Criminal proceedings in grave offences like rape and murder cannot be quashed despite the victim and the accused reaching a compromise and coming to an amicable settlement, the Supreme Court has ruled saying it will have harmful effect on society.
A bench of justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and N.V. Ramana, however, said that proceedings in other offences, which are not related to public peace or tranquility and confined to two individuals or groups, can be quashed after the parties reach a compromise.
“…the High Court can exercise its discretion to quash the proceedings will depend on facts and circumstances of each case. Offences which involve moral turpitude, grave offences like rape, murder etc. cannot be effaced by quashing the proceedings because that will have harmful effect on the society,” the bench said.
The apex court said that grave offences cannot be said to be restricted to two individuals or two groups and quashing of such offences may send “wrong signal” to the society.
“However, when the High Court is convinced that the offences are entirely personal in nature and, therefore, do not affect public peace or tranquillity and where it feels that quashing of such proceedings on account of compromise would bring about peace and would secure ends of justice, it should not hesitate to quash them,” the bench said.
It said in such cases (where parties compromise), the prosecution becomes a lame prosecution and pursuing it would be waste of time and energy.
“That will also unsettle the compromise and obstruct restoration of peace,” the bench said.
The apex court passed the verdict on a bunch of petitions filed by various convicts seeking quashing of proceedings against them on the ground that they have reached amicable settlement with the victims.