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NON- COMPOUNDABLE- SENTENCE REDUCED.= This Court has in a long line of decisions ruled that offences which are not compoundable under Section 320 of the Cr.P.C. cannot be allowed to be compounded even if there is any settlement between the complainant on the one hand and the accused on the other. Reference in this regard may be made to the decisions of this Court in Ram Lal and Anr. v. State of J & K (1999) 2 SCC 213, 5 and Ishwar Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh (2008) 15 SCC 667. We have, therefore, no hesitation in rejecting the prayer for permission to compound the offence for which Appellant Nos. 2 and 3 stand convicted. 8. Having said that we are of the view that the settlement/compromise arrived at between the parties can be taken into consideration for the purpose of determining the quantum of sentence to be awarded to the appellants. That is precisely the approach which this Court has adopted in the cases referred to above. Even when the prayer for composition has been declined this Court has in the two cases mentioned above taken the fact of settlement between the parties into consideration while dealing with the question of sentence. Apart from the fact that a settlement has taken place between the parties, there are few other circumstances that persuade us to interfere on the question of sentence awarded to the appellants. The incident in question had taken place in the year 1994. The parties are related to each other. Both Appellant nos. 2 and 3 were at the time of the incident in their twenties. It is 6 also noteworthy that the incident had led to registration of a cross case against the complainant party in which the trial Court has already convicted Veeraji and others for offences punishable under Sections 325/34 and 323 IPC and sentenced them to undergo imprisonment for a period of two years and a fine of Rs.300/- and imprisonment of six months under Section 323 IPC. We are told that the parties having settled the matter, will approach the High Court for an appropriate order in the appeal pending before it. More so, the appellants have already served substantial part of the sentence awarded to them. 9. In the totality of the circumstances we are of the view that the settlement arrived at between the parties is a sensible step that will benefit the parties, give quietus to the controversy and rehabilitate and normalise the relationship between them. 10. In the result, while upholding the order of conviction recorded by the Courts below, we reduce the sentence awarded to the appellants to the sentence already undergone by them. The appeal is to that extent allowed 7 and the impugned orders modified. The appellants shall be set free forthwith if not otherwise required in any other case.

REPORTABLE

Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. OF 2011

(Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.474 of 2011)
Gulab Das & Ors. …Appellants

Versus

State of M.P. …Respondent
J U D G M E N T
T.S. THAKUR, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. This appeal calls in question the correctness of an
order passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at
Jabalpur whereby Criminal Appeal No.1509 of 2000 filed by
the appellants challenging their conviction and the
sentences awarded to them by the Additional Sessions
1
Judge, Hoshangabad, in Sessions Trial No.60/1995 has
been dismissed.

3. Appellant No.1, Gulab Das and his brother, Veeraji are
residents of village Sonasavri, District Hoshangabad in the
State of Madhya Pradesh. Both of them have built their
respective houses that are adjacent to each other. Three
days prior to the incident Gulab Das had put up a partition
fence between the two properties. On 30th September, 1994
at about 7.45 a.m. while Veeraji was shifting the partition
fence, alleging that it encroached on his property, an
exchange of hot words started between Gulab Das and his
two sons who are appellant Nos. 2 & 3 on one hand and
Veeraji, his wife and sons on the other. A free fight followed
in which both the parties received injuries resulting in
registration of cross cases by them in Police Station Itarsi,
District Hoshangabad. While the case registered against the
appellants was for offences punishable under Sections 307,
325, 323 read with Section 34 IPC, that registered against
the opposite party was for the alleged commission of
offences punishable under Sections 325, 323, 294 read with

2
Section 34 IPC. Separate charge sheets in relation to both
the cases were filed by the police before the Jurisdictional
Magistrate who committed the cases to the Court of
Sessions Judge, Hoshangabad. The case against the
appellants was made over to the First Additional Sessions
Judge, Hoshangabad, who acquitted the appellants for
some of the offences while convicting them for some others
with which they were charged. The operative portion of the
trial Court‘s order was in the following words:

