Make harassment of wife cases, compoundable: SC

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and the Law Commission to examine the question of making offences like 498A (harassment of married woman by husband/relatives) subject to settlement through payment of fine by accused.

Last Updated: Aug 05, 2010, 22:12 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked the
Centre and the Law Commission to examine the question of
making offences like 498A (harassment of married woman by
husband/relatives) subject to settlement through payment of
fine by accused to reduce pendency of such cases in courts.

A Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and T S Thakur said
in an order that compounding of offence, under which the
accused pays monetary compensation, can be resorted to by
parties for reconciliation instead of going for protracted
litigation.
"There are several offences under the IPC that are
currently non-compoundable. These include offences punishable
under Section 498-A, Section 326 (causing grievous hurt) etc.
of the IPC. Some of such offences can be made compoundable by
introducing a suitable amendment in the statute.

"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," the apex court said.

Accordingly, the Bench requested the Law Commission
and the Government of India to examine all these aspects and
take feasible steps.

The apex court passed the order while dealing with a
petitition by an accused Ramgopal in a case of 323 IPC wherein
the parties wanted to reach an out-of-court settlement and
sought quashing of the case in a Madhya Pradesh court.
The Bench, however, refrained from quashing the case on
the ground that section 323 IPC is not a compoundable offence
and only the legislature can take a decision on amending the
provision to make it compoundable.

PTI