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State of Rajasthan Vs. Jaswant Singh Saluja - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1973CriLJ1262; 1973()WLN125
AppellantState of Rajasthan
RespondentJaswant Singh Saluja
Cases ReferredEmperor v. Gouri Shankar Bohidar
Excerpt:
.....to a compoundable offence is complete when it is made and has effect of acquittal of accused.;a composition is an arrangement or settlement of differences between the injured party and the person against whom the complaint is made.;a composition arrived at between the parties to a compoundable offence is complete as soon as it is made, and it has the effect of acquittal of the accused under section 345, cr. p.c., in respect of that offence.;(b) criminal procedure code - section 345--compromise petition filed by accused and verified by magistrate--held, it is a compromise petition.;it is not always necessary that a compromise petition must necessarily be filed by the complainant. it can even be filed by the accused. in the present case the composition petition haying been..........by the complainant. shanker then took gaj singh and1 hakim singh to the house of mr. jaswant singh saluja. advocate. there the complainant was told that the accused was no other person but mr. r. p. goyal. the complainant then engaged mr. saluja to conduct his case. he gave him rupees; 485/-. on account of his fee and for the balance of rs. 100/-. a document was executed by him on april 5, 1968. ga.f singh and hakim singh were taken to> the court premises. there mr. saluja told the complainant that his appeal had been filed and that the same would be listed on monday for admission. at that stage hakim singh told mr. saluja that he was not mr. goyal and that he would not like that the brief should be entrusted to him. he thereupon demanded back the money and the papers given to him......
Judgment:

L.S. Mehta, J.

1. This is an appeal by the State of Raiasthan directed against the order, dated December 23. 1969. passed by learned Additional Munsiff Magistrate No. 2, Jodhpur City.

2. The brief facts of this case. as. alleged by the prosecution, are that complainant Gaj Singh a resident of Janakpur, accompanied by his brother-in-law Hakim. Singh, came to Jodhpur on April 4. 1968. One Shanker Sunar met Gaj Singh at Raika Bag Railway Station. He accompanied Gaj Singh and Hakim Singh and all of them reached Jodhpur Railway Station. Gai Singh and Hakim Singh came to Jodhpur in connection with filing an appeal in this Court in a criminal case-The complainant told Shanker Sunar that he wanted to engage Mr. R. P. Goyal. Advocate, to conduct his case. Shankar instead of taking the complainant to Mr. Goyal, took' him first to Mr. Manghai Ram's residence, Mr. Mangha Ram. however, was not engaged by the complainant. Shanker then took Gaj Singh and1 Hakim Singh to the house of Mr. Jaswant Singh Saluja. Advocate. There the complainant was told that the accused was no other person but Mr. R. P. Goyal. The complainant then engaged Mr. Saluja to conduct his case. He gave him Rupees; 485/-. on account of his fee and for the balance of Rs. 100/-. a document was executed by him on April 5, 1968. Ga.f Singh and Hakim Singh were taken to> the Court premises. There Mr. Saluja told the complainant that his appeal had been filed and that the same would be listed on Monday for admission. At that stage Hakim Singh told Mr. Saluja that he was not Mr. Goyal and that he would not like that the brief should be entrusted to him. He thereupon demanded back the money and the papers given to him. Mr. Saluja neither returned the money, nor the papers. On April 6. 1968, Gaj Singh contacted Mr. Goyal and apprised him of the whole happening. Mr. Goyal then took the complainant to Mr. Saluia. There was an exchange of hot words between the two Advocates. Thereafter the complainant Gaj Singh made a report at the police station, Udai Mandir. The police registered a case against Mr. Saluja and three others and took over investigation. After necessary investigation a challan was rout up in the Court of the Additional Munsiff-Magistrate No. 2. Jodhpur City, under Section 420. IPC On November 12, 1969, accused Jaswant Singh submitted a statement of Gaj Singh, alleged to have been written by one Mohan Lai wherein he had stated that as he was under some misunderstanding that no appeal had been filed in the High Court, he had made the complaint. Had there been no such misapprehension, he would not have made any complaint against the accused at the police station. The trial Court took this written statement as a compromise arrived at between the two oarties and accorded1 permission under Sub-section (2) Section 345. Cr.PC to compromise the case and acquitted the accused after verifying the compromise.

3. Dissatisfied by the above order, the State of Rajasthan has taken this appeal. The appeal was admitted on July 27, 1970. On November 25, 1971. this Court ordered that a notice be issued to Gaj Singh. Fresh notices were again issued on December 17, 1971 and January 31, 1972. Despite the notices having been served. Ga.i Singh did not put in appearance.

