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Court can quash criminal charges for attempt to murder if parties have reached early settlement under Section 482 CrPC: High Court of Delhi

When an FIR is filed under section 307 for attempt to murder, and later a petition is filed asking the court to exercise its power under Section 482 CrPC to quash that petition because if, the court shall do so if an amicable settlement has reached between both the parties in the early stages of investigation. This was decided in the case of Mohd Umair vs. State of Delhi [CRL.M.C. 674/2021] in the High Court of Delhi by the Hon’ble Judge Subramonium Prasad.

The facts of the case are that the respondent is a complainant who filed an FIR against the accused/petitioner of this case under Section 307 for attempt to murder. The accused was arguing with his mother, the complainant slapped him, he felt insulted and in anger he took a knife from a vegetable vendor and stabbed the complainant. The complainant has suffered grievous injuries and after taking the accused/petitioner in custody, he has been released on bail. This petition has been filed on the ground that after the intervention of family and friends, parties have stated to settle their dispute.

The court while exercising its jurisdiction under section 482 Cr.P.C referred to a series of case laws where conflicting ratio were held. The circumstances vary in each case and so does the discretion of court to decide whether an FIR should or should not be quashed. With respect to its inherent power of jurisdiction, it referred to the Supreme Court judgement in Gian Singh v. State of Punjab (2012) 10 SCC 303 where it was held “Inherent power is of wide plenitude with no statutory limitation but it has to be exercised in accord with the guideline engrafted in such power viz (i) to secure the ends of justice, or (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of any court.”

However, it also considered the view laid down in another case, where it was categorically stated that criminal proceedings carried under grave offences such as Section 307 IPC cannot be forgone because such provisions are not meant just to protect the individual but the society as a whole. This was the case of State of Rajasthan v. Shambhu Kewat, (2014) 4 SCC 149 where in clear terms, court showed how quashing of FIRs could undermine the very objective of criminal system using the following words “Taking a lenient view on a serious offence like the present, will leave a wrong impression about the criminal justice system and will encourage further criminal acts, which will endanger the peaceful co-existence and welfare of the society at large”

However, when the court decided in light of the facts of the present case, it observed that the two rival parties say that since they are neighbors that was the reason for restoring friendly ties. The court further stated that those criminal cases having overwhelmingly and predominantly civil character, arising out of matrimonial relationship or family disputes should be quashed when the parties have resolved their entire disputes among themselves.

It finally said that the court was inclined to exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C to quash the FIR on the ground that the parties have entered into a compromise.

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