Delhi High Court has rejected an application seeking quashing of a rape case, filed under section 376 of IPC, on the ground of a settlement being reached between the victim and the accused.
Refusing to exercise the inherent power under section 482 of CrPC, Justice Brijesh Sethi held that rape not only causes serious injury to a woman's body, but also to her honour and dignity. Therefore, even if such an offence is settled by the offender and victim, this offence being not private in nature, and having a serious impact on the society, cannot be quashed.
In the present case, a petition was filed under Article 226, read along with Section 482 of CrPC, to quash the trial proceedings initiated against the accused under sections 376 and 380 of IPC. It was averred in the petition that pending the trial, a marriage was solemnized between the victim and the accused as per the Hindu rituals. Moreover, it was also submitted that with the intervention of friends and well wishers, both parties have resolved all the differences and misunderstandings between them by way of a settlement deed dated 16.08.2019. The respondent No. 2 has further given her 'No objection' affidavit for quashing of the aforesaid FIR and all proceedings emanating there from.
ASC Richa Kapoor opposed the said petition by arguing that quashing of the FIR in rape cases cannot be entertained as per the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Parbathhai Aahir @ Parbatbhai Bhimsinhbhai Karmur & Ors. Vs. State of Gujarat & Anr., 2017 SCC Online SC 1189.
In the aforementioned case, the Supreme Court has held that:
'Heinous and serious offences involving mental depravity or offences such as murder, rape and dacoity cannot appropriately be quashed though the victim or the family of the victim have settled the dispute.'
The court relied on the said judgement to note that in offences against society, it is the duty of the state to punish the offender. In consequence, deterrence provides a rationale for punishing the offender. Hence, even when there is a settlement, the view of the offender and victim will not prevail since it is in the interest of society that the offender should be punished to deter others from committing a similar crime.
While rejecting the plea to quash the trial by recording the charges levelled against the accused as 'serious in nature', the court perused the complaint of the victim which has stated that: 'she was deceived by petitioner and sexual relations were established on the pretext of false promise of marriage and she was, thus, subjected to emotional, physical, mental and sexual abuse'.