Criminal offences can be classified into Compoundable and Non-Compoundable offences. Compoundable offences are those that can be compromised, i.e. the complainant can agree to take back the charges levied against the accused, whereas, non – compoundable offences are the more serious offences in which the parties cannot compromise.
Compoundable offences are those offences where, the complainant (one who has filed the case, i.e. the victim), enter into a compromise, and agrees to have the charges dropped against the accused. However, such a compromise, should be a “Bonafide,” and not for any consideration to which the complainant is not entitled to.
Section 320 of the CrPC looks at compounding of offences. Compoundable offences are less serious criminal offences and are of two different types mentioned in tables in Section 320 of the CrPC, as follows:
1. Court permission is not required before compounding – Examples of these offences include adultery, causing hurt, defamation criminal trespass.
2. Court permission is required before compounding – Examples of such offences are theft, criminal breach of trust, voluntarily causing grievous hurt, assault on a woman with intention to outrage her modesty, dishonest misappropriation of property amongst others.
Application for compounding the offence shall be made before the same court before which the trial is proceeding. Once an offence has been compounded it shall have the same effect, as if, the accused has been acquitted of the charges.
There are some offences, which cannot be compounded. They can only be quashed. The reason for this is, because the nature of offence is so grave and criminal, that the Accused cannot be allowed to go scot-free. Here, in these types of cases generally, it is the “state”, i.e. police, who has filed the case, and hence the question of complainant entering into compromise does not arise.
All those offences, which are not mentioned in the list under section (320) of CrPC, are non-compoundable offences.
Under a non-compoundable offense, a private party as well as the society, both are affected by such offenses.
In Non-compoundable offense, no compromise is allowed. Even the court does not have the authority and power to compound such offense. Full trail is held which ends with the acquittal or conviction of the offender, based on the evidence given.