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Report No. 243

8. Compounding the Offence

8.1 There is preponderance of opinion in favour of making the offence under Section 498-A compoundable with the permission of the court. Even those (individuals, officials and organizations) who say that it should remain a non- bailable offence, have suggested that the offence should be made compoundable, subject to the permission of court. Some States, for e.g., Andhra Pradesh have already made it compoundable.

The Supreme Court, in the case of Ramgopal v. State of M.P. in SLP (Crl.) No. 6494 of 2010 (Order dt. July 30, 2010), observed that the offence under Section 498-A should be made compoundable. However, there is sharp divergence of views on the point whether it should be made a bailable offence. It is pleaded by some that the offence should be made bailable at least with regard to husband's relations and in respect of the cases failing under second part of the Explanation Clause (b) to Section 498-A.

8.2 As regards compoundability, the Commission has given a comprehensive report (237th Report) under the title of "Compounding of IPC Offences". The Commission recommended that the offence under Section 498-A should be made a compoundable offence with the permission of Court. The Commission has suggested the inclusion of the following sub-section in Section 320 Cr.PC:

After the application for compounding an offence under Section 498-A of Indian Penal Code is filed and on interviewing the aggrieved woman, preferably in the Chamber in the presence of a lady judicial officer or a representative of District Legal Services Authority or a counsellor or a close relation, if the Magistrate is satisfied that there was prima facie a voluntary and genuine settlement between the parties, the Magistrate shall make a record to that effect and the hearing of application shall be adjourned by three months or such other earlier date which the Magistrate may fix in the interests of Justice.

On the adjourned date, the Magistrate shall again interview the victim woman in the like manner and then pass the final order permitting or refusing to compound the offence after giving opportunity of hearing to the accused. In the interregnum, it shall be open to the aggrieved woman to file an application revoking her earlier offer to compound the offence on sufficient grounds.

Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code Back

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