HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad High Court has made it clear that mere refusal by the father to perform the marriage of his son (accused) with a girl (victim) towards whom the latter made sexual advances, will not attract the offence of abetment of offences under IPC. Therefore, continuation of criminal proceedings against the accused will amount to abuse of the process of law, the court has held.
Justice U Durga Prasad Rao made these observations while dealing with a petition filed by the son (A1) and the father (A2) seeking quashing of the proceedings in a criminal case registered against them at the Salur Rural police station in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh.
As per the case details, the police had earlier registered an FIR against the father and the son under various sections of IPC based on a report given by the de facto complainant. The allegations are that the son (A1) went behind the de facto complainant in the guise of loving her and had repeated sexual intercourse with her on the false promise of marrying her and ultimately she became pregnant.
After knowing this news, her parents took up the matter with some elders. The youth denied any responsibility and his father refused to heed the advice of the elders and refused to marry off his son to the girl (complainant) on the ground that they belonged to different castes.
Even while the investigation was in progress, the accused moved the High Court seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings against them. Denying the allegations, the counsel for the petitioners (A1 and A2) submitted that a false case had been filed to implicate them. Even if the allegations in the FIR were accepted to be true, still the offence under Section 376 of IPC (punishment for rape) would not apply to A1. So far as A2 (father) is concerned, absolutely no case is made out against him because he is not responsible for the alleged false promise made by his son (A1) to the girl (complainant). Therefore, his abetting any of the offences did not arise merely because he refused to perform their marriage, he argued.
On the other hand, the public prosecutor argued that there was overwhelming evidence of A1 having made overtures under the guise of love and, with the false promise of marrying, obtained her consent, which is not a consent in the eye of law ,and made her pregnant. Therefore, the offences under Sections 417 (punishment for cheating) and 376 of IPC were very much maintainable against A1. Since A2 supported A1 and refused to perform the marriage, he was liable for abetment of the offences committed by A1, the public prosecutor argued and sought dismissal of the petition.
After hearing both the sides and perusing the material on record, the judge said that there was a strong prima facie material against A1 for the offences under Sections 417 and 376 of IPC and, therefore, the question of quashing the proceedings against him did not arise.
With regard to A2 (father) who was charged for the offence under Section 109 of IPC (punishment for abetment), the judge found that the main accusation against him was that he refused to perform the marriage of his son with the girl (complainant) when elders convened a panchayat. Except that, it was not the case of the prosecution that A2 had, in any manner, instigated or intentionally aided A1 to move with the complainant and to have sexual intercourse with her. Even the statements of the witnesses did not show that the parents knew about the latter’s movements with the complainant. As such, it cannot be said that A2 had either instigated or intentionally aided A1 or conspired with some others to see that his son had sexual intercourse with the complainant on the false promise of marriage. In fact, A1 was a major as per the FIR. So, in the matter of marriage of A1, the father cannot legally prevail, the judge observed.
While allowing the petition partly, the judge quashed the criminal proceedings so far as father (A2) was concerned and directed that the investigation must be continued to its logical end so far as A1 is concerned. “In the considered view of the Court, continuation of the proceedings against A2 will amount to abuse of process of law and hence liable to be quashed,” the judge said.
A youth courted a girl, had sexual relationship with her promising to marry her and made her pregnant. But the father refused to heed elders’ advice to marry his son off to the girl. Salur Rural police in Vizianagarm district of AP filed an FIR making him Accused No.2 and his son Accused No.1.