The Karnataka High Court in a recent hearing said that it has no power under Section 482 of CrPC for revoking of criminal proceedings for grave offences like rape, on the ground of settlement between an offender and a victim.
Justice John Micheal Cunha was hearing a joint petition filed by an accused and a victim seeking to quash the proceedings pending before the Special Court under Section 366A and 76 of Indian Penal Code and Section 6 of the Protection of Child From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
In the petition, they stated that the accused was in love with the victim and he had convinced his parents to get married to her.
However, the victim’s parents had the plans to marry their daughter to a person of from their caste. Since the victim was also against this alliance, she eloped with the accused on August 19, 2015.
A week later, the girl’s father tracked and brought her to Bengaluru where she was intimidated into recording a police statement falsely alleging that the accused had raped her at a lodge in the city.
Though both of them had married and were living as husband and wife, the accused is now facing hardships, owing to the false accusation of rape against him.
Justice John Michael Cunha held that the power to revoke the criminal proceedings or complaint or FIR where the offender and the victim have settled their dispute is no more res integra given the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Gian Singh Vs State. What this means is that even though the accused and the alleged victim have patched up or provided proof of being married, the court will not consider the case closed and will continue the proceedings till the parties are able to provide ample proof of their innocence.
The high court held: “The allegations made against the petitioner No.1 squarely fall within clause Sixty of section 376 of Indian Penal Code. Hence, even though there is a settlement between the parties, and the parties are stated to have been married and are living together, the criminal proceedings initiated for the alleged offence cannot be quashed.”
While in this particular case the accused will have to fight a false case and prove himself innocent, in other cases, if the victim is forcibly married to the perpetrator, they still have the opportunity to hope for justice.