Tuesday, April 2, 2013

SC: "Duty of the courts to encourage genuine settlements of matrimonial disputes, even if the offences are non-compoundable."

While exercising CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION in the matters of CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 447 OF 2013, between Jitendra Raghuvanshi & Ors. v/s Babita Raghuvanshi & Anr the Hon'ble Justice Mr. P.Sathasivam,J. of THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA has recently brought about a landmark judicial precedent with a detailed observation that-" In our view, it is the duty of the courts to encourage genuine settlements of matrimonial disputes, particularly,when the same are on considerable increase. Even if the offences are non-compoundable, if they relate to matrimonial disputes and the court is satisfied that the parties have settled the same amicably and without any pressure, we hold that for the purpose of securing ends of justice, Section 320 of the Code would not be a bar to the exercise of power of quashing of FIR, complaint or the subsequent criminal proceedings." The Apex Court has further observed that: "There has been an outburst of matrimonial disputes in recent times. The institution of marriage occupies an important place and it has an important role to play in the society. Therefore, every effort should be made in the interest of the individuals in order to enable them to settle down in life and live peacefully. If the parties ponder over their defaults and terminate their disputes amicably by mutual agreement instead of fighting it out in a court of law,in order to do complete justice in the matrimonial matters, the courts should be less hesitant in exercising its extraordinary jurisdiction. It is trite to state that the power under Section 482 should be exercised sparingly and with circumspection only when the court is convinced, on the basis of material on record, that allowing the proceedings to continue would be an abuse of the process of the court or that the ends of justice require that the proceedings ought to be quashed. We also make it clear that exercise of such power would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case and it has to be exercised in appropriate cases in order to do real and substantial justice for the administration of which alone the courts exist. It is the duty of the courts to encourage genuine settlements of matrimonial disputes and Section 482 of the Code enables the High Court and Article 142 of the Constitution enables this Court to pass such orders.

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