Saturday, December 28, 2013

Mishap complainant can’t withdraw FIR

The smashed Aston Martin

Courts Will Have Final Say In Pedder Road Accident Case

Swati Deshpande & Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Phorum Ruparel, a 25-yearold student who complained to the police after a speeding Aston Martin hit her Audi on Pedder Road early this month,hassaidshedoes notwishto pursue the case. But it is not in her hands anymoretowithdrawtheFIR.
    “It can be done only by the government,or thecomplainantwillhaveto go to court stating she has come to a compromisewiththe accused,”said a senior policeofficial, adding thatthefinaldecision restedwiththecourt. 

    TheGamdevi policehad registered a case of rash driving and negligence under sections279 and337of theIndian Penal Code (see box) and a few sections of the Motor Vehicles Act after Ruparel complained.   The offence of rash driving under section 279 is not compoundable under thelaw.It means a compromisebetween the complainant and the accused is not permitted,lawyerssaid.
    The offence under section 337 for ‘causing hurtto a person by a rash act’ is compoundable and can be settled at the behest of the person hurt, but only with court permission. However a January 2013 judgment of the Delhi HC held that even if an offenceunder section 337iscompounded,itdoes not preclude prosecution of the accusedunder section 279 for rash and negligent driving, an independent offence “against public safety”, punishableindependently of section 337.
    Once the police register an FIR — as was done in this case as both sections are cognizable — it has to investigate and file a chargesheet if there is evidenceof offenceor file a closure reportif thereis noevidenceor if the allegations arefalse,saidlegalexperts.
    Certain criminaloffencescan besettledor compromisedbetween the victim and the accused with the permission of the court. In such cases too, the application mustbe madebeforethecourt and a complainant has no power to withdraw an FIR.Itisfor thecourtto grant permission tosettlethecase and allow acquittal of the accused. Though the offence of rash driving cannot be “settled”, the courts have the power to quash the offence. Here, the accused would need to file an application beforethecourt.
    Around 1.30am on December 8, an Aston Martin owned by Reliance Ports hit Ruparel’s Audi on Pedder Road. The day after, 55-year-old Bansilal Joshi “confessed”tothe policehewasdriving the car. Recently, Ruparel identified Joshi asthe accused. She also gave a statement before a magistrate, saying she did not wantto pursuethecase.
GOING BY THE LAW Sections Applied in Accident Case
SECTION 279 IPC Rash driving on a public way Punishment Up to 6 months in jail or fine
Offences are… Cognizable | Needs an FIR to
be registered Bailable | Police can grant bail after arrest Non-compoundable | Complainant cannot settle or arrive at a compromise with the accused. Case has to be tried before a magistrate
SECTION 337, IPC | Hurting somebody by committing a rash act Punishment | 6 months’ jail or fine Offences are… Cognizable | Bailable | Compoundable Person who is hurt can settle the case with court permission

The Times of India, December 28, 2013

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