High Courts can quash criminal proceedings to meet ends of justice

The Supreme Court on Friday directed trial courts and High Courts to encourage settlement of matrimonial disputes, of which there has been an “outburst” in recent times.

“Even if the offences are non-compoundable, if they relate to matrimonial disputes and the court is satisfied that the parties have settled the same amicably and without pressure, we hold that for the purpose of securing ends of justice, Section 320 of the Cr.PC. would not be a bar to quashing the FIR, complaint or subsequent criminal proceedings,” said a three-judge Bench.

Writing the judgment, Justice P. Sathasivam said, “The institution of marriage occupies an important place and it has an important role to play in society.” Therefore, if the parties pondered their faults and terminated their disputes amicably by mutual agreement, the courts should be less hesitant about exercising their extraordinary jurisdiction.

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