The Kerala High Court refused to quash an FIR against a man accused of attempt to murder under Section 307 of the India Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) despite the dispute being settled between the accused and the de facto complainant as the investigation was not complete and the final report was not filed.

The Bench of Justice A. Badharudeen relied upon and considered the principles laid down by the Apex Court in the case of State of Madhya Pradesh v. Laxmi Narayan & Ors 2019 (5) SCC 688 and observed that “offence under Section 307 of IPC would fall under the category of heinous and serious offences and, therefore, the same is to be treated as crime against the society and not against the individual alone. Therefore, the criminal proceedings for the offence under S.307 IPC and/or the Arms Act etc., which have a serious impact on the society, cannot be quashed in exercise of the powers under S.482 of the Cr.P.C, on the ground that the parties have resolved their entire dispute amongst themselves.”

The Bench further observed that “quashment of crime involving offence under Section 307 of IPC is permissible for a court, after investigation and filing of final report, then also, if the prosecution is one which would show commission of heinous and serious offences and has a serious impact on society prima facie, with reference to the nature of injuries, it could not be held that the same is a fit case for quashment."

In this case, the petitioner/accused was alleged to have committed offences under sections 324 and 307 of IPC as well as under Sections 3(1) (s), 3(2) (va) of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2015 (SC/ST Act). Two Writ petitions were preferred under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), first, for quashing the FIR filed against him and second, was to quash the order of the Special Court that refused to release the car involved in the crime.

Advocate C.P. Udayabhanu appeared for the petitioner/accused and PP Sanal P. Raj appeared for the State and Advocate Rassal Janardhanan appeared for the 2nd respondent/de facto complainant.

The Counsels for the petitioner apprised the Court of the fact that the matter had been settled between the de facto complainant and the accused and therefore, the FIR should be quashed.

But the Public Prosecutor submitted that the FIR could not be quashed since serious offence under Section 307 of IPC as well as under Section 3(2)(va) of the SC/ST Act also were alleged.

The Court said that in Laxmi Narayan case, the Apex Court had carved out exceptions to quashing an FIR for offence under Section 307 and further observed that the proceedings could be quashed in view of settlement of dispute between the parties, only after the evidence was collected after investigation and the charge sheet was filed/charge framed and/or during trial and that the quashment was not permissible when the matter was still under investigation.

Further, the Court said that even after the investigation was completed and final report was filed, it was necessary for the High Courts to examine whether Section 307 was incorporated for the sake of it or sufficient evidences were collected by the prosecutor, which if proved, would lead to conviction of the accused.

And, while examining the possibility of conviction, the Court could analyze the medical records, I.e., the nature of injury sustained, whether such injury is inflicted on the vital/delegate parts of the body, nature of weapons used, etc.

If the Court found that the possibility of the conviction was strong, it could refuse to accept the settlement and quash the criminal proceedings. But, if the possibility of conviction was remote to bleak, it would be permissible for the High Court to accept the plea compounding the offence based on complete settlement between the parties, said the Court.

The Court further observed that the matter was still under investigation and no final report was filed Therefore, the quashment of the F.I.R on the submission that the parties resolved their dispute could not be considered at the crime stage, since such an exercise in cases involving offence under Section 307 of IPC is not permissible, before filing final report.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the petition.

Cause Title- Sudheesh Babu v. State of Kerala

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