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Manoj v/s State of Madhya Pradesh & Another

Company & Directors' Information:- MANOJ PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1980PTC010292

    Criminal Revision No. 3504 of 2017

    Decided On, 05 March 2020

    At, High Court of Madhya Pradesh Bench at Indore


    For the Appearing Parties: M.L. Sharma, Gaurav Verma, R.S. Parmar, Advocates.

Judgment Text

1. Applicant has preferred this revision petition under Section 397 read with Section 401 of 'the code' being aggrieved by the judgment dated 20/11/2017 passed in Cri. Appeal No.236/2015, by Additional Sessions Judge, Narsinghgarh, District-Rajgarh, whereby, Sessions Judge partly allowed the appeal by affirming the conviction against applicant Manoj for offence under Section 498-A of IPC, 1860 and reduced the sentence from two years to one year R.I. by enhancing the fine amount from Rs.500/- to Rs.2,000/- passed by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Narsinghgarh, District-Rajgarh, in Criminal case No.391/2014, vide order dated 10/07/2015.

2. Facts leading to filing of this revision application are that respondent No.2/ complainant lodged a report at Police Station Narsinghgarh to the effect that four years back her marriage was solemnized with applicant-Manoj according to Hindu rituals and customs. After one year of their marriage the applicant and his family members were persistently making demand of cash amounting to Rs.2.00 lakhs and a four wheeler from respondent No.2/complainant. With intend to compel the respondent to bring the said demand, they used to harass her. When their demand of dowry was not satisfied, then on 19/05/2014, the applicant assaulted the respondent No.2/complainant showed the door to her, therefore, she started living in her paternal house. On the basis of which FIR bearing Crime No.197/2014 for offence under Sections 498-A, 323, 506/34 of IPC, 1860 against the applicant and other accused persons. During investigation, complainant was sent to hospital for medical examination. Accused Manoj and Rajubai were arrested. After completion of investigation, charge-sheet was filed against the accused persons.

3. The trial Court after framing of charges and recording the evidence, convicted the accused persons for offence under Section 498-A of IPC, 1860, sentenced each of them to undergo 2 years R.I with a fine of Rs.500/- each and usual default stipulation. Being aggrieved by the aforesaid judgment, accused persons filed Cr.A. No.236/2015 before the Court of Sessions, which was partly allowed by acquitting the accused persons Chandar Dhangi and Rajubai, (father and mother of the applicant, respectively) for the offence under Section 498-A of IPC, 1860 whereas the conviction against applicant Manoj for offence under Section 498-A of IPC, 1860 was maintained and the sentence was reduced from two years to one year R.I. and the fine amount was enhanced from Rs.500/- to Rs.2,000/-, hence the present revision.

4. Learned counsel for the parties have submitted that during the pendency of this revision petition, the complainant-Kantabai and the applicant have jointly filed application bearing I.A. Nos. 4914/2019 and 4915/2019 under Sections 320 and 320(2) of Cr.P.C respectively, stating that the dispute between the parties has been resolved and they have entered into compromise with no intention to pursue the matter further. In compliance of the order dated 19/06/2019 passed by this Court the factum of compromise has been verified by the Principal Registrar of this Court and he has submitted a report on 19/06/2019 that both the parties have arrived at compromise voluntarily without any threat, inducement & coercion and thus now the respondent No.2 is not having any grievances with the applicant, hence, counsel prayed for setting aside the impugned judgments.

5. Before going into the merits of the case, in order to appreciate the findings of the Courts below, which have convicted and sentenced the applicants for the aforesaid offence, this Court has been requested by the learned counsel for the parties to record the compromise arrived at by the parties concerned and set aside conviction and sentence based on compromise. It is, therefore, necessary for this Court to consider as to whether after conviction and sentence of an accused person, this Court by exercising its jurisdiction under Section 397, 401 and Section 482 of 'the Code' can compound the offence and set aside the conviction and sentence more particularly where the offence involved is noncompoundable in nature.

6. The Hon'ble apex Court in the case of Parbatbhai Aahir @ Parbatbhai Bhimsinhbhai Karmur and Ors vs. State of Gujarat, 2017 9 SCC 641 after considering all the earlier judgments summarized the principles that need to be kept in the mind of the High Courts while considering a plea for quashing F.I.R/criminal proceedings under Section 482 of 'the Code' on the ground of settlement between the parties, issued certain guidelines. These guidelines clearly reiterates inherent power of the High Court under Section 482 of 'the Code' to prevent the abuse of the process of any Court or to secure the ends of justice and also reiterates that the power to quash under Section 482 of 'the Code' is attracted even if the offence is noncompoundable and that its inherent jurisdiction is distinct and different from the power given to a criminal court for compounding the offences under Section 320 of the Code.