“Therefore, accused persons Rajendra @ Rajjan and

Chetan is being held guilty for charges under section

307 IPC for causing deadly injuries with intention to

cause death of Veeraji and accused Gopaldas is being

held guilty under section 323 IPC for causing voluntary

simple injuries on Veeraji and accused persons Chetan

is held guilty under Section 323 IPC for causing simple

injuries on Phoolabai. Accused Chandrashekhar is

being acquitted from charges under sections 307,

307/34, 325/34, 323/34, 323/34 IPC. Accused

Gulabdas is being acquitted from charges under

sections 307, 307/34, 325/34, 323/34, 323/34 IPC and

accused Chetan is acquitted from charges under

sections 307/34, 325/34, 323/34 IPC.”
4. Appellant No.1 Gulab Das, and Appellant No.2, Chetan
were resultantly sentenced to undergo imprisonment for a
period of one month under Section 323 IPC. Appellant No.2
Chetan was further sentenced to undergo rigorous

3
imprisonment for a period of three years and a fine of
Rs.500/- under Section 307 IPC. In default of payment of
fine, he was sentenced to undergo further imprisonment for
a period of one month. Appellant No.3 was similarly
sentenced to undergo three years’ imprisonment and a fine
of Rs.500/- under Section 307 IPC and in default of
payment of fine to further undergo one month’s rigorous
imprisonment. The sentences were directed to run
concurrently.

5. Aggrieved by their conviction and sentence the
appellants appealed to the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at
Jabalpur which failed and has been dismissed by the order
impugned in this appeal. The appellants have in the present
appeal by special leave assailed the said order of dismissal.

6. Ms. June Chaudhari, learned senior counsel for the
appellants argued that during the pendency of the case in
this Court the parties have entered into an amicable
settlement/compromise and filed Criminal Misc. Petition
No.20418 of 2011 for permission to compound the offences
of which the appellants stand convicted. She drew our
4
attention to the compromise deed filed along with the
application and argued that since the parties had buried the
hatchet by amicably settling their disputes, this Court could
allow the matter to be compounded or in the alternative
take a lenient view in regard to the sentence awarded to
them. It was further submitted that so far as Appellant
No.1 is concerned he has already served the sentence
awarded to him under Section 323 IPC.

7. In the light of the submissions made at the bar the
only question that falls for determination is whether the
prayer forf composition of the offence under Section 307
IPC could be allowed having regard to the compromise
arrived at between the parties. Our answer is in the
negative. This Court has in a long line of decisions ruled
that offences which are not compoundable under Section
320 of the Cr.P.C. cannot be allowed to be compounded
even if there is any settlement between the complainant on
the one hand and the accused on the other. Reference in
this regard may be made to the decisions of this Court in
Ram Lal and Anr. v. State of J & K (1999) 2 SCC 213,

5
and Ishwar Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh (2008)
15 SCC 667. We have, therefore, no hesitation in rejecting
the prayer for permission to compound the offence for
which Appellant Nos. 2 and 3 stand convicted.

8. Having said that we are of the view that the
settlement/compromise arrived at between the parties can
be taken into consideration for the purpose of determining
the quantum of sentence to be awarded to the appellants.
That is precisely the approach which this Court has adopted
in the cases referred to above. Even when the prayer for
composition has been declined this Court has in the two
cases mentioned above taken the fact of settlement
between the parties into consideration while dealing with
the question of sentence. Apart from the fact that a
settlement has taken place between the parties, there are
few other circumstances that persuade us to interfere on
the question of sentence awarded to the appellants. The
incident in question had taken place in the year 1994. The
parties are related to each other. Both Appellant nos. 2 and
3 were at the time of the incident in their twenties. It is

6
also noteworthy that the incident had led to registration of
a cross case against the complainant party in which the trial
Court has already convicted Veeraji and others for offences
punishable under Sections 325/34 and 323 IPC and
sentenced them to undergo imprisonment for a period of
two years and a fine of Rs.300/- and imprisonment of six
months under Section 323 IPC. We are told that the parties
having settled the matter, will approach the High Court for
an appropriate order in the appeal pending before it. More
so, the appellants have already served substantial part of
the sentence awarded to them.

9. In the totality of the circumstances we are of the view
that the settlement arrived at between the parties is a
sensible step that will benefit the parties, give quietus to
the controversy and rehabilitate and normalise the
relationship between them.

10. In the result, while upholding the order of conviction
recorded by the Courts below, we reduce the sentence
awarded to the appellants to the sentence already
undergone by them. The appeal is to that extent allowed
7
and the impugned orders modified. The appellants shall be
set free forthwith if not otherwise required in any other
case.

………………………………….J.

(DR. B.S. CHAUHAN)

…………………………………J.

(T.S. THAKUR)

New Delhi

November 16, 2011

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