Allow compounding of cognisable offences including 498A cases, says SC
NEW DELHI: To lessen the huge pendency of cases and encourage conciliation among warring litigants, Supreme Court has urged the Centre and Law Commission to examine whether non-compoundable offences under IPC, including those under Section 498A, could be closed after the parties settled.
At present, cases in which a husband or his relative is booked under Section 498A for subjecting a woman to cruelty or anyone charged under Section 326 for causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapon or means fall under the non-compoundable category and courts are barred from closing the cases even after the opposing parties have reached an amicable settlement.
Looking at similar cases before the court and in particular a case under Section 326 where the parties had arrived at an amicable settlement, a Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and T S Thakur said, “There are several offences under the IPC that are currently non-compoundable. These include offences punishable under Sections 498A, 326 etc. Some such offences can be made compoundable by introducing a suitable amendment in the statute.”
It added, “We are of the opinion that the Law Commission of India could examine whether a suitable proposal can be sent to the Union government in this regard. Any such step would not only relieve the courts of the burden of deciding cases in which the aggrieved parties have themselves arrived at a settlement, but may also encourage the process of reconciliation between them. We, accordingly, request the Law Commission and the government of India to examine all these aspects and take such steps as may be considered feasible.”
The court asked the SC secretary general to send a copy of the order to the Law Commission and the law secretary. The Bench requested the law secretary to place this order before law minister Veerappa Moily.