7. A careful reading of the judgment of Parbatbhai Aahir (Supra) and the earlier judgments that have been considered, clearly pointed out to the fact that the stage at which the power has to be exercised is at the stage of a F.I.R or final report or pending criminal proceedings. There is no indication from the judgment or earlier judgments relied upon in this judgment as to whether the power of compounding a non-compoundable offence can be done even in cases where criminal case has come to an end and the order of conviction and sentence has already been passed.

8. In the case of Manohar Singh.Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh and Another, 2014 13 SCC 75 the Hon'ble Apex Court has specifically considered the issue as to whether a conviction can be quashed on the ground that the parties have compromised the matter in exercise of the inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 'the Code'. In this case the offence involved was under Section 498 (A) of IPC and Section 4 of the Dowry Probation Act. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has held in para 6 and 8 as follows:

"06. Section 498-A IPC is non-compoundable. Section 4 of the Dowry Act is also noncompoundable. It is not necessary to state that noncompoundable offences cannot be compounded by a court. While considering the request for compounding of offences that court has to strictly follow the mandate of Section 320 of the Code. It is, therefore, not possible to permit compounding of offences under Section 498-A IPC and Section 4 of the Dowry Act. However, if there is a genuine compromise between husband and wife, criminal complaints arising out of matrimonial discord can be quashed, even if the offences alleged therein are non-compoundable, because such offences are personal in nature and do not have repercussions on the society unlike heinous offences like murder, rape, etc. (see Gian Singh .v. State of Punjab ). If the High Courts forms an opinion that it is necessary to quash the proceedings to prevent abuse of the process of any court or to secure ends of justice, the High Court can do so. The inherent power of the High Court under Section 482 of the Code is not inhibited by Section 320 of the Code. Needless to say that this Court can also follow such a course.

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8. In the instant case, the appellant is convicted under Section 498-A IPC and sentenced to undergo six months imprisonment. He is convicted under Section 4 of the Dowry Act and sentenced to undergo six months imprisonment. Substantive sentences are to run concurrently. Even though the appellant and Respondent 2 wife have arrived at a compromise, the order of conviction cannot be quashed on that ground because the offences involved are non-compoundable. However, in such a situation if the court feels that the parties have a real desire to bury the hatchet in the interest of peace, it can reduce the sentence of the accused to the sentence already undergone. Section 498-A IPC does not prescribe any minimum punishment. Section 4 of the Dowry Act prescribes minimum punishment of six months but proviso thereto states that the court may, for adequate or special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term which may be less than six months. Therefore, sentence of the appellant can be reduced to sentence already undergone by him."

9. In the present case although the parties have arrived at compromised, however, this Court cannot quash the entire prosecution in view of the judgment of the Supreme Court in Manohar Singh (Supra). Therefore, this Court proceeded to analyse the evidence on record. It is noticed that commission of the alleged offence by the applicant is established on the basis of the statements of complainantKanthabai (P.W.1), Kailash Narayan (P.W.2), Geetabai (P.W.3), and Dinesh Dhangi (P.W.4). The scope of appreciation of evidence in the revision is very limited, therefore, this Court is of the view that the Courts below have rightly believed the testimony of the prosecution witnesses. In view of the aforesaid this Court does not find any ground to interfere with the order of conviction as confirmed in the appeal.

10. The learned counsel for the applicant has submitted that the applicant is husband of the respondent No.2/complainant -Kanthabai and they have already settled their dispute and en

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tered into compromise, which has already been verified by the Principal Registrar of this Court. The applicant has faced the trial for more than 5 years and he has already served 15 days of his jail sentence. Under these circumstances counsel prayed that the sentence of the applicant be reduced to sentence already undergone by him. 11. Considering the aforesaid submission, I am of the considered opinion that looking to the fact that both the parties have settled their dispute and they wanted to live peacefully in future, the applicant has faced the trial for more than 5 years and he has already served 15 days of his jail sentence, therefore, the jail sentence awarded to the applicant is reduced to the period already undergone by him, whereas the fine amount imposed by the Courts below is hereby affirmed. With the aforesaid modification the criminal revision stands partly allowed and disposed of. 12. A copy of the judgment be sent to the trial Court for information and compliance. Certified copy as per Rules.