Whether it is permissible to refer a criminal matter such as under section 138, for settlement through mediation?
What would be the consequences of the breach of such settlement accepted by the Court?
Even though the statute i.e. Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act (NI Act) is punitive in nature; its spirit, intendment and object is to provide compensation and ensure restitution and these are the aspects which must receive priority over punishment. The proceedings under Section 138 of the NI Act are therefore, distinct from other criminal cases.