Can the court treat a non-compoundable offence as a compoundable one? written by Shatakshi Kakkar student of Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA
SHANKAR V STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
The above case in the Hon’ble Supreme Court is an appeal from the Bombay High Court. In this case, the appellants i.e. Shankar, his wife Parvatibai, and Vivek were convicted under Section 436 of IPC r/w Section 34 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 (acts are done by several persons having a common intention) as well as Section 323 of IPC r/w Section 34 of IPC, i.e., for the offense of mischief by fire or any explosive substance and for voluntarily causing hurt. The case was decided in the favour of the respondents or the complainants of the original case at both the trial court as well as the High Court and therefore the appellants have preferred this appeal.
Since Vivek i.e. the 2nd appellant has no evidence against him for the evident act of setting fire to the house of Namdeo, is it right to convict him under Section 436 r/w Section 34 of IPC?
Can an offense that is originally not compoundable under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) can be treated as a compoundable offense?
Pertaining to the first issue, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that since the second appellant i.e. Vivek has no evidence against him setting fire to the house of the complainants neither does he have a common intention to that of the first and the third appellant i.e. Shankar and Parvatibai respectively, he should not be held liable for the offense of causing mischief by fire i.e. Section 436 r/w Section 34 of IPC and hence his conviction is set aside by the Court.
As far as the second issue is concerned, it is not considered appropriate to compound an offense which is non-compoundable under the CrPC but the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the following case stated that by considering the circumstances of the case and the relationship of parties at hand, the Court found it suitable to compound an offense, in reality, which is non-compoundable.
The Supreme Court took into consideration the precedent of various cases like Ishwar Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh [(2008) 15 SCC 667], Murugesan v Ganapathy velar [(2001) 10 SCC 504], Jetha Ram v. State of Rajasthan [(2006) 9 SCC 255], Ishwarlal v. State of M.P. [(2008) 15 SCC 671] as well as Mahesh Chand v. State of Rajasthan [1990 Supp SCC 681] and thereby came to the conclusion that if the parties of the case come to a compromise, such compromise should be given due consideration and if the facts and situations are viable and justified the Court can convert a non-compoundable offense into a compoundable one.
Hence, in the following case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court came to the conclusion that the compromise taken place between the parties is a relevant one, and also the relationship between the parties should also be given due consideration. As a result of the compromise between the parties the conviction of all the three appellants under Section 323 IPC i.e. voluntarily causing hurt is set aside for the remaining period and whatever they have completed till now will be considered completed and they are acquitted of the charges. The second appellant, Vivek is acquitted of the charges of causing mischief of fire under Section 436 of IPC as well.
The following case of Shankar v. the State of Maharashtra reinstated the fact that even a non-compoundable offense i.e. an offense for which no compromise is available under the CrPC can also be converted into a compoundable offense i.e. an offense for which the parties can settle the case after compromising if the Court is satisfied with such compromise keeping in mind all the facts, issues and relationships in due consideration.