Punjab and Haryana High Court recently noted that parents of minor children who are victims of sexual crimes cannot arrive at a compromise with the perpetrator.
“The compromise effected by the child and/or her parents, compromising the dignity of the child cannot be raised to a status where it defeats the very object of the Act. Power granted under Section 482 CrPC (powers of High Court to quash an FIR) cannot be exercised to defeat the purpose of an enactment enacted in discharge of Constitutional mandate as well as obligation arising out of international conventions,” noted Justice Pankaj Jain.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by a man from Sirsa. He was booked in January 2019 under the offences punishable under Section 452 (house tress pass) and Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code; Section 3 of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989; and Section 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 (sexual assault).
The accused reached a compromise and approached the High court seeking directions to quash the FIR against him.
The bench stated that the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act aims at protecting children against sexual crimes. And the preamble of the Act further declares sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children as a heinous crime which needs to be effectively addressed, added Justice Jain.
Any compromise arrived at either by the parents of the POCSO victim or by the victims themselves cannot be accorded validity. Parents cannot be allowed to compromise with the dignity of the child by an agreement. Therefore, FIR registered under POCSO Act cannot be quashed even if the parties have reached a compromise.
“Compromises in such cases have no place. If it is allowed, it would go against the spirit of law and result in abuse of children. There is a legal recourse to the offence and same should be allowed. If a compromise is recognized in such cases by courts, it would set a bad precedent,” said Devi Sirohi, academician and former head of the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights.