NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has ruled that criminal proceedings in grave offences like rape and murder cannot be quashed despite the victim and the accused reaching a compromise and coming to an amicable settlement.
A Bench comprising Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice N V Ramana, however, said proceedings in other offences, which were not related to public peace or tranquillity and confined to two individuals or groups, can be quashed after the parties reach a compromise.
“...the High Court can exercise its discretion to quash the proceedings depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. Offences which involve moral turpitude, grave offences like rape, murder etc. cannot be effaced by quashing the proceedings because that will have harmful effect on the society,” the Bench said.
The court said that grave offences cannot be said to be restricted to two individuals or two groups and quashing of such offences may send wrong signals to the society.
“However, when the High Court is convinced that the offences are entirely personal in nature and, therefore, do not affect public peace or tranquillity and where it feels that quashing of such proceedings on account of compromise would bring about peace and would secure ends of justice, it should not hesitate to quash them,” the Bench said.
It said in such cases (where parties compromise), the prosecution becomes a lame prosecution and pursuing it would be a waste of time and energy. The court passed the verdict on a bunch of petitions filed by various convicts seeking quashing of proceedings against them on the ground that they have reached amicable settlement with the victims.
Meanwhile, a sexual harassment complaint has been filed against two student’s union leaders of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
The complaint was filed with the university’s Gender Sensitisation Committee against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) against JNU Student’s Union president Akbar Chawdhary and joint secretary Sarfaraz Hamid on July 24.
The issue came to light on Monday after the two student leaders put up posters in the university premises, denying charges of sexual harassment.
“We would like to inform the student community that a complaint has been filed with the GSCASH against us. We were informed of this on July 24 and were shocked by it,” a joint statement released by Chawdhary and Hamid said.
“If GSCASH takes up the complaint for enquiry, we will step down from our posts and our organisation and cooperate fully with the enquiry,” it said.
Meanwhile, members of the GSCASH remained tight-lipped on the issue.