Squashing of heinous crimes not allowed under Section 482 CrPC
In 2021, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was enacted in an attempt to prevent, protect the children from sexual abuse and harassment. To be able to succeed in their purpose of making the act they have framed and rendered stringent punishment to the offenders. Section 10 of the POCSO act provides for the punishment for aggravated sexual assault i.e. imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to seven years, and the offender shall also be liable to fine.
Following are the facts of a recent case Dinesh Sharma and Ors v. State and Anr.
Dinesh (the petitioner) was a distant relative of the prosecutrixand used to do household chores at her home. After a few days of his job he began to harass the prosecutrix. The prosecutrix informed her parents about the unacceptable incident who in turn had warned the petitioner and immediately released him from his employment. In 2017, the prosecutrix along with her family went to attend a family wedding where they also met Dinesh and his two nephews Deepak and Vishal. During the function Dinesh’s nephewsthreatened the child when she refused to befriend them. When the prosecutrix was sitting alone as their second attempt the nephews warned her and stated that if she refused their offer they would defame her and her family by using her inappropriate photographs which they already had, however she managed to escape. Later a First Information Report against the accused was filed under following sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)
i. Sections 354 which deals with assault of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty ii. Section 354D covering stalking iii. Section 506 in which punishment for criminal intimidation is coverediv. Section 509 dealing with word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman, v. Section 34 which covered common intentionvi. Along with Section 10 covering punishment for aggravated sexual assault of the POCSO Act.
Hence the petitioner was charged under the POCSO Act and had filed an application in the High Court under Section 482of Code of Criminal Procedure to quash the charges against him.
A single judge bench consisting of Justice SubramoniumPrasad stated that an FIR of heinous crime like rape, murder cannot be squashed under Section 482 even if both the parties had come to a consensus. He further added that the law relating to this matter is made clear and settled by the Honourable Supreme Court expressing that squashing through such applications is not acceptable and that they are bound to follow the dictum laid down by the SC under Article 141 of the Indian Constitution. While giving the judgement the High Court relied on the judgements laid down by the Supreme Court in Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, Narinder Singh v. State of Punjab and State of MP v. Laxmi Narayan which also stated that irrespective of a settlement between the parties application for sqashing FIRs in crimes like these cannot be accepted. Finally the HC dismissed the petition.