The complainant’s allegation was that the plaintiff ‘Akhtar’ wrongly described himself as ‘Shiva’ and vowed to marry respondent No.2/ and made a physical relationship with her.
On Monday (01 February), the Delhi High Court declined to quash a rape lawsuit on the grounds of a settlement reached between the sides, in which the petitioner/accused and respondent No.2/complaint agreed to live as husband and wife.
The Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that the petitioner-accused was accused of serious crimes such as rape and forgery having an impact on critical societal interests.
These crimes should not be viewed as simple private or legal conflicts, but they can have an influence on society. In crimes which is serious in nature and endangers the well-being of society, it is not safe to leave the criminal doer simply because he and the victim have settled the conflict amicably.
Last week, the same Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad ruled that the court cannot cause the FIR to be quashed solely on the basis that the parties have entered into a settlement in relation to heinous crimes against small children under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and POCSO Act.
Thus, the Court denied the petition lodged under Sec. 482 Cr.P.C. Prayer for the quashing of an FIR reported at Patel Nagar Police Station on 22.11.2019, Section 377 of the IPC read with Section 4 of the POCSO Act.
Matter before the court,
By way of a petition pursuant to Section 482 CrPC, the petitioner-accused alleged that FIR had reported an offense against him pursuant to Sections 419, 467, 471, 474, 376 354,506 and Section 34 of IPC specified that the parties had amicably resolved their conflict.
Along with a compromise, the deed was also filed s 482 application which claimed that that the respondent No.2/complainant has pardoned the petitioner/accused and they are able to lead their happy marital life.
Facts of the case,
On 10 December 2020, respondent No.2/complainant lodged a complaint at Police Station Prem Nagar alleging that she was met by the petitioner/accused He announced that Shiva was his name and promised her that he would marry her.
In addition, under the pretext of promised marriage, the applicant became intimate and formed a sexual relationship with him. She subsequently came to realize that his identity had been withheld by the petitioner, and his real name was Akhtar.
She claimed in the FIR that she was taken to Arya Samaj Mandir by the petitioner and they both got married there and he gave his name as Akhtar in the marriage certificate. It was also reported that the petitioner began seeking money after the marriage and she was pushed away by them when she visited her friends.
In the beginning, the Court pointed out that the Supreme Court has consistently held that the High Court must bear in mind the subtle difference between the Court’s power to compound crimes under Section 320 CrPC and the removal of criminal prosecutions and the authority bestowed on it by Section 482 CrPC.
The Court then observed that the complainant’s claim that petitioner Akhtar wrongly depicted himself as Shiva and pledged marriage to respondent No.2/complainant and had a sexual relationship with her.
The Court consequently found that the offence of rape is an offence against society as a whole and that the petitioner is, therefore, guilty of committing crimes under Sections 419, 467, 468, 471, 474, 506 and 34 IPC, aside from the offence under Section 376.
In addition, although refusing to quash the FIR on the grounds of an agreement between the sides, the Court observed,
The Supreme Court has consistently noted that where settlement is reached by the parties and, on that basis, a petition is filed for the quashing of criminal proceedings, the High Court will have to procure a guide before quashing the lawsuit in those cases; (a) the end of justice; (b) the avoidance of misuse of court proceedings. It should be remembered that the Supreme Court stressed in 2019 that the compromise between the perpetrator and the victim of rape is of little significance in determining Crime occurrences.
Thus, when disposing of a judicial appeal, Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar’s bench and Justice Krishna Murari noted.
It was argued before the bench that both the defendants charged Rs. 1.5 lakhs each in favor of the prosecutor during the pendency of the appeals and she admitted the same voluntarily for having the case tainted.
It is imperative, however, to stress that such accommodation is not recognized in matters related to the crime of rape and similar cases of sexual harassment. Recently, while acknowledging that ‘compromise tradition’ rampantly prevailing nowadays between the contesting sides, the Allahabad High Court said,
“The life of the deceased is not so cheap, which could be negotiated between two individuals.” Thus, at the hearing of an application filed by the petitioner requesting his bail, the Bench of Justice Rahul Chaturvedi noted in a case recorded under u/s 498A, 304B, 120B I.P.C. and Section 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.