True it is, offences which are ‘non-compoundable’ cannot be compounded by a Criminal Court in purported exercise of its powers under Section 320, CrPC. Any such attempt by Court would amount to alteration, addition and modification of Section 320, CrPC. There is no patent or latent ambiguity in language of Section 320 CrPC, which may justify its wider interpretation and include such offences in docket of ‘compoundable’ offences which have been consciously kept out as ‘non-compoundable’. Nevertheless, limited jurisdiction to compound an offence within framework of Section 320, CrPC is not an embargo against invoking inherent powers by High Court vested in it under Section 482, CrPC.
High Court can indubitably evaluate consequential effects and adopt a pragmatic approach to ensure felony, even if unpunished, does not tinker with or paralyze object of administration of criminal justice system.
Effacing abominable offences through quashing process would not only send a wrong signal but may also accord an undue benefit to unscrupulous habitual or professional offenders, who can secure a ‘settlement’ through duress, threats, social boycotts, bribes or other dubious means.
Here, occurrence involved can be categorized as purely personal or having overtones of criminal proceedings of private nature; occurrence took place way back in 2000 and there is nothing on record to evince either before or after purported compromise, any untoward incident transpired.
– Hon’ble Justice Surya Kant, Ramgopal v. State of Madhya Pradesh, [Criminal Appeal No. 1489 of 2012].
Also see, Ramawatar v. State of Madhya Pradesh, [Criminal Appeal No. 1393 of 2011] decided on 25.10.2021.