HC rejects rape victim-accused couple’s plea to drop case

A judge of the High Court of Karnataka has refused to follow the principles adopted in an earlier judgement by another judge, who had last year quashed a rape case against the accused as the victim had entered into wedlock with him.

Justice H.P. Sandesh, in his October 28, 2021, verdict, declined to quash a rape case though the accused and the victim had jointly filed the petition for closing the criminal proceedings for having settled the issue.

Both the accused, Anil, and the victim had pointed out to the court that they were now married. The victim, who was a minor at the time of the offence and now aged around 21 years, had turned hostile during examination before the trial court. Both were taking care of a child born after the rape.

Justice Sandesh, in his verdict, refused to follow the January 8, 2020, judgement in the case of Vijaya Kumar Vs. State by Madanayakanahally Police, in which a then judge (now retired) had quashed the pending criminal proceedings against accused as both the victim and the accused had filed a joint affidavit stating that they got married.

The advocate for both the accused Anil, a resident of Basavana Bagewadi taluk in Vijayapura district, and the victim had cited the earlier case for seeking quashing of criminal proceedings.

However, Justice Sandesh observed, “This Court in Vijaya Kumar’s case though referred to the judgment of the apex court in Gian Singh’s case, but lost sight of the principles laid down in the said judgment. Hence, this Court based on the order passed in Vijaya Kumar’s case supra, cannot exercise power under Section 482 of Cr.P.C [to quash criminal proceedings].”

“The apex court in Gian Singh’s case has held that in serious offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc., or other offences ... the proceedings cannot be quashed, even though the victim or victim’s family and the offender have settled the dispute, since it will have serious impact on society,” Justice Sandesh observed.

Pointing out that the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, were invoked against Anil, and the girl had told the trial court during examination that she was 19 years at the time of alleged offence, the High Court said that this aspect requires to be ascertained during the trial.

“The High Court has to look into the statute and object in bringing the special enactment of POCSO Act and hence, considering the object and scope of special enactment of POCSO Act, exercising power under Section 482 of Cr.P.C., does not arise,” Justice Sandesh said while dismissing the petition.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 8:11:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-rejects-rape-victim-accused-couples-plea-to-drop-case/article37655155.ece

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