Marriage between victim and accused not grounds for quashing POCSO case

Kerala HC: Marriage between victim and accused not grounds for quashing POCSO case when magnitude of rape is grave

In the case of R Vs. State of Kerala, the Kerala High Court on 28.08.2021, held that “When the magnitude of the crime is so grave and heinous as such to shock the sense of justice, settlement between the parties and a marriage subsequently between them are not matters for consideration to quash the proceedings in a criminal case.”

The case against the accused is that he procured the victim, aged 17 years, from lawful custody and took her forcibly to the rental house where the accused committed rape on her. The accused was charged under Sections 366A, 376 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 3, Section 5 and Section 16 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (“POCSO Act”).

The accused had approached the High Court to seek quashing of FIR under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code.

The accused contended that the entire matter had been amicably settled between the parties and the victim did not intend to proceed with the case since they were living together as husband and wife.

Observations of the Court-

  1. The Court remarked that “When it (rape) is towards a child the gravity is all the more severe and excruciating as it may even low self-esteem, self-confidence and dignity of the child and that the psychic effect and impact would cause a devastating effect on the minor and result in far-reaching consequences.”
  2. The inherent power given to the High Court under Section 482 CrPC is with the purpose to prevent abuse of process of the court and with the object of advancement of justice which is an exception and not the rule which should be used sparingly with great caution and circumspection.
  3. Hence, it was held that as the victim was a minor and the provisions of the special Act enacted to protect and save minor children from sexual offences and harassment were also involved, the argument that, now the victim had attained majority and was living happily with the accused were not valid grounds or justifiable reasons for consideration to quash the criminal proceedings.

Therefore, the Hon’ble High Court held that compromise and settlement entered between the parties is rejected and the accused was directed to stand the test of judicial scrutiny and face the Trial.

– Vaishali Jain, Advocate & Associate – POSH at Work

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