Read Judgement: Balvinder Singh v. State of Haryana and another 

LE Staff

Chandigarh, July 5, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has quashed a criminal case against a Haryana resident who fled from a petrol pump without making a payment of Rs 500 but later paid the money.

The accused, identified as Balvinder Singh from Haryana’s Sirsa district, was slapped with charges under section 379 (theft) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code in March this year in an FIR registered at Baragudha police station in Haryana’s Sirsa district on the complaint of the petrol pump owner.

The accused through his petition before the court pleaded that having realized his mistake, he has since paid the amount of Rs.500 to the complainant, and no useful purpose would be served by continuing with the present proceedings.

However, the state counsel emphatically opposed the accused’s prayer and stated that since the petitioner ran away from the spot intentionally without paying the fuel charges, he cannot escape criminal prosecution and be allowed to scuttle the proceedings mid-way.

Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill, however, ruled that as the amount stands paid and the pump owner has also given his no objection for quashing of the FIR, continuing with the proceedings would be an abuse of the process of law and rather add to the huge pile of criminal trials

“The litigating parties i.e. the petitioner and complainant, are not vying for further proceedings. The said course of action, thus, stifles the arguments raised by the learned State counsel,” the judge observed in the July 2 order.

 He further stated that the Full Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in case Kulwinder Singh vs. State of Punjab and another and the Division Bench of the same High Court in case Sube Singh and another vs. State of Haryana and another, observed that compounding of offence can be allowed even in the cases involving non-compoundable offence(s).

The Judge also quoted the Supreme Court’s order Gian Singh vs State of Punjab and another where it was held that heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. cannot be fittingly quashed even though the victim or victim’s family and the offender have settled the dispute.

Similarly, any compromise between the victim and offender in relation to the offences under special statutes like Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity etc. cannot provide for any basis for quashing criminal proceedings involving such offences.

But the criminal cases having overwhelmingly civil flavour stand on a different footing for the purposes of quashing, particularly the offences arising from commercial, financial, mercantile, civil, partnership or such like transactions where the wrong is basically private or personnel in nature and the parties have resolved their entire dispute, the High Court has held in this case.

The Judge stated that the same view was also reiterated by the Supreme Court in Narinder Singh and others Vs. State of Punjab and another.

“In view of the above, the present petition is allowed. Accordingly, the said FIR with all consequential proceedings arising therefrom, is hereby quashed,” the order stated.

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