Supreme Court of India once again in a latest and laudable Judgment titled Arun
Singh & Others Vs. State of U.P. & Anr., in Criminal Appeal No. 250 of 2020
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (CRL) No. 5224 of 2017 reiterated
that settlement between victim and the accused cannot be a valid ground to
quash the First Information Report or the charge-sheet when the offences
alleged are against society and not private in nature.
If settlement is
allowed in such serious cases as that of Section 493 of Indian Panel Code,
1860 and Section 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act then it will only serve to
further encourage and abet the crime which cannot be allowed to happen under
Supreme Court while quashing the charge-sheet insofar as Section 493 of
Indian Panel Code, 1860 and dismissing the charge-sheet under Section 3 read
with Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, held as under:
30. In view of the above facts and discussions, we are of the considered
view that insofar as offence under Section 493 I.P.C. is concerned, since
F.I.R. does not disclose the commission of any offence under the said
Section and thus continuance of the criminal prosecution under said section
would amount to abuse of process of the Court and the order of the High
Court to that extent is liable to be set aside.
However, insofar as offence
against the appellants under Section 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act is
concerned, since the allegations disclose the commission of cognizable
offence in the F.I.R., it is not a fit case to exercise power under Section
482 Cr. P. C and to quash criminal proceedings against the appellants for
the said offence.
As a result of our aforesaid discussion, the charge sheet insofar as Section
493 I.P.C is concerned stands quashed. However, in respect of charge sheet
under Section 3 read with Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, the Appeal
Shorn of unnecessary details the brief facts which led to the filing of this
appeal can be summarised as under:
Respondent No. 2 lodged First Information Report with Police Station Izzat
Nagar, District Bareilly, under Section 493 Indian Panel Code, 1860 read
with Section 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act against the Appellants herein
which was registered as case Crime No. 431 of 2014.
The allegations made in
the First Information Report were that Respondent No. 2 approached
Appellants with the proposal of marriage of his daughter Jyoti with
Appellant No. 1. On 30th June, 2013 the Appellants visited the house of
Respondent No. 2 and after meeting his daughter the proposal was finalised.
On 21.07.2013, Ring Ceremony was performed and date of marriage was
scheduled for 19.11.2013.
Thereafter, Appellant No. 2 started visiting the house of Complainant /
Respondent No. 2 frequently and misleading his daughter Jyoti that now since
the marriage is finalised and only ceremony of ‘feras’ remains to be
performed took her for outings on various occasions.
On 16.08.2013 Appellant
No. 2 induced Jyoti to his room and established physical relationship with
her. However, subsequently thereto the Appellant started making demand of
dowry of Rs. 5 Lakh. A Complaint in this regard was made before Mahila Thana
but no action was taken. On coming to know that marriage of Appellant No. 2
was settled with some other girl for a handsome amount of dowry, the First
Information Report was lodged.
The matter was investigated by the concerned
Police Station and a charge- sheet was filed against the Appellants, which
was challenged before the High Court by way of Petition under Section 482
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
The case set up by the Appellants before the High Court was that behaviour
of the Complainant and his family members changed after the date of marriage
was fixed and they refused to share the expenses of marriage, which was
settled between the parties to be shared equally.
Further, a demand of Rs.
10 Lakhs was made from the Appellants with a threat to implicate them in a
false case in case the demand was not fulfilled. It was further pleaded that
Appellant No. 2 made an application under Section 156 (3) Cr. P. C before
the ACJM against the Complainant and his other family members. During the
pendency of proceedings under Section 156 (3) Cr. P. C a Complaint was made
by Respondent No. 2 in the Women Police Station.
Incharge Inspector of
Police Station summoned both the parties where the dispute between them was
compromised. In view of the compromise arrived, the Appellants did not press
the application under Section 156 (3) Cr. P. C. However, the Complainant -
Respondent No. 2 filed the First Information Report after about 10 months of
The High Court finding that there was no justification for quashing the
charge-sheet while dismissing the petition directed the accused Appellants
to surrender before the Court concerned within 30 days from the date of
order and in case they do so within the stipulated period and apply for bail
the same was liable to be considered and decided in view of law laid down by
full bench of High Court in case of [Amrawati & Anr. Vs State of Utter
Pardesh, 2004 (57) ALR 290] & affirmed by Supreme Court in [Lal Kamlendra
Pratap Singh Vs State of Utter Pardesh, 2009 (3) ADJ 322 (SC)].
Supreme Court while holding the High Court not to be unjustified in refusing
to quash the charge sheet on the ground of compromise between the parties,
observed as under:
15. Bearing in mind the above principles which have been laid down, we are
of the view that offences for which the appellants have been charged are infact offences against society and not private in nature.
have serious impact upon society and continuance of trial of such cases is
founded on the overridding effect of public interests in punishing persons
for such serious offences. It is neither an offence arising out of
commercial, financial, mercantile, partnership or such similar transactions
or has any element of civil dispute thus it stands on a distinct footing. In
such cases, settlement even if arrived at between the complainant and the
accused, the same cannot constitute a valid ground to quash the F.I.R. or
the charge sheet.