4. The contention of learned Deputy Government Advocate is that the written statement dated April 7. 1968. has neither been verified in the presence of a Magistrate, nor has it been submitted to the Court concerned. Therefore, that statement cannot be termed as a composition deed. learned Counsel for the side opposite on the other hand urged that a compromise out of Court is a valid document and that before the learned Additional Munsiff Magistrate accepted the compromise, dated December 23. 1969, it had been duly verified.

5. I have heard at length the arguments advanced on behalf of both the parties. A similar complaint in this Connection had also been made under Section 33 of the Advocates Act. 1961. to the Bar Council, Rajasthan. Disciplinary Committee No, 1 of the Bar Council of Rajasthan, Jodhpur, inquired into the matter and dismissed the complaint on February 22, 1970, on the ground that despite repeated notices the complainant had not cared to appear for cross-examination and that there was no satisfactory legal evidence to take action against the accused.

6. A composition is an arrangement or settlement of differences between the injured party and the person against whom the complaint is made: see Emperor v. Alibhai Abdul, ILR 45 Bom 346 : 22 Cri LJ 55. In Emperor v. J. John. ILR 45 All 145 : 24 Cri LJ 758 one J. a Railway Guard abused and committed an assault of a more or less technical nature on S. C. a passenger. S. C. made a complaint to the police and a case was instituted under Section 120 of the Railways Act. Meanwhile-. J. offered an apology to S. C, who gave him the following document:

This is to say that Mr. John. Guard, B, N. W. Railway came to me and offer- ed an unconditional apology before Dr.. L. N. Rai, Assistant Surgeon Benares. I beg to withdraw the case against him.

This was produced at the trial. The Magistrate acquitted J. of the charge under Section 120. Railways Act. It was held by Stuart J. of the Allahabad High Court that this document clearly amounted to a composition of the offence committed by J.. in so far as it was com-poundable, and the Magistrate could-not, therefore, charge and convict J. I am in-respectful agreement with the above-views and hold that the document, produced by the accused on April 7, 1968,. would squarely fall within the ambit of compromise.

7. Learned Deputy Government Advocate then urged that the document, dated April 7. 1968. had not been submitted to the Court by the complainant,. nor has it been properly verified and,. therefore, it could not have been taken. into consideration by the trial Court. A composition arrived at between the parties to a compoundable offence is complete as soon as it is made, and it has the effect of an acquittal of the accused under Section 345, Criminal P. C. in, respect of that offence, though one of the parties, later on. resiles from the compromise and no statement or petition recording the compromise is filed in the Court by the parties; see Mahomed Kanni Rowther v. Pattani Inayathalla Sahib ILR 39 Mad 946 : 16 Cri LJ 803.

In Godfrey Meeus v. Simon Dular AIR 1950 Nag 91 : 51 Cri LJ 751 it has been observed by Hemeon J. that, where a compromise petition in respect of offences under Sections 323 and 506, Penal Code, duly signed by both the parties and containing a statement that the complainant has compromised the case of his own free will, is presented to Court by the accused, but the Court wrongly rejects it on the ground that it should have come from the complainant, it amounts to a composition of the offence' which has the immediate effect of acquittal of the accused. Thus, it is manifest that it is not always necessary that a compromise petition must necessarily be filed by the complainant. It can even be filed by the accused. In the present case the composition petition having been filed by the accused has been verified by the Additional Munsiff-Magistrate No, 2, Jodhpur City, It cannot, therefore, be said that the document dated April 7, 1968, is not a composition petition because the same had not been presented by the complainant.

8. Now the question that survives-for consideration is whether this Court should, in a matter like this, interfere with the order of acquittal passed by the trial Court on December 23. 1969.' An identical matter received the consideration of Hon'ble Beri J. (as he then was) In Criminal Appeal No. 574 of 1968 (Raj), State v. J. S. Saluja (decided on 6-10-1969) and it was observed that unless .there is grossest abuse of the exercise of -discretion under Section 345. Criminal P. C, ordinarily the order of acquittal should not be interfered with. Similar views have been expressed by a Division Bench of the Patna High Court in Emperor v. Gouri Shankar Bohidar AIR 1942 Pat 58 : (43 Cri LJ 44). In that case Hon'ble Rowland J., held:

The acceptance or refusal of a compromise being within the sole discretion of the Magistrate, an appeal against an order of acquittal under Section 345 should not be entertained in the absence of proof of the grossest misuse of his discretion by the Magistrate.

I have been asked by learned Deputy Government Advocate to order a further inquiry. The presentation of an appeal against an order of acquittal under Section 345, Criminal P. C. is a procedure for which no. precedent has been shown. I have not been shown that the act of the Additional Munsiff-Magistrate No. 2 is in any way illegal in accepting the compromise which it was within his sole discretion to allow or refuse. I am, therefore, of the opinion that such an appeal should not be entertained unless grossest misuse of the discretion is shown.

9. In the result, this appeal is dismissed.


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