In the case of N.Chandramohan vs The State [2019-2-LW(Crl)460, Decided on 20 August 2019], the Madras High Court expressed disappointment regarding misuse of the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 ( ”POCSO Act”).
The facts of the case are that the de facto complainant (mother of the alleged victim) reported an illicit relationship between her husband (the father of the alleged victim) and their 11-years old daughter (the alleged victim). She claimed that she noticed some bodily changes on the alleged victim and that the alleged victim became pregnant and had to use some native medicine to terminate her pregnancy. An FIR was registered for an offence under Section 6 (punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO Act.
While seeking anticipatory bail, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner-husband submitted that a false complaint was filed against him because there was a dispute between him and the complainant, they were separated from their matrimonial life, and their children were in his custody. In this regard, the Court enquired with the alleged victim, where she completely denied the allegations. In fact, she stated that she never went through any treatment for abortion. Basis this, the Court found that the complainant lodged a false complaint with an ulterior motive to threaten her husband, and accordingly granted an anticipatory bail. The present case was then filed seeking to quash the FIR on the ground that the FIR is an abuse of process of law and is being used as an instrument to threaten the petitioner-husband and to wreak vengeance against him.
The Court analyzed the statement provided by the alleged victim under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as well as the statement provided before this Court at the time of considering the anticipatory bail petition – observed that the statements have remained consistent. While concluding that the complaint lodged is false in nature, the Court remarked that this case shocked the conscience of this Court as it was unbelievable that a mother just for the sake of taking custody of her child could go to the extent of making such serious allegations against her husband.
By referring to this as an eye-opening cheap tactic adopted in family court cases, and on realizing the extent to which the POCSO Act can be misused, the Court quashed the existing FIR and ordered to alter the FIR to proceed against the complainant-wife under Section 22 (punishment for false complaint or false information) of the POCSO Act, so, she suffers the consequences for having given a false complaint against her husband at the cost of her own daughter. The Court declared, “This case should be a lesson for all those who attempt to misuse the provisions of this Act, just to satisfy their own selfish ends.”
– Aakriti Chokhani, Advocate & Associate, POSH at Work & Vaishali Jain, Paralegal, POSH at Work