Meghalaya High Court: W. Diengdoh, J. allowed a petition which was filed praying to quash the criminal proceedings pending in the Court of the Special Judge (POCSO) under Section 5(j)(ii)/6 POCSO Act, 2012.
Counsel for the petitioners submitted that the petitioner 1 and petitioner 2 were husband and wife and in course of their relationship, the petitioner 2 got pregnant and accordingly, the petitioner 1 took her to Nazareth Hospital, Shillong for medical checkup. However, the hospital authorities on confirming that the petitioner 2 was pregnant and that her age was about 17 years at the relevant time had accordingly informed the police of the matter. An FIR was lodged and prayer for suo moto case was registered and investigation was made by the said informant. On completion of the investigation, the charge sheet was filed finding a well-established prima facie case against the petitioner 1 and he was accordingly made to stand trial before the Court.
Counsel for the petitioner further submitted that both petitioners were husband and wife and were living together as husband and wife with the knowledge of the family members from both sides and it was a fact that out of the cohabitation between the couple, a male child was born to them and none of the family members wished to proceed with the case against petitioner 1. It was further submitted that this was not a case where a heinous crime of rape has been committed and thereafter, a subsequent compromise has been arrived at between the parties, but as stated above is a consequence of a relationship between two young persons who were in love.
The Court relied on the judgments of the Ranjit Rajbanshi v. State of W.B., 2021 SCC OnLine Cal 2470, Vijayalakshmi v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 317, Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 and Ramgopal v. State of M.P., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 834 and agreed that,
“…Handing out punishment is not the sole form of delivering justice. Societal method of applying laws evenly is always subject to lawful exceptions…” and again, it was said that “…the touchstone for exercising the extra-ordinary power under section 482 Cr.P.C. would be to secure the ends of justice…”.
The petition was thereby allowed and FIR, proceedings and orders against the petitioner were set aside and quashed[Shembhalang Rynghang v. State of Meghalaya, 2022 SCC OnLine Megh 67,decided on 23-3-2022]
For the Petitioner/Appellant(s): Mr K. Ch. Gautam
For the Respondent(s): Mr K. Khan, Sr. PP. with Mr S. Sengupta, Addl. Sr. GA., Mr H. Kharmih, Addl. Sr. GA., Mr A. H. Kharwanlang, GA.
Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.