Allahabad High Court: In an application filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for quashing the proceedings of Sessions Case for offences under Sections 376(1), 323, 357(ka), 504, 506 of the Penal Code, 1860 and Section 7 read with Section 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (‘POCSO’), the Single Judge Bench of J.J. Munir, J. held that under POCSO, the victims do not have the freedom to compromise, as if it were a compoundable offence or a civil cause.
In the case at hand, the complainant who is a widow and has 5 children, became friends with the accused/applicant, who gave her a false promise to marry. The FIR further stated that the accused had carnal relations with the complainant and also molested her minor daughter with questionable intentions. Thereafter, he beat up the complainant.
The accused submitted that he and the complainant had married according to Hindu rites in 2021 and are living together as man and wife. It is further pointed that the complainant has filed an application before the Special Judge that in view of the parties’ marriage, she does not want to pursue the prosecution, which should be disposed of based on a compromise. Thus, no useful purpose would be served in carrying on the prosecution, which would be an abuse of process of Court.
The Court opined that prosecution in heinous offences such as rape and molestation of minors, which are punishable under POCSO, the victims do not have the freedom to compromise as if it were a compoundable offence or a civil cause. The State is the forerunner of the prosecution, and it is the State who must pursue the prosecution to its logical conclusion. The endeavour of the Court in a matter involving such a heinous offence is to determine the truth of the allegations. The purpose is not to persecute the accused, nor is it to let him off because his relations with the complainant has taken a happier turn. An offence of rape or under Section 7 read with Section 8 of POCSO is an offence against the society, the truth of which has to be established before a Court of competent jurisdiction based on whatever evidence is led at the trial.
Further it said that the accused may be acquitted if the charge is not proved, or if proved, he would be convicted. The accused has the right to say that he is entitled to be discharged, and he will be discharged if the law permits. However, in the present case, the Court denied prohibiting the prosecution and quashing the proceedings based on compromise between parties.
[Om Prakash v State of UP, 2023 SCC OnLine All 93, decided on 15-03-2023]
*Order by: Justice J.J. Munir
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Counsel for Accused: Advocate Raghav Ram, Vibha Diwedi;
Counsel for Opposite Party: Government Advocate.