Although the offence under Section 493 of Indian Panel Code, 1860 is
non-compoundable in question and the offence under Section 3/4 of the Dowry
Prohibition Act is also non-compoundable, in view of Section 8 (2) of the
said Act, which provides that every offence under this Act, shall be non-bailable
and non-compoundable, the Supreme Court made reference to the observations
of Three Judge Bench of Supreme Court in [Gian Singh Versus State of
Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303] to quash the proceedings in such offences by
the High Court under Section 482 Cr. P. C, which reads as follows:
Quashing of offences or criminal proceedings on the ground of settlement
between an offender and victim is not the same thing as compounding of the
offence. They are different and not interchangeable. Strictly speaking the
power of compounding of offence given to a Court under Section 320 is
materially different from the quashing of criminal proceedings by the High
Court in exercise of the inherent jurisdiction.
In compounding of offence,
power of a criminal court is circumscribed by the provisions contained in
Section 320 and the Court is guided solely and squarely thereby while, on
the other hand, the formation of opinion by the High Court for quashing a
criminal offence or criminal proceedings or criminal complaint is guided by
the material on record as to whether the ends of justice would justify such
exercise of power although the ultimately consequence may be acquittal or
dismissal of indictment.
B. S. Joshi, Nikhil Merchant, Manoj Sharma and Shiji to illustrate the
principle that High Court may quash the criminal proceedings or F.I.R. or
complaint in exercise of its inherent power under Section 482 of the Code
and Section 320 does not limit or effect the powers of the High Court under
Can it be said that by quashing criminal proceedings in B.S.
Joshi, Nikhil Merchant, Manoj Sharma and Shiji this Court has compounded the
non-compoundable offences indirectly? We do not think so. There does exists
the distinction between compounding of an offence under Section 320 and
quashing of a criminal case by a High Court in exercise of inherent power
under Section 482. The two powers are distinct and different although the
ultimate consequence may be the same viz. acquittal of the accused or
dismissal of the indictment.
Another Three Judge Bench of Supreme Court in [Parbatbhai Aahir & Others
Versus State of Gujarat & Others, (2017) 9 SCC 641] after analysing the
precedents on, the above issue has summarised the broad principles in
Paragraph 15 of the reports as under:
15. The broad principles which emerge from the precedents on the subject,
may be summarised in the following propositions:
- Section 482 preserves the inherent powers of the High Court to
prevent an abuse of the process of any court or to secure the ends of
justice. The provision does not confer new powers. It only recognises and preserves
powers which inhere in the High Court;
- The invocation of the jurisdiction of the High court to quash a
First Information Report or a criminal proceeding on the ground that a
settlement has been arrived at between the offender and the victim is
not the same as the invocation of jurisdiction for the purpose of
compounding an offence. While compounding an offence, the power of the
court is governed by the provisions of Section 320 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1973. The Power to quash Under Section 482 is
attracted even if the offence is non-compoundable.
- In forming an opinion whether a criminal proceeding or complaint
should be quashed in exercise of its jurisdiction Under Section 482, the
High Court must evaluate whether the ends of justice would justify the
exercise of the inherent power;
- While the inherent power of the High Court has a wide ambit and
plenitude it has to be exercised:
(i) to secure the ends of justice or
to prevent an abuse of the process of any court;
- The decision as to whether a complaint or First Information Report
should be quashed on the ground that the offender and victim have
settled the dispute, revolves ultimately on the facts and circumstances
of each case and no exhaustive elaboration of principles can be
- In the exercise of the power Under Section 482 and while dealing
with a plea that the dispute has been settled, the High Court must have
due regard to the nature and gravity of the offence. Heinous and serious
offences involving mental depravity or offences such as murder, rape and dacoity
cannot appropriately be quashed though the victim or the family of the
victim have settled the dispute. Such offences are, truly speaking, not
private in nature but have a serious impact upon society. The decision to
continue with the trial in such cases is founded on the overriding element
of public interest in punishing persons for serious offences;
- As distinguished from serious offences, there may be criminal cases
which have an overwhelming or predominant element of a civil dispute.
They stand on a distinct footing in so far as the exercise of the
inherent power to quash is concerned;
- Criminal cases involving offences which arise from commercial,
financial, mercantile, partnership or similar transactions with an
essentially civil flavour may in appropriate situations fall for quashing
where parties have settled the dispute;
- In such a case, the High Court may quash the criminal proceeding if
in view of the compromise between the disputants, the possibility of a
conviction is remote and the continuation of a criminal proceeding would
cause oppression and prejudice; and
- There is yet an exception to the principle set out in propositions
(viii) and (ix) above.
Economic offences involving the financial and
economic well being of the state have implications which lie beyond the
domain of a mere dispute between private disputants. The High Court would be
justified in declining to quash where the offender is involved in an
activity akin to a financial or economic fraud misdemeanour. The
consequences of the act complained of upon the financial or economic system
will weigh in the balance.
