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Compounding Of Offences Under The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 | Overview
- Objectives of Compounding of Offences
- Compoundable Offences
- Offences Compoundable with the Permission of the Court
- Offences Compoundable without the permission of the court
This article is an endeavour to comprehend the law of Compounding of Criminal Cases. As is normal information, the essential provision is contained in Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973. This segment, with petty amendments in two Tables of offences under the IPC in Clauses (1) and (2) thereof as likewise accommodating the impact of the death of the individual able to compound. It further gives bar against composition against a denounced having a past conviction.
The provision is the resurrection of Section 345 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898. Aside from the over the meaning of “offence” in Section 2(n) of the Code, 1973 and the arrangements of Section 4 and 5 of the Code, 1973 which separately are equivalent to the Provision of Section 4(1) (O), Section 5 and Section 1(2) of the Code, 1898 must be considered to comprehend the law as to intensifying of offences completely.
Criminal law has multi-faceted objectives. It is not an objective if criminal law to avenge the victim or punish the offender. Criminal law aims at bringing the offender to justice by allowing him an opportunity to explain his deeds and understand whether the person understands his actions or not.
The final purpose of criminal law is that justice is done by either providing appropriate punishment to the offender or acquitting the accused person and ensuring that the offender is effectively rehabilitated.
Now, since the criminal does not aim at punishing the offender or eliminating offenders from the society, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 has been imbibed with provisions for the settlement of cases outside the court if the accused understands his/her acts and is willing to pay for the damages caused by him. The act of settling a criminal prosecution outside the court with mutual consent of the victim and the offender is called compounding of offences.
Not all offences are allowed to be settled outside the court. Section 320 of the CrPC which allows compounding of offences under the IPC and other offences lays down a table specifically mentioning the offences which can be settled outside the court and by whom. Offences which are allowed to be settled outside the court are called compoundable offences and which are not allowed to be resolved outside the court are called non-compoundable offences.
Objectives of Compounding of Offences
The provisions for compounding of offences came as a new provision after the Criminal Procedure Code 1898 was devoured by the present Criminal Procedure Code. The main objectives as laid down in the 41st law commission report which suggested the present CrPC are as follows:
- Amicable Settlement: Compounding of offences allows amicable settlement of criminal cases which otherwise would involve leading voluminous evidence, oral and documentary, and allegations will be hurled on each other. Composition of the issue assists is avoiding these circumstances and dispose of the prosecution in a most ameliorating manner.
- Reducing Burden of Courts: Criminal courts are always overburdened with cases because of the increasing number of crimes in the society. Every new case brought before the court is a burden upon the court. If the case is settled between the parties outside the court, it helps to reduce the burden of the courts as well.
- Mutual Respect and Reformation: Settlement of a criminal case shows the guilt and remorse inside the accused person and the willingness to make good the harm done. Subjecting such person to rigorous trial and keeping him/her in detention only deteriorates his mental capacity. It is a known factor that no one criminal has come reformed from jail. Hence, the settlement allows the person to accept his offence and lead a reformed life.
- Expeditious Resolution: A criminal trial, however minor, takes minimum 2 to 3 years to complete and the sentence to be announced. Allowing the parties to settle the case within themselves enable them to save time and money of the hefty prosecution.
As aforementioned, offences which can be resolved outside the court are called compoundable offences. In such offences, the injured person or victim or his/her family (as the case may be) and the accused person enter into agreement oral or written whereby on performance of certain act by the accused or fulfilling of certain conditions by the accused, the victim (prosecutor or prosecutrix) agree to drop the charges against the accused and withdraw the prosecution.
The compounding must be bona fide not with any malice or hidden motive. Further, offences compoundable at the option of the aggrieved party must be without any form of consideration. If there is an agreement between the victim and the accused to drop charges, it is invalid and the court may reject such settlement.
For instance, A wants to purchase a house of B which B does not want to sell. A initiates prosecution against B in a cheating case that A acquired through his sources. A offers B to withdraw charges if B sells the house to A. This is not a valid composition and hence, liable to be rejected by the court.
There are two types of compoundable offences:
Offences Compoundable with the Permission of the Court
In offences which are compoundable at the permission of the court, the parties have to mutually file an application for compounding the offence outside the court mutually. The court looks into the reason for compounding, the authenticity in compounding the offences and whether it will do justice to the victim and reform the accused or not.
