In the case of K v State and Ors; the Hon’ble Delhi High Court on 12.02.2022 quashed the FIR under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (“POCSO Act”).
Facts of the Case
The father of a minor girl had in 2019 filed a missing person’s complaint alleging that the petitioner/accused, who was then 18 years old, had kidnapped his then 16-year-old daughter. After the FIR was lodged, the mother of the petitioner handed over the girl to her parents. The girl gave a statement to the police that she had married the petitioner and was seven months pregnant. On the basis of her statement, charges of rape and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) offences were added to the FIR. After the petitioner was granted bail, he and the girl performed a formal wedding ceremony in the presence of friends and family. Soon thereafter, the girl delivered a baby boy.
Whether this Court should exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C for quashing the FIR or not?
Observation of the court
- Section 482 (Saving of inherent powers of High Court) Cr.P.C gives inherent powers to the High Court to prevent the abuse of the process of law and more particularly, to secure the ends of justice. The Hon’ble court also stated that High Courts must ordinarily show restraint in quashing FIRs for offences under Sections 376 (Punishment for rape) IPC and the POCSO Act.
- The court observed that the victim has stated under Section 164 (Recording of confessions and statements) Cr. P.C that she was in love with the Petitioner, and she eloped with him out of her own volition. It is stated they got married in a temple in Uttar Pradesh on the very next day and the minor girl has given birth to a baby boy. The families of the parties have accepted the marriage.
- The court also observed that the lives of the couple and their child would be ruined if the criminal proceedings against the petitioner/accused were to continue, the Court asked the public prosecutor if she would have any objections if it exercised its jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC to quash the FIR. While the Learned public prosecutor for the State very fairly and taking humanitarian approach stated that she has no objections if the instant FIR is quashed.
The court hence quashed the FIR.
– Vaishali Jain, Advocate & Associate – POSH at Work & Priyanjali