SEC 320 CRPC
PRAVAT CHANDRA MOHANTY vs. STATE OF ODISHA, SC 2021
Both the appellants being the accused in Lal Bagh P.S.Case No.273 of 1985 were tried in Sessions Trial No.246 of 1985 for the offences punishable under Sections 304, 342, 323, 294, 201 167, 477-A, 471 read with Section 34 of the IPC. Learned Sessions Judge convicted the accused Pratap Kumar Choudhury under Section 304 (Part II) IPC.
Both the accused were further sentenced under Section 471 IPC read with Section 466 IPC to undergo R.I. for three years and
R.I. for three months under Section 342 IPC and R.I. for one month under Section 323 IPC.
Aggrieved by the judgment of the trial court the appellants,filed Criminal Appeal before the Orissa High Court. The High Court decided both the appeals by its judgment and order dated 09.11.2020 partly allowing the appeals. The conviction of both the appellants under Section 304 (Part II) IPC read with Section 34 IPC and Section 342/34 IPC was set aside and their conviction under Sections 323/34 IPC and 471/34 IPC was upheld.
Aggrieved by the above judgment these appeals have been filed in Supreme Court. When these appeals were taken by SC , learned counsel for the appellants confined his submissions to the conviction under Section 324 IPC only. Learned counsel for the appellants furthervolunteered that the appellants are willing to compensate the family of the deceased. Also learned counsel appearing for the legal representatives are also agreeable with the proposal made by the learned counsel for the appellants, hence, conviction under Section 324 IPC be compounded by this Court under Section 320(2) Cr.P.C.
Learned counsel submits that on the date when the offences took place, i.e. 04.5.1985, offences under Section 324 IPC were compoundable which subsequently have been made non-compoundable.In addition to the above submission, learned counsel for the appellants has also contended that conviction under Section 324 IPC by the High Court is unsustainable. He submits that the conviction under Section 324 IPC deserves to be converted to the conviction under Section 323 IPC. He submits that the ingredients of Section 324 IPC are not made out from the evidence brought on record. He submits that injuries which were found on the body of the deceased were all simple injuries. He submits that weapon of offence being only a wooden batten/lathi which weapon was not likely to cause death, hence, conviction under Section 324 was unjustified.
The SC held that we are not persuaded to accept submissions of learned counsel for the appellants that conviction by the High Court under Section 324 IPC is initiated. We, thus, affirm the conviction of accused under Section 324 IPC.
Thereafter the court held that the present is a case where accused has already been convicted for offence under Section 324 IPC. By Cr.P.C. (Amendment) Act, 2005, offence under Section 324 IPC has been made non-compoundable offence. Prior to the aforesaid amendment, offence under Section 324 was compoundable. Learned counsel for the appellants is right in his submissions that on the date when offence was committed, i.e., 04/05.05.1985, the offence under Section 324 IPC was compoundable. We, thus, need to examine as to whether in the present case, the request of the appellants to which learned counsel appearing for the legal representative of the deceased have also agreed need to be accepted and this Court may permit compounding of offence under Section 324 IPC.
The grant of leave as contemplated by sub-section (5) of Section 320 is not automatic nor it has to be mechanical on receipt of request by the appellant which may be agreed by the victim. The statutory requirement, makes it a clear duty of the Court to look into the nature of the offence and the evidence and to satisfy itself whether permission should be or should not be granted. The administration of criminal justice requires prosecution of all offenders by the State.The prosecution by the State is the policy of law because all the offences are against the society.
The offenders have to bring to the Courts and punish for their offences to maintain peace and order in the society. It is the duty of the prosecution to ensure that no offender goes scot-free without being punished for an offence. It is also the settled principle of law that innocent should not be punished.
The question arises as to while granting leave of the Court for composition of offence, what is the guiding factor for the Court to grant or refuse the leave for composition of offence. The nature of offence, and its affect on society are relevant considerations while granting leave by the Court of compounding the offence. The offences which affect the public in general and create fear in the public in general are serious offences, nature of which offence may be relevant consideration for Court to grant or refuse the leave. When we look into the conclusion recorded by the trial court and the High Court after marshalling the evidence on record, it is established that both the accused have mercilessly beaten the deceased in the premises of the Police Station. Eleven injuries were caused on the body of the deceased by the accused. As per the evidence of PW-1, which has been believed by the Courts below, the victim was beaten mercilessly so that he passed on, stool, Urine and started bleeding.
We, thus, are of the considered opinion that present is a case where this Court is not to grant leave for compounding the offences under Section 324 IPC as prayed by the counsel for the appellants.