The Bombay High Court last month rejected a petition for quashing of FIR registered against him by a TV actress from Delhi who accused him of sexual assault and forcing her at gunpoint to get an abortion.
Division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice VG Bisht refused to quash the FIR stating that there are serious allegations against the accused, a restaurant owner from Mumbai. Court observed that the accused had falsely told the victim that he was unmarried and committed sexual assault on her multiple times under the same pretext against her consent.
The victim had filed an affidavit in February stating that "as per advice of their elders" both the accused and victim have decided to "amicably settle the dispute between them and move on in their lives for the better future and career."
According to the victim's statement to the police in April 2016, she was a resident of Delhi working as an actress there. She created a profile on a matrimonial website and received a phone call from the accused in January 2015 expressing interest in her. They started chatting regularly and around mid January he told her he was unmarried and would like to marry her. The victim told her parents about the proposal who then told her to ask the accused to come to Delhi. The accused travelled to Delhi but only met the girl and refused to meet her parents.
Eventually, the accused met with the victim's parents and expressed his desire to marry their daughter. Then in July, the accused called the victim and asked her to come to Mumbai, he also said he could get her a job.
The victim came to Mumbai in July itself and the accused set her up in an apartment at Film City. The accused came to visit the flat sometimes and had physical intercourse with her without her consent regularly. She frequently asked him about marriage but he used to reply that he will get work for her in the film line and avoided the issue of marriage. The victim stated that the accused did not get her any work, unlike he promised.
Thereafter, the victim got pregnant and when she told the accused about it, he asked her to get an abortion. But the victim asked him to marry her instead and refused for abortion. The accused then abused her and started forcing her to get an abortion. He threatened to throw her out from the house he put her up in and told her that he has her nude photos and can post it over social sites to malign the complainant victim. Moreover, when the informant refused to get an abortion again, he took out his revolver pointed it at her ear threatening to blow her brains out if she does not have an abortion.
Thus, the victim got an abortion in Andheri. She was accompanied by the accused. But after the said abortion trook place, the accused stopped visiting her flat. Thus, the victim visited the residence of the accused where she found out he was already married.
Thus, a complaint was filed by the victim at Kurar Village Police Station. However, an affidavit was filed on behalf of the victim in February 2020, stating that on advice of their elders both accused and victim had decided to amicably settle the dispute between them to move on in their lives for the better future and career.
Advocate Visahl Kanade appeared on behalf of the petitioner accused and Dr.Abhinav Chandrachud for the victim. APP SD Shinde appeared on behalf of the State.
On the basis of the last affidavit filed on behalf of the victim, counsels for the petitioner and victim jointly submitted that the FIR and also the charge-sheet impugned in the present petition may be quashed. Advocate Kanade relied upon several judgments in support of his arguments.
APP Shinde vehemently opposed the plea for quashing on the ground that the said offences alleged against the accused are serious and heinous in nature. He submitted that the alleged offences are not restricted to the individuals but those have impact upon Society and therefore, in view of the law laid down by Supreme Court in the case of Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab, the prayer for quashing on the basis of settlement may be rejected.
The bench relied on the Supreme Court's judgment in Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab, 2012 which was reiterated by another bench of the apex court in State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Laxmi Narayan and ors, 2019.
In Laxmi Naryan (supra), apex court had observed-
"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. Such offences are truly speaking, not private in nature but have a serious impact upon society."
Thus, Court concluded that FIR and charge sheet cannot be quashed on the following grounds-
"Firstly, as it is alleged in the FIR, the petitioner was already married before when he called first time to the 2nd respondent (victim). However, petitioner told the 2nd respondent that he is unmarried and wishes to marry the 2nd respondent.
Secondly, it appears from the allegations made in the FIR that, the petitioner promised the 2nd respondent that he will marry with her and under the said pretext, without the consent of the 2nd respondent has committed sexual assault on various occasions.
Thirdly, there is a serious allegation made in the First Information Report that there was forceful abortion at the gun point by the petitioner. It appears that the Investigating Officer during the course of investigation has recorded the statement of the Medical Officer and the medical report is also collected. Whether such abortion was at the gun point or otherwise, is a matter for trial and such allegations made in the FIR cannot be dealt with in a summary manner while considering the prayer for quashing.
Fourthly, it appears that the petitioner by promising the employment to the 2nd respondent in the film industry has taken undue advantage of weakness of the 2nd respondent and committed the alleged offences"
Finally, rejecting prayer to quash proceedings, Court said-
"In our considered opinion, the allegations made by the 2nd respondent in the FIR will have to be tested during the trial and it is not possible to accede to the prayer of the petitioner to quash the impugned FIR and charge-sheet. The alleged offences are not individual in nature and quashing of the impugned FIR, chargesheet and pending proceedings on the basis of alleged settlement or on merits is not possible since the alleged offences are not individual in nature and outcome of present proceedings will have impact on Society."
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