Chandigarh, May 10, 2022: While dealing with a case where an altercation between neighbours led to a decade long litigation, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has quashed an FIR filed under Sections 323, 324, 326, 506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, based on the compromise entered into between the parties.
The Bench of Justice Vinod S. Bhardwaj held that the continuation of the proceedings is likely to be a waste of judicial time and that the object of law is well served when the parties resolve their differences and choose to peacefully co-exist and live in harmony.
It was further opined by the Bench,“The offence in question cannot be said to be heinous or as an offence that would be shocking to the conscience of the society or public at large. It can also not be termed as one shocking to the conscience of the Court…”
By means of the instant petition, the jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) was invoked for seeking quashing of an FIR filed under Sections 323, 324, 326, 506 and 34 of IPC based on compromise entered between the parties.
The incident in question was an outcome of verbal superlatives used by the petitioner at the time when the second respondent-complainant was cleaning his Car which resulted in a quarrel amongst the parties and the complainant suffered injuries on non-vital parts of the body in the resultant fight. The petitioners were convicted by the Trial Court and a criminal appeal against the said judgment is pending before the Sessions Court at Patiala.
After ten long years of litigation, the matter was compromised and on the orders of the High Court, the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Rajpura, in its report, declared the compromise to be valid and voluntary.
The State counsel did not dispute the factum of the compromise amongst the parties and he also did not have any serious objection to the resolution of the dispute amongst the parties. Similarly, the counsel representing the second respondent reiterated the settlement terms and his concurrence to the FIR and all the other consequential proceedings being quashed.
At the very outset, on the legal position governing quashing of FIR based on a compromise between parties, the Court referred to the cases of Gian Singh v. State of Punjab and Another, Parbatbhai Aahir @ Parbatbhai Bhimsinhbhai Karmur and Others v. State of Gujarat and another, Kulwinder Singh and others versus State of Punjab and another 2007 (3) RCR (Criminal), and lastly to Ramgopal And Another Vs State of Madhya Pradesh, 2021 SCC Online SC 834 wherein it was held that the matters which can be categorized as personal or in the matter in which the nature of injuries do not exhibit mental depravity or commission of an offence of such a serious nature that quashing of which would override public interest, the Court can quash the FIR because of the settlement arrived at amongst the parties.
Coming to the facts of the present case, the Court observed that the incident in question took place in 2010 and the parties happen to be residents of the same locality and continued prosecution is likely to ruin the peaceful atmosphere of the locality. Further, the Court was of the opinion that even though the evidence of the prosecution was already recorded resulting in the conviction of the petitioners, however, taking into fact that the matter was amicably resolved and the parties were not intending to continue with criminal proceedings against each other, it would be in the fitness of things that the proceedings were quashed.
On the nature of the offence, the Court was of the view that the offence in question was not heinous or of such a nature as would be shocking to the conscience of the society or public at large. It can also not be termed as one shocking to the conscience of the Court, Justice Bhardwaj held.
Thus, in this light, the Court was of the considered view that the continuation of the proceedings and forcing the parties to undergo rigours of criminal proceedings was not likely to subserve any large public interest and the proceedings were likely to end in futility for want of parties to support the case of the prosecution.
Additionally, the Court observed that the parties did not have any criminal antecedents and that the complainant was not likely to support the case of the prosecution. Continuation of the proceedings is likely to be a waste of judicial time.
Thus, while holding that the object of law is well served when the parties resolve their differences and choose to peacefully co-exist and live in harmony, the Court allowed the quashing plea.
However, the same was subjected to the payment of the cost of Rs.5,000 each to be deposited by the petitioners with the “Poor Patients Welfare Fund’ of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh”.