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Compoundable and Non-Compoundable offence in India

Compoundable or non compoundable

  • In our society, there are certain criminal offences which are not very serious in nature.
  • In these cases, the Indian Criminal Law allows a compromise between the parties as the object of the criminal law is to punish the criminal attitude of the accused or wrongdoer rather than punishing him only physically.
  • With this reason, the rigors of criminal law have been relaxed to some extent paving the way for compoundability of certain offences.(Compoundable or non compoundable)

What is Composition? Compoundable or non compoundable

  1. A composition is an arrangement or settlement of differences between the injured party and the person against whom the complaint is made. It could be either in writing or oral.
  2. The compounding of an offence does not mean that the offence has not been committed rather it means that the offence was committed, but the victim is willing either to forgive the offender or to accept sufficient compensation for what he has suffered.
  3. When both the parties agree to compromise, then the Court has to dispose of the case in terms of that compromise and the offender has to be acquitted.

Compoundable offences (Compoundable or non compoundable)

A crime is a wrong against the society and the state. Therefore, any compromise between the accused person and the victim should not absolve the accused from criminal responsibility. However, there are some offences which are of private nature and relatively not quite serious, in these cases, the Code considers it expedient to recognize such offences as compoundable offences.

Section 320 of The Code of CriminalProcedure, 1973 deals with the compounding of offences. The section has been divided into two parts:

  1. Offences compoundable without the permission of the Court

Subsection (1) of the section provides the table consisting of offences punishable under The Indian Penal Code, 1860 that could be compounded under this part. These are mostly non-cognizable offences, compounding of such offences requires only verification of the compromise from the court whether it is duly executed or not.

Examples of such offences are:

  • Adultery

  • Causing hurt

  • Theft

  • Cheating

  • Criminal trespass


  1. Offences compoundable with the permission of the Court

Subsection (2) of the section provides the table consisting of offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 that could be compounded under this part with the permission of the Court before which any prosecution for such offence is pending. These are mostly cognizable offences.

Examples of such offences are:

  • Criminal breach of trust

  • Voluntarily causing grievous hurt

  • Assault on a woman with intention to outrage her modesty

  • Causing miscarriage

Non Compoundable offences (Compoundable or non compoundable)

All those offences in which the private party as well as the society are affected and are considered to be grave in nature are categorized as non-compoundable offences. In these cases, even the Court does not have authority to compound such offences, and full trial shall be held which will end either with the conviction or acquittal of the offender.

Subsection (9) of the section states that “No offence shall be compounded except as provided by this section.” Thus all those offences which are not mentioned under subsection (1) and (2) together with all the offences under the special or local laws are non-compoundable.

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