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Report No. 177

Section 320 Code of Criminal Procedure: Raising pecuniary limit of Rs.250/- to Rs.25,000/- in respect of certain offences

Another change sought to be effected by the said Bill is to substitute the words "two hundred and fifty rupees" wherever they occur in the said table by the words "two thousand rupees".

Under sub-section (2) of section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, several offences which can be compounded with permission of the court, are listed. Among the offences so listed are those under section 379 (Theft), section 381 (Theft by clerk or servant of property in possession of master), section 406 (Criminal breach of trust), section 407 (Criminal breach of trust by a carrier, warfinger etc.), section 409 (Criminal breach of a trust by a clerk or servant), section 411 (Dishonestly receiving stolen property) and section 414 (Assisting in the concealment or disposal of stolen property, known to be stolen). Under section 320, the above offences are compoundable provided the pecuniary value of the property involved does not exceed Rs.250/-.

In the 154th Report of the Law Commission, it was recommended that this limit be raised to Rs.2000/-.

With a view to reduce pendency of cases falling under these sections and also having regard to the fall in the monetary value of the rupee, and to the fact that several of these matters are settled by compromise, it is recommended that the limit can be raised up to Rs.25,000/- by suitably amending column 2 of the Table below sub-section (2) of section 320 in so far as the above offences under sections 379, 381, 406, 407, 408, 411 and 414 are concerned. We recommend accordingly.

So far as the plea bargaining is concerned, we have not included any provision in the accompanying Bill for the reason that we would like the Government to take a policy decision on the question whether to introduce the said concept. This is because the Supreme Court has criticized this concept in two of its judgments namely, Murlidhar Meghraj Loya v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1976 SC 1929 and Kasambhai v. State of Gujarat, AIR 1980 SC 854. The Supreme Court had expressed an apprehension in the latter case that such a provision is likely to be abused. If, however, the Government yet decides to introduce this concept, the relevant provisions can be drafted thereafter.

In para 3.6 of the Consultation Paper it was suggested that no arrests should be permissible under sections 107 to 110 CrPC and under similar provisions, if any, in the State enactments. We do not think we need pursue this proposal in the light of what we have said earlier with respect to deletion of sub-section (2) of section 41. It is sub-section (2) of section 41 which empowers the police to arrest persons belonging to one or more of the categories specified in section 109 or 110. It is obvious that if no arrest can be made of the person concerned under section 109 or 110, there can be no question of arresting the person belonging to any of the categories mentioned in section 107 or 108 CrPC.

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