Compoundable and Non Compoundable offences

Compoundable offences are minor crimes where the victim can agree to drop charges through compromise. Non-compoundable offences are serious crimes that can't be settled and require full trials for justice.
Compoundable offences are minor crimes where the victim can agree to drop charges through compromise. Non-compoundable offences are serious crimes that can't be settled and require full trials for justice.
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Compoundable and Non-Compoundable offences


Sec-320 of CrPC contains the table of offences which are declared to be compoundable. In certain offences, the State and the accused can come to an arrangement whereby, instead of being imprisoned, the accused can pay a fine. These are compoundable offences. The most common example of this is where you get caught without a ticket on a bus or a train and have to pay a fine. In this case, the officer fining you is in fact compounding your offence.

These offences are less severe criminal actions and fall into two categories, as described in Section 320 of the Criminal Procedure Code:

  1. No Court Permission Needed: These offences can be settled without needing approval from the court beforehand. Examples of such offences include:
  • Adultery – Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code(IPC)
  • Causing minor injuries intentionally – Section 323, IPC
  • Defamation – Section 500, IPC
  • Unlawful entry onto someone else’s property – Section 447, IPC
  1. Court Permission Needed: To resolve these offences through compromise, prior permission from the court is required. Examples of these offences are:
  • Theft – Section 379, IPC
  • Misappropriation of entrusted property – Section 406, IPC
  • Causing serious injuries intentionally – Section 325, IPC
  • Assault on a woman with the intention to outrage her modesty – Section 354, IPC
  • Dishonest use of property – Section 403, IPC

Applications to settle an offence through compromise must be submitted to the same court where the trial is ongoing. Once an offence is resolved in this way, it’s treated as if the accused person has been found not guilty.

However, some offences, even though they can be settled through compromise, require the court’s permission. These offences should be settled before the trial begins. If the accused has already been found guilty and an appeal is pending, court permission is necessary to settle these offences. The court’s permission is needed for these cases because these offences are serious in nature and set a negative example for society.


Offences which are not declared u/s 320 CrPC as compoundable, are called non-compoundable offences. It would not be desirable that murderers should be able to compound their offences.

The CrPC lists various offences under the Indian Penal Code which are compoundable.

  • Of these 21 offences may be compounded by the specified aggrieved party (victim) without the permission of the court and
  • 36 can be compounded only after securing the permission of the court. Compoundable Offence

Non-Compoundable Offence Offences classified as compoundable by Sec-320 of CrPC Rest of the offences Offence mostly affects a private party. Private party as well as society both are considerably affected by the offence. The victim and the offender may reach compromise with or without the permission of the court depending on the No compromise is allowed. Even court does not have the power to compound the offence.

Examples of non-compoundable offences include:

  • Causing intentional harm using dangerous weapons or methods – Section 324, IPC
  • Reckless driving or riding on a public road – Section 279, IPC
  • Unlawfully confining a person for three days or more – Section 343, IPC
  • Physically assaulting or using criminal force against a woman with the intent to violate her modesty – Section 354, IPC
  • Breach of trust by a public servant, banker, merchant or agent, etc. – Section 409, IPC
  • Damaging a public road, bridge, navigable river or channel, making it unsafe for travel or property conveyance – Section 431, IPC
  • Creating fake marks that public servants use to denote property ownership or quality – Section 484, IPC

Relevant Case Laws

Rameshchandra J, Thakkar vs. A. P. Jhaveri & Anr it was held that “If an acquittal is based on the compounding of an offence and the compounding is invalid under the law, the acquittal would be liable to be set aside by the High Court in the exercise of its revisional powers.” If there any non-compoundable offence has been compounded, against the law and the acquittal of the accused made is based on the same compromise, the High Court has the power to set aside such order.

Narinder Singh v State of Punjab: In the above case, all the principles are taken into consideration by the Supreme Court, and several judgments led down regarding compromise in non-compoundable cases and laid down the following guidelines regarding quashing criminal proceedings in case of non-compoundable offences by high courts when invoking their inherent powers provided under Section 482 of the CrPC.

In Bhima Singh vs State of UP, AIR 1974, SC held that when an offence is compoundable with the permission of the court, such permission may be granted while an appeal is made against the conviction provided the parties have settled the matter amicably.

In Ram Lal vs State of J&K, 1999, SC held that when an offence is declared non-compoundable by law, it cannot be compounded even with the permission of the court. However, the court may take the compromise into account while delivering judgment.

Difference between compoundable and non-compoundable:



Basis of Difference




Withdrawal of Charge

Charges against the accused can be dropped.

Charges against the accused cannot be dropped.


Nature of Crime

Less serious crimes

Serious crimes



Compounded by the permission or without the permission of court.

Cannot be Compounded. It can only be quashed.


Affected Parties

Impact on a private person only.

Have an effect on private person as well as society at large.


Filling of Case

Cases are generally filed by a private person hence it affects the private party only

Cases are generally filed by a state.




Criminal trespass


Criminal breach of trust

All cases are not mentioned in Section 320 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973.



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