Distinction between compounding of offences by parties before trial Court or in appeal and exercise of power by High Court to quash prosecution under Section 482 Cr.P.C. on other

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There is a subtle distinction between compounding of offences by the parties before the trial Court or in appeal on one hand and the exercise of power by the High Court to quash the prosecution under Section 482 Code of Criminal Procedure. on the other. While a Court trying an accused or hearing an appeal against conviction, may not be competent to permit compounding of an offence based on a settlement arrived at between the parties in cases where the offences are not compoundable under Section 320, the High Court may quash the prosecution even in cases where the offences with which the accused stand charged are non-compoundable. The inherent powers of the High Court under Section 482 Code of Criminal Procedure. are not for that purpose controlled by Section 320 Code of Criminal Procedure. Having said so, we must hasten to add that the plenitude of the power under Section 482 Code of Criminal Procedure. by itself, makes it obligatory for the High Court to exercise the same with utmost care and caution. The width and the nature of the power itself demands that its exercise is sparing and only in cases where the High Court is, for reasons to be recorded, of the clear view that continuance of the prosecution would be nothing but an abuse of the process of law. It is neither necessary nor proper for us to enumerate the situations in which the exercise of power under Section 482 may be justified. All that we need to say is that the exercise of power must be for securing the ends of justice and only in cases where refusal to exercise that power may result in the abuse of the process of law. The High court may be justified in declining interference if it is called upon to appreciate evidence for it cannot assume the role of an appellate court while dealing with a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Subject to the above, the High Court will have to consider the facts and circumstances of each case to determine whether it is a fit case in which the inherent powers may be invoked. [ Shiji @ Pappu and Others Versus Radhika and Another JT 2011 (13) SC 180 : (2011) 12 SCALE 588]