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Saturday, April 27, 2013


Whether the Criminal Courts dealing with the complaints Under Section 498-A of Indian Penal Code can refer the matter to mediation for the settlement of dispute was examined by the Supreme Court.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in K.Srinivas Rao Vs D.A.Deepa, held that though offence punishable Under Section 498-A of Indian Penal Code is not compoundable, in appropriate cases if the parties are willing and if it appears to the Criminal Court that there exist elements of settlement, it should direct the parties to explore the possibility of settlement through mediation.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court had issued directions that “(b) The criminal courts dealing with the complaint under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code should, at any stage and particularly, before they take up the complaint for hearing, refer the parties to mediation centre if they feel that there exist elements of settlement and both the parties are willing. However, they should take care to see that in this exercise, rigour, purport and efficacy of Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code is not diluted. Needless to say that the discretion to grant or not to grant bail is not in any way curtailed by this direction. It will be for the concerned court to work out the modalities taking into consideration the facts of each case. (c) All mediation centers shall set up pre-litigation desks/clinics; give them wide publicity and make efforts to settle matrimonial disputes at pre-litigation stage”.

Prepared by: S. Hemanth
Advocate at Hemanth & Associates