The Delhi High Court has held an accused in a cheque bounce/dishonour case can settle the issue with the complainant even outside the court at any stage prior to the execution of punishment. ”There is no legal bar to the compounding of such an offence, either during or even after disposal of an appeal filed either by the accused or by the complainant,” Justice V K Jain said.
The court, which was to pronounce the quantum of sentence after finding a couple guilty under section 138 (cheque bounce case) of the Negotiable Instruments (NI) Act, had to deal with the legal issue as to whether a convict can be allowed to settle the case at the eleventh hour of the judicial proceedings just to avoid the imminent penalty.
Referring to the relevant legal provision, the court said, “It would, thus, be seen that in view of the non obstante clause contained in the Section, the restrictions and limitations prescribed under CrPC with respect to compounding of offences would not be applicable as far as compounding of an offence punishable under the provisions of the aforesaid Act is concerned.
“Consequently, such an offence can be compounded at any stage before the sentence, if any, awarded to an accused under the provisions of the aforesaid Act is fully executed.”
“Since, section 147 of the NI Act does not require permission of the court for compounding such an offence, no such permission is necessary and the parties therefore can enter into a compromise outside the court and then get the same recorded in the court at any point of time before the sentence is fully executed,” it said.