The State of Madhya Pradesh vs Laxmi Narayan and others - Important Supreme Court Judgment 2019

The State of Madhya Pradesh vs Laxmi Narayan and others - Important Supreme Court Judgment 2019


On 5th March, 2019, in the case of The State of Madhya Pradesh v. Laxmi Narayan and others [Criminal Appeal No.349 of 2019], a three Judge Bench held that the power conferred under Section 482 CrPC to quash criminal proceedings for non-compoundable offences under Section 320 CrPC “can be exercised having overwhelmingly and predominantly the civil character, particularly those arising out of commercial transactions or arising out of matrimonial relationship or family disputes and when the parties have resolved the entire dispute amongst themselves”.


The Bench held that “such power is not to be exercised in those prosecutions which involved heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc.” saying that “such offences are not private in nature and have a serious impact on society.” Similarly, it was held that “such power is not to be exercised for the offences under the special statutes like Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity are not to be quashed merely on the basis of compromise between the victim and the offender.”


Further, it was held by the Bench that “offences under Section 307 IPC and the Arms Act etc. would fall in the category of heinous and serious offences and therefore are to be treated as crime against the society and not against the individual alone, and therefore, the criminal proceedings for the offence under Section 307 IPC and/or the Arms Act etc. which have a serious impact on the society cannot be quashed in exercise of powers under Section 482 of the Code, on the ground that the parties have resolved their entire dispute amongst themselves.” However, it was also made clear that “the High Court would not rest its decision merely because there is a mention of Section 307 IPC in the FIR or the charge is framed under this provision. It would be open to the High Court to examine as to whether incorporation of Section 307 IPC is there for the sake of it or the prosecution has collected sufficient evidence, which if proved, would lead to framing the charge under Section 307 IPC. For this purpose, it would be open to the High Court to go by the nature of injury sustained, whether such injury is inflicted on the vital/delegate parts of the body, nature of weapons used etc. However, such an exercise by the High Court would be permissible only after the evidence is collected after investigation and the charge sheet is filed/charge is framed and/or during the trial. Such exercise is not permissible when the matter is still under investigation.”


The Bench further held that “while exercising the power under Section 482 of the Code to quash the criminal proceedings in respect of non-compoundable offences”, which are private in nature and do not have a serious impact on society, “on the ground that there is a settlement/compromise between the victim and the offender, the High Court is required to consider the antecedents of the accused; the conduct of the accused, namely, whether the accused was absconding and why he was absconding, how he had managed with the complainant to enter into a compromise etc.”

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