Supreme Court: In a case where a Government School teacher in Rajasthan has been accused of outraging the modesty of a 16-year-old girl student, the bench of Ajay Rastogi and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ has converted the petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India into one under Article 136 of the Constitution in order to decide certain important issues highlighted by the Court in an earlier order dated 30.09.2022, including the issue of locus of the petitioner.
It is interesting to note that while an FIR was lodged by the father of the minor victim, the accused teacher was never arrested and eventually, the FIR was quashed by the Rajasthan High Court under Section 482 CrPC after a compromise was executed by the accused and the family of the victim.
It is worth noting that an offence which is otherwise punishable under Section 354 of the IPC and under the provisions of the POCSO Act and which by very nature is against the society and non-compoundable. The High Court, however, relied upon the decision in Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303, while holding that even in non-compoundable offences, the process of Court can be invoked to have the proceedings quashed on the basis of a compromise entered into between the parties.
When the State of Rajasthan did not appeal against the said decision of the High Court, a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution was filed. The original accused, however, has not been made party to the proceedings.
The 65-year-old petitioner, who runs a small shop in his village, submitted in his petition that though the petitioners are not directly affected by the order of the High Court, they had approached the Court to seek justice on behalf of the girl who was unable to approach the Court for any reason as the State, which is the Guardian of the interests of the persons living in the State, has chosen to not appeal against the order of the High Court. Further, if the accused teacher will go unpunished in this case, then he may commit the same offence with girls in future and this will also lead to other teachers committing similar offences.
The issues that the Court will now decide are:
- Whether the power under Section 482 CrPC was rightly exercised?
- Whether the petitioner has the locus to maintain and seek the relief as prayed?
- Whether the original accused as well as the father of the victim be made parties to the proceedings?
The matter will now be taken on 20.01.2022.
[Ramji Lal Bairwa v. State of Rajasthan, Writ Petition(s)(Criminal) No(s). 253/2022, order dated 02.12.2022]
Amicus Curiae: Mr. R. Basant, Sr. Adv., assisted by Mr. Aviral Saxena, AOR, Mr. Manu Krishnan, Adv.
For Petitioner(s): Mr. Chetan Bairwa, Adv., Mr. Kiran Bairwa, Adv., Mr. Vikas Jain, AOR
For Respondent(s): Mr. Anuj Bhandari, Adv., Ms. Anjali Doshi, Adv., Mr. Gaurav Jain, Adv., Ms. Kanika Sanwal, Adv., Mr. Pankaj Singhal, Adv., Mr. Sarad Singhania, Adv.