The next issue which arose for consideration before the Supreme Court was as
to Whether the allegations made in the First Information Report constitute
commission of an offence ?
Since the Appellants had been charged with Section 493 of the Indian Penal
Code, 1860 and Section 3 read with Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
Section 493 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, thus, reads as under:
Cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful
marriage. Every man who by deceit causes any woman who is not lawfully
married to him to believe that she is lawfully married to him and to cohabit
or have sexual intercourse with him in that belief, shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years,
and shall also be liable to fine.
A plain reading of the Section goes to show that in order to constitute an
offence under this Section, it has to be demonstrated that a man has
deceitfully caused any woman, who is not lawfully married to him, to believe
that she is lawfully married wife and, thereby, co-habit with him. In other
words, the accused must induce a woman, not lawfully married to him, to
believe that she is married to him and as a result of such mis-representation,
woman should believe that she was lawfully married to the man and thus there
should be co-habitation or sexual intercourse.
A three-Judge Bench of this Court in the case of [Ram Chandra Bhagat Vs.
State of Jharkhand, 7 (2013) 1 SCC 562] after analysing the provisions of
Section 493 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, has observed as under:
Upon perusal of Section 493 IPC, to establish that a person has committed
an offence under the said section, it must be established that a person had
deceitfully induced a belief to a woman, who is not lawfully married to him,
that she is a lawfully married wife of that person and thereupon she should
cohabit or should have had sexual intercourse with that person.
Looking at the afore-stated section, it is clear that the accused must
induce a woman, who is not lawfully married to him, to believe that he is
married to her and as a result of the afore-stated representation, the woman
should believe that she was lawfully married to him and there should be
cohabitation or sexual intercourse as a result of the deception.
If a woman is induced to
change her status from that of an unmarried to that of a married woman with
all the duties and obligations pertaining to the changed relationship and
that result is accomplished by deceit, such woman within the law can be said
to have been deceived and the offence under Section 493 IPC is brought home.
Inducement by a person deceitfully to a woman to change her status from
unmarried woman to a lawfully married woman and on that inducement making
her cohabit with him in the belief that she is lawfully married to him is
what constitutes an offence under Section 493. The victim woman has been
induced to do that which, but for the false practice, she would not have
done and has been led to change her social and domestic status.
The ingredients of Section 493 can be said to be fully satisfied when it is proved:
- deceit causing a false belief of existence of a lawful marriage, and
- cohabitation or sexual intercourse with the person causing such
It is not necessary to establish the factum of marriage according to
personal law but the proof of inducement by a man deceitfully to a woman to
change her status from that of an unmarried to that of a lawfully married
woman and then make that woman cohabit with him establishes an offence under
Section 493 IPC.
The essence of an offence under Section 493 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
is, therefore, practice of deception by a man on a woman as a consequence of
which the woman is led to believe that she is lawfully married to him
although she is not and then make her cohabit with him.
Deceit can be said
to be a false statement of fact made by a person knowingly and recklessly
with the intent that it shall be acted upon by another who on believing the
same after having acted thereupon suffers an injury. It is an attempt to
deceive and includes such declaration and statement that misleads others or
causes him to believe which otherwise is false and incorrect.
words, to constitute an offence under Section 493 of the Indian Penal Code,
1860, the allegations in the First Information Report must demonstrate that
appellant had practiced deception on the daughter of the complainant causing
a false belief of existence of lawful marriage and which led her to cohabit
Since the ingredients to constitute an offence under Section 493 of the
Indian Penal Code, 1860 did not cull out any inducement of belief in the
victim that she was lawfully married to the Appellant No.1 and on account of
this deceitful mis-statement, the victim co-habited with the accused, the
High Court having failed to advert itself to the aforesaid aspects discussed
hereinabove and to that extent, the Judgment was held not liable to be
sustained by Supreme Court as under:
23. From a perusal of the F.I.R., we do not find that allegations made
therein can be said to constitute any offence under Section 493 IPC. There
are no allegation of any inducement or any deceit to make the victim believe
that she was lawfully married to the appellant, which mislead her to have
sexual intercourse with the accused appellant no.1.
Only allegations in the First Information Report in this regard are that
after the marriage was settled, the appellant no.1 started visiting the
house of the complainant frequently and would mislead and instigate his
daughter that relation is final and only Feras remains to be
performed. On the fateful day, i.e., 16.08.2013, the appellant no.1 took
leave and enticed and instigated his daughter took her to his room and
promising that she is being his wife established physical relations.
In the final analysis, the Supreme Court concluded that settlement between
victim and the accused cannot be a valid ground to quash the FIR or the
charge sheet when the offences alleged are against society and not private
in nature. Such offences have serious impact upon society and continuance of
trial of such cases is founded on the overriding effect of public interests
in punishing persons for such serious offences.
Written By: Damini Singh Chauhan - Semester 9th, The Law School,
University of Jammu.
Email; [email protected]