Rajasthan High Court: The Court exercising its inherent powers under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code (Code), quashed the First Information Report (FIR) registered under the provisions of Section 376 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 3 and 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) against a 22-year-old man for impregnating a minor.
The petitioner-accused had approached the Court for quashing the FIR on accord of entering into a compromise with the minor, which was registered against him by the Station House Officer (SHO), Devnagar, Jodhpur based on the statement of the minor upon delivering a baby boy in a Government Hospital. In her statement, she revealed that she had a love affair and voluntarily cohabited with the accused resulting into her pregnancy.
Dinesh Mehta, J while stating that ‘consent’ in cases concerning sexual act with a minor holds no legal sanctity and cannot be used as a defence, however, their personal relationship has peregrinated beyond the legal and moral bounds, resultantly therefrom conceiving an offspring.
The FIR was registered on the behest of the Investigating Officer (IO) and neither the minor nor her parents had any animosity against the petitioner and beseeched that the FIR be quashed contrary to which he will have to face incarceration for at least 10 years for an offence committed due to an immature act and uncontrolled emotions.
Statement of the parents of both the parties revealed their remorse and helplessness, expressing their concern about the situation of minor delivering due to lack of maturity, or mistake. They further submitted that due to the society’s pressure, they had to house their 2-month-old grandson in a nursery.
Thus, the Court agreed to the quashing of the FIR, listing down various reasons for reaching to its conclusion and to secure the ends of justice:
1) an adolescent girl of tender age (16 years) has fallen in love with a boy of 22 years;
2) both being immature, apparently driven by momentary emotions have fallen prey to lust, surpassing social, moral and legal limits;
3) the girl has been consistent in her stand that she consented to the physical relationship. Not only in her statements under Section 161 and Section 164 of the Code but also before this Court, the girl unequivocally accepted that she had consented to the act;
4) their fornication though may be without legal and moral sanction, has resulted in child birth;
5) parents of both – the girl and the boy having forgiven their respective children for their felony, intend to tie them in nuptial knot, when the prosecutrix attains marriageable age;
if the prosecution continues, the petitioner is sure to face conviction, as the girl is minor. The conviction will result in 10 years of incarceration which would bring more agony and misery to the girl and her newly born son, rather than securing justice and also, because, the basic ingredient of retributive theory of punishment -” avenge for the person wronged” is completely absent.
The further Court stated that “this Court cannot be a silent spectator to or turn its back on the distressed family(…). The petitioner’s prosecution and conviction will lead to pain and tears in the eyes of the family members of both the parties and future of two families, and above all, an innocent child will be at stake, whereas, if the impugned FIR is quashed, it would serve the ends of justice”
[Tarun Vaishnav v. State of Rajasthan, 2022 SCC OnLine Raj 2237, decided on 13-10-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For Petitioners: Advocate Gajendra Panwar;
For Respondents: Public Prosecutor Mool Singh Bhati;
Advocate Ashok Patel.