Marriage between victim, accused not grounds for quashing case when magnitude of rape is grave: Kerala HC
"Rape is not only a very serious and inhumane offence committed towards the victim, but also causes a very serious impact upon her relatives and the society as a whole," the court observed
KOCHI: In a landmark judgment, the Kerala High Court has observed that when the magnitude of the rape is so grave and heinous to shock the sense of justice, a settlement between the victim and accused and a marriage subsequently between them are not matters for consideration to quash the proceedings against the accused.
"Rape is not only a very serious and inhumane offence committed towards the victim, but also causes a very serious impact upon her relatives and the society as a whole," the court observed.
Justice Shircy V issued the order while dismissing a petition filed by first accused PR Rahul of Kodungallur and second accused Virjin of Eriyad, Thrissur seeking to quash the FIR against them. The prosecution alleged that the petitioners forcibly took the 17-year-old victim to the rental house of the second accused and she was raped by the first accused in 2017. The offence alleged against them is rape and comes under the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
When the case came up for hearing, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the entire matter has been settled between the parties and the victim does not intend to proceed with the case against the petitioners. An affidavit has also been sworn to by her, stating that Rahul has married her under the Special Marriage Act on December 8, 2020, and now they are living together as husband and wife.
"Rape is a very serious offence and it is doubtless that it is not just an offence private in nature but is also an offence towards society. It is worse than murder as a humiliating and horrifying experience is caused to the victim and so it is considered the most heinous, brutal and cruel crime against a woman. When it is towards a child, the gravity is all the more severe and excruciating as it may even lower self-esteem, self-confidence and dignity of the child and the psychic effect and impact can cause a devastating effect on the minor and result in far-reaching consequences," observed the court.
The court said that the Special Act (POCSO Act) itself was enacted to protect children from sexual assault and harassment. The petitioners have no case that the case has been maliciously instituted and they are falsely implicated with an ulterior motive and as such no offence is made out. But only on the basis of the alleged settlement between the parties, the petitioners have sought an order to quash the FIR as well as the final report and further proceedings initiated in the case.
The argument that now the victim has attained the age of majority and is living happily with the accused are not valid grounds or justifiable reasons or decisive factors for consideration to quash the criminal proceedings. The court made it clear that the petitioners have to stand the test of judicial scrutiny and thus face trial before the trial court.