The Gauhati High Court has quashed criminal proceedings against a ‘rape accused’ who later married the ‘Victim’. Justice N. Chaudhury observed that chances of conviction in the case is bleak in view of the compromise between the parties and marriage and hence no useful purpose is likely to be served by allowing a criminal prosecution to continue.
In 2011, the mother of the ‘victim’ (who was a minor aged 16) had filed complaint against the ‘accused’ alleging that he entered into her house during her absence and had sexual intercourse with her minor daughter against her will. Before the Police filed Charge sheet in 2012, the ‘accused’ married the ‘victim’. The ‘accused’ moved High Court praying for quashing of Charge sheet against him.
The Court observed: “The victim was 16 years old at the time the offence was allegedly committed. The perpetrator of the alleged offence and the victim both profess the faith of Islam and under such circumstances, at that stage, the victim was legally of marriageable age in terms of Mohammadan Law.” Referring to Apex Court dictum in Madhavrao Jiwaji Rao Scindia and another –versus- