The Supreme Court observed that an FIR under Section 306 IPC (abetment of suicide) cannot be quashed under Section 482 CrPC on the basis of settlement. High Courts Cannot Quash Abetment to Suicide Case Based on Compromise With the Deceased’s Relatives. The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that criminal proceedings in serious crimes such as abetting suicide cannot be quashed by High Courts based solely on a financial settlement between the accused and the deceased personA Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and V Ramasubramanian reasoned that offences such as attempted murder and aiding and abetting suicide are crimes against society as a whole, not just an individual.“An FIR under Section 306 of the IPC (suicide attempt) cannot even be quashed on the basis of any financial settlement with the informant, surviving spouse, parents, children, guardians, caregivers, or anyone else,” the Court ruled.The appellant in this case was the wife of a deceased suicide victim. The accused allegedly defrauded the husband of a large sum of money, leaving the deceased in financial distress.The Gujarat High Court had quashed the first information report against the accused, citing a settlement between the accused and the deceased’s purported cousin, who was also the original complainant. Furthermore, the wife’s request for a recall of that order for not being heard while quashing the FIR was denied, giving rise to the current appeal before the Supreme Court.The Supreme Court noted that the High Court had not stated whether it had jurisdiction to dismiss a criminal complaint in a suicide case, which was also a non-compoundable offence, based on settlement between the parties.The Bench emphasised that in criminal law, a complainant’s position is that of an informant who is entitled to a hearing, not one who can withdraw a complaint against a serious offender.The Court also stated that hearing a cousin of the deceased does not waive the requirement to hear the deceased’s wife.“The wife of the deceased would have a greater interest than cousins and employees in prosecuting accused persons charged with abetting her husband’s suicide,” the Court stated.The Supreme Court reasoned that the crime of aiding suicide is one of crimes against society, and a complaint in this regard cannot be dismissed based on compromises.
“Heinous or serious crimes that are not private in nature and have a significant impact on society cannot be averted through a compromise between the offender and the complainant and/or the victim. Murder, rape, burglary, dacoity, and even aiding and abetting suicide are not private or civil offences. Such offences are against society.”In this regard, the court relied on its decision in Laxmi Narayan, in which the offence of attempted murder was not quashed.The Bench explained how the High Court’s order could set a dangerous precedent by allowing complaints to be filed for oblique reasons in order to extract money from the accused.“Furthermore, financially strong offenders would go free, even in cases of grave and serious offences such as murder, rape, bride burning, and so on,” the Court added.As a result, it granted the appeal and held that the criminal proceedings could not have been stopped by the High Court.