The Karnataka High Court has recently held that it has no power under Section 482 of CrPC for quashing of criminal proceedings for serious offence like rape, on the ground of settlement between an offender and a victim.
Justice John Michael Cunha was hearing a joint petition filed by the accused and victim seeking quashing of proceedings pending before the Special Court under Section 366A and 376 of Indian Penal Code and Section 6 of the POCSO Act.
In the joint petition, it is averred that petitioner No.1 (accused) was in love with petitioner No.2 (victim) and he had convinced his parents and had got their consent for his marriage with the victim.
But on coming to know about the plan of the victim’s parents to marry her to a person of her caste, he went to the victim’s place. Since, she was also against the marriage arranged by her parents, hence, she eloped along with accused on 19.08.2015.
On 23.08.2015, the girl’s father brought her to Bengaluru. On 27.08.2015, under the influence of her father, she recorded a police statement falsely alleging that the accused had raped her at a lodge in Bengaluru, the petition said.
It was also submitted that the petitioner contracted marriage and were living as husband and wife. But the criminal case, which has been foisted against petitioner No.1 on the basis of the ‘false’ charge sheet filed by respondent No.2 is causing hardship to the petitioner, as he has to travel all the way from Nakatrana in Kutch district, Gujarat, to appear before the court in Bengaluru.
Justice John Michael Cunha observed that power to quash the criminal proceedings or complaint or FIR where the offender and the victim have settled their dispute is no more res integra in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Gian Singh Vs State.
The court held that rape is not only an offence against an individual, it is categorised as an offence against the society at large.
Dismissing the petition, the high court held: “The allegations made against the petitioner No.1 squarely fall within clause Sixty of section 376 of Indian Penal Code. Hence, even though there is a settlement between the parties, and the parties are stated to have been married and are living together, the criminal proceedings initiated for the alleged offence cannot be quashed.”
Read the Order here.