Compromise can lead to setting aside convictions, says High Court


Family members convicted by trial courts and sentenced to imprisonment in cases related to harassment of married women can approach the High Court and get their conviction set aside by entering into a compromise with the complainants even though the offence is legally non-compoundable, the Madras High Court Bench here has ruled.

Justice G.M. Akbar Ali passed the ruling while allowing a petition filed by two individuals to quash the conviction and two year rigorous imprisonment imposed on them by a judicial magistrate court at Nilakottai in Dindigul district in 2010. The Magistrate’s decision was taken on appeal, but got confirmed by an Additional Sessions Court on November 21, 2013.

After the pronouncement of the judgment by the Sessions Court, the convicts filed an application before the same court urging it to either discharge or acquit them on the basis of a compromise reached with the complainant, who was the wife of the first convict. The woman too told the court that she could not lead a peaceful life unless the convicts were acquitted.

However, the Sessions Court rejected the application on the ground that Section 498 A (husband or relative of a husband subjecting a woman to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code was a non-compoundable offence and hence the present petition.

Mr. Justice Ali agreed with the petitioners’ counsel, G. Thalaimutharasu, that though the conclusion of the Sessions Court was “technically right,” the High Court could always exercise its power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and quash even cases booked under non-compoundable offences if they were related to matrimonial disputes.

He also said that the proper course to be adopted by convicts in such cases was to approach the High Court, with a plea to set aside the conviction and sentence on the basis of a joint compromise memo, and not the trial courts or the Sessions Court because they become functus officio (becoming devoid of power) after the pronouncement of the judgment.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 8:23:52 AM |

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