Gauhati High Court: Arun Dev Choudhury, J., held that sexual offences against minor cannot be compromised by parents.
An FIR was lodged by father of the victim girl alleging that while his minor daughter was on her way home, the petitioner dragged the minor to an isolated place, attempted to molest and murder her. Consequently, a case was registered against the petitioner under Section 354A(2)/307 read with Section 18 of the POCSO Act.
When the matter was pending before the Trial Court, the family of the informant and the petitioner’s family decided to compromise so as to put to an end to the matter. On the basis of such compromise, the petitioner had approached the court for quashing the entire criminal proceeding as well as the FIR contending that since the parties had compromised the matter, it would be a futile exercise to continue with the trial.
The Bench observed that the law is by now well settled that courts can compound cases in exercise of its power under Section 320 of the CrPC and even in the cases of non-compoundable offences the High Court in exercise of its power under Section 482 CrPC can quash criminal proceeding when disputes are amicably settled and the victim is having no objection to such compromise. However, offences involving moral turpitude and grave offences like rape, murder etc. even if compromised cannot be quashed in exercise of power under Section 482 CrPC inasmuch as such offences are against the State and cannot be restricted to two individuals or groups.
Considering the above, the Bench opined that the offences alleged were grave in nature involving minor victim alleging attempt of rape, therefore such allegation and criminal proceeding could not be quashed on the basis of a compromise entered into between the families of the victim and accused inasmuch when it was a sexual offence involving a minor, the parents, opined the Bench, could not give consent on behalf of the minor to compromise such serious offences.[Limhathung v. State of Nagaland; Cr. Rev. No. 5 of 2021, decided on 24-03-2022]
For the Petitioner: N Mozhui, K Kire, N Rupreo, and P. Mere, Advocates
For the Respondents: K Angami, PP