Delhi High Court: Subramonium Prasad, J., in regard to quashing of FIRs expressed that:
“High Court cannot mechanically quash FIRs for non-compoundable offences by exercising powers under Section 482 CrPC just because parties have decided to bury their hatchets.”
The instant petition was filed for quashing of an FIR for offences under Section 377 of Penal Code, 1860 read with Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).
Respondent 2/Complainant stated that after completion of his work when he reached home, he saw his 7 year old son crying, who told him that the accused who stayed in the same building had come and sodomosied him.
It was further stated that the underwear of the child was wet with blood. On completion of investigation, there was enough material to proceed against the petitioner for offences under Section 377 IPC and Section 4 POCSO Act.
The reason that has been stated for quashing of the FIR was due to the intervention of the elders of the society and friends. In view of the same, parties decided to put an amicable end to the disputes.
Analysis and Decision
Bench while analysis the facts and circumstances of the case, stressed that Section 377 IPC and Section 4 of the POCSO Act are non- compoundable offences and while exercising powers under Section 482 CrPC to quash criminal proceedings for non-compundable offences on the basis of compromise, the High Court should scan the entire facts to find out the thrust of allegations and the cruxof the settlement.
While stating the above position, Court referred to the decision of Supreme Court in State of Maharashtra v. Vikram Anantrai Doshi, (2014) 15 SCC 29.
Bench also referred to the following decisions of the Supreme Court:
- Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab, (2014) 6 SCC 466
- Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641
- Shiji v. Radhika, (2011) 10 SCC 705
The offence in the instant case was of grave nature.
POCSO Act was enacted only because sexual offences against children were not being adequately addressed by the existing laws and the purpose of the Act was to provide protection to children from sexual assault and sexual harassment and for safeguarding the interest and well being of children.
While noting the above stated objective of the POCSO Act, Bench stated that permitting such offences to be compromised and quashing FIRs would not secure the interest of justice.
Calling out the impact of such offences to be a serious one, Court also stated that, an offence under Section 377 IPC committed on a child of 7 years or an offence under Section 4 of the POCSO Act shows the mental depravity of the offender and cannot be said to be private in nature.
Hence, Court opined that the father of the victim cannot be permitted to settle the dispute and the Bench cannot lose sight of the fact that the accused was being prosecuted for an offence that shocks the value system of a society.
Deterrence to others committing similar offence is a must and they cannot get a signal that anything and everything can be compromised.
Therefore, Bench dismissed the petition in view of the above discussion. [Sunil Raikwar v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 258, decided on 29-01-2021]
Advocates for the parties:
Petitioner: Amit Gupta, Advocate
Respondents: Kusum Dhalla, APP for the State and Rahul Raheja, Advocate for R-2