If the court is satisfied that the parties have a bona fide intention to resolve the case outside the court, it grants the permission and fixes a date for intimation to the court the settlement finally agreed. After this, the case is disposed of as settled.
The following table shows which offences are compoundable with the permission of the court and at the option of which of the parties.
|Offence||Provision of IPC||Person by whom offence may be compounded|
|Assault or criminal force in attempting wrongfully to confine a person||357||The person assaulted or to whom the force was used|
|Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty||354||The woman assaulted to whom the criminal force was used|
|Assisting in the concealment or disposal of stolen property, knowing it to be stolen, where the value of the stolen property does not exceed two thousand rupees.||414||The owner of the property stolen.|
|Causing hurt by doing an act so rashly and negligently as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others||337||The person to whom hurt is caused|
|Cheating a person whose interest the offender was bound, either by law or by legal contract, to protect.||418||The person cheated.|
|Cheating.||417||The person cheated.|
|Criminal breach of trust, where the value of the property does not exceed two thousand rupees.||406||The owner of the property in respect of which the breach of trust has been committed.|
|Defamation against the President or the Vice-President or the Governor of a State or the Administrator of a Union Territory or a Minister in respect of his conduct in the discharge of his public functions when instituted upon a complaint made by the public prosecutor.||500||The person defamed.|
|Dishonest misappropriation of property||403||The owner of the property misappropriated|
|Dishonestly receiving stolen property, knowing it to be stolen when the value of the stolen property does not exceed two thousand rupees.||411||The owner of the property stolen.|
|House trespass to commit an offence (other than theft) punishable with imprisonment.||451||The person in possession of the house trespassed upon.|
|Marrying again during the lifetime of a husband or wife.||494||The husband or wife of the person so marrying.|
|Mischief by killing or maiming animal of the value of ten rupees or upwards.||428||The owner of the animal.|
|Theft by clerk or servant of property in possession of master where the value of the property stolen does not exceed two thousand rupees||381||The owner of the property stolen|
|Theft, where the value of property stolen, does not exceed two thousand rupees||379||The owner of the property stolen|
|Using a false trade or property mark.||482||The person to whom loss or injury is caused by such use.|
|Uttering words or sounds or making gestures or exhibiting any object intending to insult the modesty of a woman or intruding upon the privacy of a woman.||509||The woman whom it was intended to insult or whose privacy was intruded upon.|
|Voluntarily causing grievous hurt||325||The person to whom hurt is caused|
|Voluntarily causing grievous hurt on grave and sudden provocation||335||The person to whom hurt is caused|
|Wrongfully confining a person for three days or more||343||The person confined|
Offences Compoundable without the permission of the court
Besides the above-listed offences, there are petty offences which do not have any effect on the society and even if there is some malicious intention to settle between the accused and the victim, it can be let go considering the non-heinous trait of the offence. In these cases, the parties agree upon a settlement and inform the court that they have settled the case and the prosecutor withdraws the prosecution.
The following table shows which offences which do not require the permission of the court to be compounded:
|Offence||Provision of I.P.C.||Person by whom offence may be compounded|
|Uttering words, etc. with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of the person||298||The person whose religious feelings are intended to be wounded|
|Causing hurt||323, 334||The person to whom the hurt is caused|
|Wrongfully restraining confining any person||341, 342||The person restrained or confined|
|Assault or use of criminal force||352, 355, 358||The person assaulted or to whom criminal force is used|
|criminal trespass||447||The person in possession of the property trespassed upon|
|House-trespass||448||The person in possession of the property trespassed upon|
|Criminal breach of contract of service||491||The person with whom the offender has contracted|
|Adultery||497||The husband of the woman|
|Enticing or taking away or detaining with the criminal intent of a married woman||498||The husband of the woman|
|Defamation, except such cases as are specified against Section 500 of the I.P.C., 1860 in column 1 of the Table under sub-section (2)||500||The person defamed|
|Printing or engraving matter, knowing it to be defamatory||501||The person defamed|
|Insult intended to provoke a breach of the peace||504||The person insulted|
|Criminal intimidation except when the offence is punishable with imprisonment for seven years||506||The person intimidated|
|The act caused by making a person believe that he will be an object of divine displeasure||508||The person against whom the offence was committed|
- V. Kelkar, Lectures on Criminal Law (8th ed. 2016).
- D. Basu, Criminal Procedure (6th ed. 2014).
 Adultery is no longer a criminal offence as held in Joseph Shine v. Union of India.