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Report No. 237

2.2 An analysis of Section 320 reveals the following salient features:

No offence other than that specified in the Section can be compounded. The offence can only be compounded by the persons specified in Col.3 of the Table concerned and such person is the person directly aggrieved in the sense that she/he is the victim of the crime. As a result of composition of the offence under Section 320, the accused will stand acquitted of the offence of which he/she is charged and the Court loses its jurisdiction to proceed with the case.

Unlike in some of the provisions of special laws, no one on behalf of the State is empowered to compound the offences. However, the public prosecutor may withdraw from prosecution with the consent of the Court, as provided for in Section 321 CrPC.

2.3 Sub-section (3) of Section 320 lays down the rule that in respect of compoundable offences specified in the Section, the abetment or an attempt to commit the offence is also compoundable. So also the composition can be applied to the accused who is liable for the offence constructively by virtue of Section 34 or Section 149 of IPC. Then the composition of offence can be permitted by the High Court or a Sessions Court exercising revisional powers. Sub-section (5) provides that the composition can be allowed only with the leave of the Committal Court or Appellate Court during the pendency of committal or appellate proceedings.

2.4 The Supreme Court made it clear in the case of Surendra Nath Mohanty v. State of Orissa, Air 1999 SC 2181 (a three judge bench decision) that 'For the compounding of the offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code, a complete scheme is provided under Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Sub-section (1) of Section 320 provides that the offences mentioned in the table provided thereunder can be compounded by the persons mentioned in Column 3 of the said table.

Further, sub-section (2) provides that the offences mentioned in the table could be compounded by the victim with the permission of the Court. As against this, sub-section (9) specifically provides that "no offence shall be compounded except as provided by this Section". In view of the aforesaid legislative mandate, only the offences which are covered by table 1 or 2 as stated above can be compounded and the rest of the offences punishable under Indian Penal



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