. I returned him the old R.C.
He suggested me that now the financer of your vehicle is Real Auto Deals.
I was shocked that
how the vehicle got transferred without signing any form and paper. Man Mohan
Sharma used to receive the installments in cash every month from me. The
receipts issued to me put up with neither rubber stamp nor used the letter head
of Real Auto Deals. The cheques received from me, encashed him in
different-different names instead depositing in the account of Real Auto Deals.
When it has come to my notice that he is playing fraud with me, then visited
the bank and got stopped the payment of the cheques. He came to me when the
cheque was dishonoured and asked me why you stop the payment. I explained him
that I have already sent you a notice stating that I will make the payments of
the installments in the name of Real Auto Deals but you are not doing so,
therefore, I got stopped the payments. Thereafter, on 27.12.1995 at about 10
O'clock he came to me in Jhilmil along with an unknown person, I can recognize
him if he comes to me, took my said Maruti Van with his help without my consent
by showing me a paper duly stamped by the police. Vijay Lakshmi Finance, Real
Auto Deals and Man Mohan Sharma, have sold my vehicle to some other place by
making my forged signatures and by playing fraud with me, in connivance of each
other. The appropriate legal action may kindly be taken against all these
persons. Statement heard which is correct. Sd/- English. Sanjay Pal 31.1.97
Attested Sd/- Snglish Satya Narayan ASI 31.1.97".
perusal of the FIR shows that the allegations against the appellant were that
he forged documents in respect of a vehicle and thereafter indulged in cheating
and deposited the cheques received from the complainant against financing of
the vehicle in different accounts. It is also 12 alleged in the FIR that the
appellant sold the vehicle of the complainant to some other party by making
forged signature and by playing fraud with him.
the basis of the above FIR charges were framed against the appellant and
co-accused Man Mohan Sharma.
appellant filed a writ petition before the High Court for quashing the FIR on
the ground that the matter had been compromised between the complainant and the
accused. In that writ petition an affidavit was filed by the complainant
stating that in view of the settlement between the parties he is withdrawing
the allegations against both the writ petitioners and he is also withdrawing
the FIR. As per the amicable settlement a sum of Rs. 45,000/- would be paid to
the appellant Manoj Sharma and a further sum of Rs. 45,000/- would be paid to
the co-accused Man Mohan Sharma.
the Delhi High Court by the impugned judgment dated 17.8.2007 rejected the writ
petition and hence this appeal.
may be mentioned that under Section 320(1) Cr.P.C. certain offences in the IPC
can be compounded by the persons mentioned in the 3rd column of the table in
that provision. Also, in view of Section 320(2) 13 certain other offences can
be compounded with the permission of the Court.
However, Section 320
(9) specifically states:
shall be compounded except as provided by this Section".
perusal of Section 320 shows that offences under Section 468, 471, 34 and 120-B
IPC (with are mentioned in the FIR in question) cannot even be compounded with
the permission of the Court. In fact, Section 320(9) Cr.P.C. expressly states
that no offence shall be compounded except as provided by this Section. It
apparently follows, therefore, that except for Section 420 IPC, which can be
compounded with the permission of the Court in view of Section 320(2), the
other provisions mentioned in the FIR in question could not be compounded even
with the permission of the Court.
It, prima facie,
seems to follow that the offences mentioned in the FIR were not compoundable
except in relation to the allegations about Section 420 IPC.
are other provisions in the IPC e.g. Section 498A which apparently cannot be
compounded even with the permission of the Court in view of Section 320 (9)
this was creating a lot of difficulty and hardship to the public and hence a
way out was found by this Court in B.S. Joshi and others vs. State of Haryana
2003(4) SCC 675 [= JT 2003(3) SC 277 = AIR 2003 SC 1386]. In that decision this
Court referred to its own earlier decision in Madhu Limaye vs. State of
Maharashtra 1977 (4) SCC 551 in which it was held (vide para 8) that the power
under Section 482 should not be exercised when there is an express bar in some
other provision of the Code. The Court in B.S. Joshi's case (supra) also
referred to the decision in Surendra Nath Mohanty vs. State of Orissa AIR 1999
SC 2181 which held that since the offence under Section 326 IPC is not
compoundable the High Court cannot compound the offence.
the above decisions this Court in B.S. Joshi's case (supra) relying on its own
decision in State of Karanataka vs. L. Muniswamy 1977 (2) SCC 699 observed that
the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. can quash the criminal proceedings if
it comes to the conclusion that the ends 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 an ultimate conviction
are bleak, and hence no useful purpose would be served by allowing the criminal
proceedings to continue. They should, therefore, be quashed by exercising power
under 15 Section 482 Cr.P.C. The Court also relied on the decisions in
Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia vs. Sambhajirao Chandrojirao Angre 1988 1 SCC 692,
G.V. Rao vs. L.H.V. Prasad (2000) 3 SCC 693 for taking the same view.
B.S. Joshi's case (supra) this Court devised a creative solution to the problem
and quashed the proceedings in exercise of its power under Section 482 Cr.P.C..
The said decision was followed by this Court in Nikhil Merchant vs. Central
Bureau of Investigation & another JT 2008 (9) SC 192.
