• Factory owner acquitted in labourers death case
  • Heirs can’t take away state’s authority to award punishment

KARACHI: A model court has ruled that an accused can evade punishment following an out-of-court settlement in a manslaughter case but his guilt will remain intact.

The ruling was given by Additional District and Sessions Judge Liaqat Ali Khoso of the Model Criminal Trial Court (Central) in his judgement in a case pertaining to the death of two labourers in a boiler blast in a pharmaceutical company in Federal B. Industrial Area in 2018.

Talking to Dawn, former Sindh High Court Bar Association president Barrister Salahuddin Ahmed explained that an accused would neither be jailed or fined or face any other penalty by the court, but he/she will always be considered as a convict.

He elaborated that such an accused would have to face legal consequences. “Such as he/she cannot run for election, hold a public office or will not be considered as ‘never convicted’ wherever it is necessarily required to be mentioned in the documentation.”

Farhan Khan, the owner of Reign Nutro Pharma, was booked under Sections 322 (qatl-bis-sabab or manslaughter), 319 (qatl-i-khata), 426 (punishment for mischief) and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The matter came up for hearing recently when legal heirs of victim Ghulam Ishaq pardoned the accused “without accepting Diyat (blood money) or any other sort of monetary compensation”.

They also filed an application under Section 435(6) of the criminal procedure code, which was also supported by their personal affidavits raising no objection if the accused was acquitted by way of a compromise between them and him.

However, the legal heirs of second victim Imran Naseem also filed a compromise application with certain terms and conditions, agreed between his widow and the accused.

Under the terms and conditions, the accused will pay Rs20,000 per month until the second child of the deceased will attain the age of 20 years without fail/default and deposit the said amount with the court’s nazir (official).

The compromise applications were filed through Advocates Ayesha Begum and Ms Howwa.

The judge noted that the parties entered into an out-of-court compromise. However, they waived of all other payments like diyat (blood money) etc.

State prosecutor Shakeel Ahmed conceded to the compromise applications filed by the legal heirs of both the victims stating that they had settled the matter outside the court and the main purpose of law was to maintain public peace and tranquillity. Therefore, the legal heirs had no objection, he stated.

The judge noted: “Court can accept the compromise at any stage of the case, the legal heirs have forgiven the accused person in the name of Almighty Allah, and there is no legal impediment to accept the compromise arrived between the parties in such circumstances of this particular case.

“As per section 345 (6) CrPC the compounding of offence shall have the effect of acquittal. The proposition held in the provisions of above referred section of CrPC of 1898 does not mean that accused is acquitted but the composition of an offence shall have the effect of an acquittal.

“It means the guilt of the accused shall never be bolt out. It is sufficient for an accused to benefit by vanishing and avoiding punishment provided by the law. The guilt of the accused shall have effective in the field in the life time of accused. In the case of Waheed Ahmed in Criminal Appeal No. 328 of 2012 (appeal against conviction) along with Criminal Miscellaneous application No:185/2017 (compromise application) it was discussed by his lordship Justice Qazi Faiz Essa that guilt of accused would not be bolt out however, it is sufficient for accused to escape punishment for the offence by way of compromise,” the judge stated.

“There is no specific word in any provision of PPC and CrPC that the conviction of an accused is set aside by way of a compromise application which was effectively made between parties. The legal heirs have right to waive their right of Qisas but they have no right to take away the authority of state in awarding punishment to the accused as Taze’r. Same proposition is held in section 311 PPC.

“The proposition of section 311 PPC supports that a compromise does not vanish the guilt of accused as the said section authorized the court/state to award the accused a punishment as Taze’r, which may be upto sentence of death as Taze’r, though the compromise might have been accepted and death as Qisas has been taken away from the accused but yet he may be awarded death sentence as Ta’zir.

“In view of the above facts and circumstances and legal position, both applications moved by legal heirs of above named deceased are accepted. Accused Farhan Khan extended effect of acquittal by way of compromise under section 345 (6) CrPC suffice for him to skip from punishment due to compromise; however his guilt shall not be bolted out by way of compromise,” the judge ruled.

Supporting the judgement, Barrister Ahmed was of the opinion an accused may escape the punishment, but he his conviction must be considered in black and white for future for the purpose of deterrence in the society.

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2022

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