Serious offences, like attempt to murder, cannot be settled through compromise deals and the accused must suffer conviction and imprisonment, the Supreme Court has held, rejecting the plea of two warring groups.
A bench of justices B S Chauhan and T S Thakur while sustaining the conviction, however, reduced the three years' punishment of appellants - Rajan and Chetan to the period already undergone by them.
The accused were awarded three years imprisonment under Section 307 IPC (attempt to murder) in a property dispute case with their uncle Veeraji's family at Sonasavri in Madhya Pradesh's Hoshangabad district on September 30, 1994.
The accused are the sons of Gulab Das, brother of Veeraji. The convicts had appealed in the Madhya Pradesh High Court which dismissed their petition, upon which they moved the apex court.
Senior counsel June Chaudhari had submitted that during the pendency of the appeal in the apex court, the parties had entered into an amicable settlement and a compromise deed was signed between them. Hence, she had said, the case should be compounded under section 320 CrPC (by closing the case by paying fine) or else a lenient view of the sentence should be taken. The apex court, however, rejected the plea by citing its earlier order in similar cases.
"Our answer is in the negative... It cannot be allowed to be compounded even if there is any settlement between the complainant on the one hand and the accused on the other," Justice Thakur said in the judgement.