22 March 2022 4:27 PM GMT
The Kerala High Court recently ruled that moral policing is an offence that involves mental depravity and that such cases cannot be quashed on the ground of settlement between the accused and complainant. Justice K. Haripal was adjudicating upon a case in which a violent mob had attacked an unarmed man for taking a woman belonging to a different community in his car. "... it was a case in...
The Kerala High Court recently ruled that moral policing is an offence that involves mental depravity and that such cases cannot be quashed on the ground of settlement between the accused and complainant.
Justice K. Haripal was adjudicating upon a case in which a violent mob had attacked an unarmed man for taking a woman belonging to a different community in his car.
"... it was a case in which a mob, armed with deadly weapons were rounding up and assailing the 2nd respondent on the ground that he had removed a lady of a different community in a car. In other words, they were doing moral policing. That means this is an offence involving mental depravity. Moreover, brutal attack was unleashed against an unarmed single person and caused him serious injuries."
Although it was informed that the parties had arrived at a settlement, the Court declined to quash the proceedings noting that it would send the wrong message to the society.
"If such a case is allowed to be quashed on the ground of settlement, that would send a wrong message to the public."
The plea was filed through Advocate S Jiji by 10 individuals accused of committing offences punishable under Sections 143, 147, 148, 341, 323, 324, 506(ii), 308 r/w Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code.
The prosecution case was that the accused formed an unlawful assembly outside a hospital and in the prosecution of their common object, threatened, restrained and injured the defacto complainant merely because they suspected him to have a woman from a different community in his vehicle.
They moved the High Court to quash the proceedings before the Assistant Sessions Court on the ground that of the settlement. The de facto complainant had also affirmed that they had reached a settlement.
However, Senior Public Prosecutor Sanal T.R while confirming the settlement, objected to quashing the proceedings and argued that the accused were engaged in moral policing.
After recording the submissions of the parties, the Court agreed wth the Public Prosecutor.
Reliance was placed on the Supreme Court decision in Gian Singh v State of Punjab & Ors. where it was held that while considering an application for quashing proceedings on the ground of settlement, the end goal is to secure the ends of justice. It was also elaborated that serious offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc, or other offences of mental depravity under the IPC or offences of moral turpitude under special statutes are saved from being considered for quashing on the ground of settlement.
As such, the Judge refused to quash the case against the accused citing that moral policing is an offence of mental depravity.
Case Title: Muhammed Nazar & Ors. v State of Kerala & Anr.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 138
Click Here To Read/Download The Order