Delhi High Court on Monday rejected a petition seeking quashing of a rape case as both the parties have entered into a compromise wherein the accused and victim has decided to stay as husband and wife.
Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that the petitioner has been accused of serious offences like rape and forgery having a bearing on vital societal interest.
“These offences cannot be construed to be merely private or civil disputes but rather will have an effect on the society at large. In crimes which seriously endangers the well being of the society, it is not safe to leave the crime doer only because he and the victim have settled the dispute amicably,” noted the High Court bench.
Last week also, Justice Subramonium Prasad held in another case that the court cannot permit quashing of FIR merely on the ground that the parties have entered into a compromise where the FIR relates to heinous offences against small children under Section 377 of Indian Penal Code and POCSO Act.
The petitioner had moved a plea under Section 482 of CrPC and sought quashing of the FIR lodged against him by the victim under Sections 419, 467, 471, 474, 376, 354, 506 read with Section 34 IPC citing the reason that both the parties have amicably settled their dispute.
A compromise deed was also attached to the Section 482 application stating that the complainant (victim) has pardoned the petitioner (accused) and both of them are willing to lead a peaceful marital life.
The victim filed a complaint at Prem Nagar police station on December 10, 2020. The complaint stated that the accused concealed his identity and told her that his name is Shiva. The complaint further stated that he promised that he would marry her and established a physical relationship with her on the pretext of promised marriage.
She further alleged that she came to know about the accused’s real name i.e. Akhtar when they both went to Arya Samaj Mandir to get married.
The bench underlined the SC observations stating that the High Court has to keep in mind the subtle distinction between the power of compounding offences given to the Court under Section 320 CrPC and the quashing of criminal proceedings and the jurisdiction conferred upon it under Section 482 CrPC.
“An offence of rape is an offence against the society at large and apart from offence under Section 376, the petitioner is also accused of committing offences under Sections 419,467,468,471,474,506 and 34 IPC,” noted the bench.
The court refused to quash the FIR and stated, “It has been repeatedly stated by the Supreme Court that when parties reach settlement and on that basis a petition is filed for quashing criminal proceedings, the guiding factor for the High Court before quashing the complaint in such cases would be to secure; a) ends of justice, b) to prevent abuse of process of any court. The High Court has to form an opinion on either of the aforesaid two objectives.”
The bench also referred to the 2019 Supreme Court observation which held that compromise between rape accused and victim is of no relevance in deciding criminal cases.