POCSO- FIR Cannot Be Quashed On The Ground That Victim Decided To Compromise Matter After Attaining Majority: Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court has ruled that a FIR filed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 cannot be quashed because the victim agreed to settle the case with the accused after reaching majority.
*FACTUAL BACKGROUND OF THE CASE*
The Court was dealing with a petition filed under sec. 482 CrPC seeking quashing of FIR registered under sec. 354 (Assault of criminal force to woman with intent to outgrage her modesty), 354D (Stalking), 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation), 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult modesty of a woman), 34 (Common intention) of IPC and sec. 10 (Punishment for aggrevated sexual assault) of the POCSO Act. The petition was filed on the ground that both the prosecutor and the petitioner have compromised the matter.
According to the chargesheet, the prosecutrix stated that the accused, a distant relative, had begun to live in her home and that, in the absence of her parents, the accused "kept staring at her with odd eyes." Furthermore, the accused, along with his other two nephews, allegedly threatened her with death over her photos and even threatened to kill her parents. The petition was filed after a settlement was reached between the prosecutrix and her mother, who had reached majority, and the accused persons.
*OBSERVATION MADE BY THE COURT*
Justice Subramonium Prasad of a single-judge bench made the following findings: "Exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C to quash an offence under the POCSO Act would be contrary to the legislature's purpose in enacting the special enactment to safeguard children's interests. The FIR cannot be quashed because the survivor has agreed to settle the case with the accused after reaching majority." While acknowledging that using Section 482 of the CrPC to quashing an offence under POCSO would go against the legislature's intent, the Court also quoted the POCSO Act's Declarations of Objects and Reasons, which state that "heinous crimes like rape cannot be quashed by exercising power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. even though the prosecutrix and the accused have entered into a complicity arrangement. As a result, the Court dismissed the petition, stating that it was not inclined to quash the FIR in a case where the petitioners were accused of violating Section 10 of the POCSO Act.