Parents cannot strike a compromise in minor’s rape: Punjab and Haryana HC
Chandigarh: Parents of minor children who are victims of sexual crimes cannot arrive at a compromise with the perpetrator, the Punjab and Haryana high court has ruled.
“The compromise effected by the child and/or her parents, compromising the dignity of the child cannot be raised to a status where it defeats the very object of the Act. Power granted under Section 482 CrPC (powers of high court to quash an FIR) cannot be exercised to defeat the purpose of an enactment enacted in discharge of Constitutional mandate as well as obligation arising out of international conventions,” the bench of justice Pankaj Jain held.
The court was hearing a plea from a Sirsa man booked in January 2019. The accused was charged under sections 452 (house tress pass) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC; Section 3 of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989; and Section 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 (sexual assault).
The man arrived at a compromise with the victim’s family last year and approached high court seeking quashing of the FIR.
The court observed that POCSO was aimed at protecting children from abuse . And the preamble of the Act further declares sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children as a heinous crime which need to be effectively addressed, it added.
The court said that any compromise arrived at either by the victims’ parents or the victims themselves cannot be accorded validity. Parents cannot be allowed to compromise the dignity of a child by an agreement, the court added.Therefore, a FIR registered for offences punishable under the 2012 Act cannot be quashed on the basis of a compromise, the high court ruled, and directed the trial court to expedite the trial and conclude the same preferably within six months.
“Compromises in such cases have no place. If it is allowed, it would go against the spirit of law and result in abuse of children,” said Devi Sirohi, academician and former head of the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights. “There is a legal recourse to the offence and same should be allowed. If a compromise is recognized in such cases by courts, it would set a bad precedent.”