Compounding of offences (Section 320 of CrPc)

The offences that may lawfully be compounded are those that are mentioned in Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The offences other than those mentioned cannot be compounded. The offences punishable laws other than the Penal Code are not compoundable. Only the person named in the third column of Section 320 can legally compound an offence under Section 320. Any person may set the criminal law in motion, but it is only the person specified in the third column who can compound the offence. A case may be compared at any time before sentence is pronounced even whilst the Magistrate is writing the judgment.

The compounding of an offence signifies that the person against whom the offence has been committed has received some gratification, not necessarily of a pecuniary character, to act as an inducement for his desiring to abstain from a prosecution and Section 320 provides that if the offence be compoundable, composition shall have the effect of an acquittal.

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The object of Section 320 of the Code is to promote friendliness between the parties so that peace between them is restored.

Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that:

Compounding without the permission of the Court:

(1) The offences punishable under the Sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 specified in the first two columns of the Table next following may be compounded by the persons mentioned in the third column of that table.

Table:

OffenceSection of the I.P.C. applicablePerson by whom offence may be compounded
1. Uttering words, etc. with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of person298The person whose religious feelings are intended to be wounded
2. Causing hurt323, 334The person to whom the hurt is caused
3. Wrongfully restraining confining any person341, 342The person restrained or confined
4. Assault or use of criminal force352, 355, 358The person assaulted or to whom criminal force is used
5. Mischief, when the only loss or damage caused is loss or damage to a private person 426, 427The person to whom the loss or damage is caused
6. Criminal trespass447The person in possession of the property trespassed upon
7. House-trespass448The person in possession of the property trespassed upon
8. Criminal breach of contract of service491The person with whom the offender has contracted
9. Adultery497The husband of the woman
10. Enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent of a married woman498The husband of the woman
11. Defamation, except such cases as are specified against Section 500 of the I.P.C., 1860 in column 1 of the Table under sub-section (2)500The person defamed
12. Printing or engraving matter, knowing it to be defamatory501The person defamed
13. Sale of printed or engraved substance containing defamatory matter, knowing it to contain such matter502The person defamed
14. Insult intended to provoke a breach of the peace504The person insulted
15. Criminal intimidation except when the offence is punishable with imprisonment for seven years506The person intimidated
16. Act caused by making a person believe that he will be an object of divine displeasure508The person against whom the offence was committed

Compounding with the permission of the Court:

(2) The offences punishable under the Sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 specified in the first two columns of the Table next following may, with the permission of the Court before which any prosecution for such offence is pending, be compounded by the persons mentioned in the third column of that Table.

Table

OffenceSection of the I.P.C. applicablePerson by whom offence may be compounded
1. Voluntarily causing grievous hurt325The person to whom hurt is caused
2. Voluntarily causing grievoushurt on grave and sudden provocation335The person to whom hurt is caused
3. Causing hurt by doing an act so rashly and negligently as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others337The person to whom hurt is caused
4. Causing grievous hurt by doing an act so rashly and negligently as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others338The person to whom hurt is caused
5. Wrongfully confining a person for three days or more343The person confined
6. Wrongfully confining for ten or more days344The person confined
7. Wrongfully confining a person in secret346The person confined
8. Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty354The woman assaulted to whom the criminal force was used
9. Assault or criminal force in attempting wrongfully to confine a person357The person assaulted or to whom the force was used
10. Theft where the value of property stolen does not exceedtwo thousand rupees379The owner of the property stolen
11. Theft by clerk or servant of property in possession of master where the value of the property stolen does not exceed two thousand rupees381The owner of the property stolen
12. Dishonest misappropriation of property403The owner of the property misappropriated
13. Criminal breach of trust, where the value of the property does not exceed two thousand rupees.406The owner of the property in respect of which the breach of trust has been committed.
14. Criminal breach of trust by a carrier, wharfinger, etc. where the value of the property does not exceed two thousand rupees.The owner of the property in respect of which the breach of trust has been committed.
15. Criminal breach of trust by a clerk or servant, where the value of the property does not exceed two thousand rupees.408The owner of the property in respect of which the breach of trust has been committed.
16. Dishonestly receiving stolen property, knowing it to be stolen when the value of the stolen property does not exceed two thousand rupees.411The owner of the property stolen.
17. Assisting in the concealment or disposal of stolen property, knowing it to be stolen, where the value of the stolen property does not exceed two thousand rupees.414The owner of the property stolen.
18. Cheating.417The person cheated.
19. Cheating a person whose interest the offender was bound, either by law or by legal contract, to protect.418The person cheated.
20. Cheating by personation.419The person cheated.
21. Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property or the making, alteration or destruction of a valuable security.420The person cheated.
22. Fraudulent removal or concealment of property, etc. to prevent distribution among creditors.421The creditors who are affected thereby.
23. Fraudulently preventing from being made available for his creditors a debt or demand due to the offender.422The creditors who are affected thereby.
24. Fraudulent execution of deed of transfer containing false statement of consideration.423The person affected thereby.
25. Fraudulent removal or concealment of property.424The person affected thereby.
26. Mischief by killing or maiming animal of the value of ten rupees or upwards.428The owner of the animal.
27. Mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc. of any value or any other animal of the value of fifty rupees or upwards.429The owner of the cattle or animal.
28. Mischief by injury to work of irrigation by wrongfully diverting water when the only loss or damage caused is loss or damage to a private person.430The person to whom the loss or damage is caused.
29. House trespass to commit an offence (other than theft) punishable with imprisonment.451The person in possession of the house trespassed upon.
30. Using a false trade or property mark.482The person to whom loss or injury is caused by such use.
31. Counterfeiting a trade or property mark used by another483The person whose trade or property mark is counterfeited.
32. Knowingly selling, or exposing or possessing for sale or for manufacturing purpose, goods marked with a counterfeit property mark.486The person whose trade or property mark is counterfeited.
33. Marrying again during the lifetime of a husband or wife.494The husband or wife of the person so marrying.
34. Defamation against the President or the Vice-President or the Governor of a State or the Administrator of a Union Territory or a Minister in respect of his conduct in the discharge of his public functions when instituted upon a complaint made by the public prosecutor.500The person defamed.
35. Uttering words or sounds or making gestures or exhibiting any object intending to insult the modesty of a woman or intruding upon the privacy of a woman.509The woman whom it was intended to insult or whose privacy was intruded upon.

(3) When any offender is compoundable under Section 320 of the Code, the abetment of such offence or an attempt to commit such offence (when such attempt is itself an offence) may be compounded in like manner.

(4) (a) When the person who would otherwise be competent to compound an offence under Section 320 of the Code is under the age of eighteen years or is an idiot or a lunatic, any person competent to contract on his behalf may, with the permission of the Court, compound such offence.

(b) When the person who would otherwise be competent to compound an offence under Section 320 is dead, the legal representative, as defined in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 of such person may, with the consent of the Court, compound such offence.

(5) When the accused has been committed for trial or when he has been convicted and an appeal is pending, no composition for the offence shall be allowed without the leave of the Court to which he is committed or, as the case may be, before which the appeal is to be heard.

(6) A High Court or Court of Session acting in the exercise of its powers of revision under Section 401 may allow any person to compound any offence which such person is competent to compound under Section 320 of the Code.

(7) No offence shall be compounded if the accused is, by reason of a previous conviction, liable either to enhanced punishment or to a punishment of a different kind for such offence.

(8) The composition of an offence under Section 320 of the Code shall have the effect of an acquittal of the accused with whom the offence has been compounded.

(9) No offence shall be compounded except as provided by Section 320 of the Code.