B.B. Singh, learned counsel for the respondent submitted that the High Court or
even this Court would not be justified in giving directions to quash a criminal
proceeding in view of the compromise between the parties when the offence has
been expressly made non-compoundable by Section 320 Cr.P.C. He urged that the
Court cannot ignore any substantive statutory provision dealing with the
subject and cannot issue a writ or a direction in violation of the statute.
we would have agreed with Mr. B.B. Singh. The doctrine of judicial restraint
which has been emphasized repeatedly by this Court e.g. in Divisional Manager,
Aravali Golf Club & another vs. Chander Hass & 16 another JT 2008(3)
SC 221, Government of Andhra Pradesh & others vs. Smt. P. Laxmi Devi JT
2008 (2) SC 639 restricts the power of the Court and does not permit the Court
to ordinarily encroach into the legislative or executive domain. As observed by
this Court in the above decisions, there is a broad separation of powers in the
Constitution and it would not be proper for one organ of the State to encroach
into the domain of another organ.
Section 320 Cr.P.C. has clearly stated which offences are compoundable and
which are not, the High Court or even this Court would not ordinarily be
justified in doing something indirectly which could not be done directly. Even
otherwise, it ordinarily would not be a legitimate exercise of judicial power
under Article 226 of the Constitution or under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to direct
doing something which the Cr.P.C. has expressly prohibited. Section 320(9)
Cr.P.C. expressly states that no offence shall be compounded except as provided
by that Section. Hence, in my opinion, it would ordinarily not be a legitimate
exercise of judicial power to direct compounding of a non-compoundable offence.
it has to be pointed out that Section 320 Cr.P.C. cannot be read in isolation.
It has to be read along with the other provisions in the Cr.P.C. One such other
provision is Section 482 Cr.P.C. which reads:
" Saving of
inherent power of High Court. - 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."
words "Nothing in this Code" used in Section 482 is a non obstante
clause, and gives it overriding effect over other provisions in the Cr.P.C. The
words "or otherwise 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
is true that in certain decisions of this Court it has been observed that the
power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. cannot be exercised to do something which is
expressly barred under the Code vide Mosst. Simrikhia vs. Dolley Mukherjee AIR
1990 SC 1605 (vide paras 2 & 4), R.P. Kapur vs.
State of Punjab AIR
1960 SC 866 (vide para 6), Sooraj Devi vs. Pyare Lal & another AIR 1981 SC
736 (vide para 5) etc.
in my opinion these judgments cannot be read as a Euclid's formula since it is
well settled that judgments of a Court cannot be read mechanically and like a
Euclid's theorem vide Dr. Rajbir Singh Dalal vs. Chaudhari Devi Lal University
2008(8) JT 621, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. & another vs. N.R.
Vairamani and another AIR 2004 SC 4778. In rare and exceptional cases a
departure can be made from the principle laid down in the decisions referred to
in para 20, as observed in B.S. Joshi's case (supra), which has also been
followed in other decisions e.g. Nikhil Merchant's case (supra). Even in the
judgment of this Court in Divisional Manager Aravalli Golf Club (supra) where
emphasis has been laid on judicial restraint it has been mentioned that
sometimes judicial activism can be resorted to by the Court where the situation
forcefully requires it in the interest of the country or society (vide para 39
of the said judgment). Judicial activism was rightly resorted to by the U.S.
Supreme Court in Brown vs. Board of Education 347 U.S. 483, Miranda vs. Arizona
384 U.S. 436, Roe vs. Wade 410 U.S. 113, etc. and by Lord Denning in England in
several of his decisions.
in the present case I respectfully agree with my learned brother Hon'ble Kabir
J. that the criminal proceedings deserve to be quashed, the 19 question may
have to be decided in some subsequent decision or decisions (preferably by a
larger Bench) as to which non-compoundable cases can be quashed under Section
482 Cr.P.C. or Article 226 of the Constitution on the basis that the parties
have entered into a compromise.
can be no doubt that a case under Section 302 IPC or other serious offences
like those under Sections 395, 307 or 304B cannot be compounded and hence
proceedings in those provisions cannot be quashed by the High Court in exercise
of its power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. or in writ jurisdiction on the basis of
compromise. However, in some other cases, (like those akin to a civil nature)
the proceedings can be quashed by the High Court if the parties have come to an
amicable settlement even though the provisions are not compoundable. Where a
line is to be drawn will have to be decided in some later decisions of this
Court, preferably by a larger bench (so as to make it more authoritative). Some
guidelines will have to be evolved in this connection and the matter cannot be
left at the sole unguided discretion of Judges, otherwise there may be
conflicting decisions and judicial anarchy. A judicial discretion has to be
exercised on some objective guiding principles and criteria, and not on the
whims and fancies of individual Judges. Discretion, after all, cannot be the
am expressing this opinion because Shri B.B. Singh, learned counsel for the
respondent has rightly expressed his concern that the decision in B.S. Joshi's
case (supra) should not be understood to have meant that Judges can quash any
kind of criminal case merely because there has been a compromise between the
parties. After all, a crime is an offence against society, and not merely
against a private individual.
these observations, I respectfully agree with my learned brother Hon'ble Kabir
J. that this appeal is to be allowed and the criminal proceedings in question
are to be quashed. Appeal allowed. No costs.