On March 15, the Allahabad High Court held that there is no freedom to compromise in heinous offences such as rape and molestation of minors which are punishable under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The Court was hearing an application seeking the quashing of proceedings against the applicant u/s 376(1), 323, 357-ka, 504, 506 of the Indian Penal Code and u/s 7/8 of the POCSO Act. According to the First Information Report (FIR), the applicant had carnal relations with the complainant, under a false promise to marry her, and molested the complainant’s daughter, who is a minor. Furthermore, he beat up the complainant.
The applicant’s counsel submitted that the applicant and the complainant have married and reside together. Furthermore, the applicant’s counsel urged that the case should be disposed of on the basis of a compromise as “no useful purpose would be served in carrying on the prosecution, which would be an abuse of process of Court.”
The Court rejected the application and said, “prosecution in heinous offences such as rape and molestation of minors, which are punishable under the Act of 2012, the victims do not have the freedom to compromise as if it were a compoundable offence or a civil cause.”
“The State is the forerunner of the prosecution and it is the State who have to pursue the prosecution to its logical conclusion. The endeavour of the Court in a matter involving such a heinous offence is to determine the truth of the allegations. The purpose is not to persecute the accused nor is it to let him off, because his relations with the complainant has taken a happier turn,” the Court added.
The Court said, “An offence of rape or one under Section 7/8 of the Act of 2012 is an offence against the society, the truth of which has to be established before a Court of competent jurisdiction on the basis of whatever evidence is led at the trial. The accused may be acquitted if the charge is not proved, or if proved, he would be convicted.”