Thursday, February 26, 2009 21:37 IST
New Delhi: Heinous offences like murder cannot be condoned by courts and no judgement of acquittal can be passed even if the families of the deceased and accused reach a compromise, the Supreme Court has ruled.
Such cases cannot be condoned as maintenance of law and order is the prime duty of the State, the apex court said.
"Maintenance of rule of law is the prime duty of the State. In violation of the statutory provisions, except in some marginal cases, the court shall not allow compounding of offence.
"If parties have settled their disputes, they may live in peace in future but the same by itself cannot be a ground to pass a judgement of acquittal," a bench of Justices SB Sinha and Mukundakama Sharma observed.
The apex court passed the ruling while dismissing a plea filed by Satvir Singh and other accused involved in a double murder seeking their acquittal on the ground that they had reached a compromise deal with their rivals who were related to them.
Singh and his associates had murdered two persons Jagbandhan and Randhir with lethal weapons on November 27, 1997 at Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. The accused and the deceased were both related to each other and the murder was a sequel to land-related disputes.
They were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the sessions court which was upheld by the Allahabad High Court.
But during the pendency of the trial, Jagmeg, brother of accuse Harveen, was murdered allegedly by Suresh Chand and others related to the deceased Jagbandhnan and Randhir in an apparent retaliation.
However, under a compromise deal worked out by the local villagers, the family of Jagmeg agreed not to depose against Suresh Chand and others as a goodwill gesture to avoid future hostilities. Accordingly, the sessions court acquitted Suresh Chand and others.
Citing the compromise deal, Satvir Singh and other accused moved an interlocutory application before the apex court seeking that their acts be condoned, but the apex court rejected it.