Murder is an offence against society and the accused cannot settle the matter with the family of their purported victims, the Bombay high court observed on Tuesday.
A division bench of justice BH Marlapalle and justice UD also held that courts could not accept out of court settlements in such crimes.
The court dismissed a petition of four murder convicts seeking quashing of the FIR and setting aside their convictions and life term awarded to them by a trial court on the grounds that the father of the victim had consented to end the hostilities.
“The inherent power of the high court under section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code cannot be invoked to compound an offence under section 302 [murder] of the Indian Penal Code,” observed the judges.
“The offence of murder is an offence against society and not an offence of personal nature, which could be compounded by the complainant or quashed by high court at any stage,” the judges said while dismissing the petition filed by Popat Pisal, 28, Raosaheb Pisal, 36, Sandip Kate, 28, and Sanjay Samage, 32.
On August 21, 2008, a fast-track court at Sewree had convicted them for killing Ravindra Pisal, a labourer, in March 2002. All of them are presently serving life terms in Nashik Central Prison.
Their counsel Uday Warunjikar urged the court to quash the FIR contending that it would not be proper to continue the proceedings – presently appeals filed by the four are pending final hearing in high court — in view of the settlement between the convicts and the father of the victim, Ankush Pisal, 63.
Warunjikar submitted that the parties were related to each other and had decided to end the hostilities by settling the matter amicably.
He also offered to pay a suitable amount as may be decided by the court to the family of the victim by way of compensation.
However, additional public prosecutor AS Gadkari pointed out that murder was not an individual offence, but an offence against society.
Gadkari submitted that if compounding of offences or quashing of proceedings at the instance of the complainant or close relatives of victims was allowed, the persons with money and/or muscle power would rule, and the rule of the law would be at stake.