Legal experts said actor Saif Ali Khan can consider calling a truce and compounding the offence, which means opting for an out-of-court settlement with the court’s consent, when the case comes up for trial.
Saif, who was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly assaulting two fellow diners at the Taj hotel, and released on bail soon after, could also face a civil suit for damages.
The actor and his friends have currently been booked under sections 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
However, if a civil suit is filed against him, depending on the evidence produced in court, the court can decide what damages need to be paid.
Advocate Pradeep Havnur said there are provisions for compensation under the criminal law itself, prescribed under the Code of Criminal Procedure. “But the amount to be compensated can be arrived at only after the case is closed,” Havnur said.
The complainant can also move a civil suit claiming damages for physical and mental trauma, which can be determined on the basis of proof presented in court, for instance, the CCTV footage.
Advocate Arfan Sait said the advantage of applying section 325 is that it is a compoundable offence, where the parties involved can amicably settle the dispute by filing a petition in the high court for quashing the FIR.
However, in a civil suit, the complainant can sue for substantive damages on the grounds that he has been hurt and his reputation tarnished. This is commonly done in the West, but not usually pursued in India, Sait said. The damages can vary from a few lakhs to more than a crore.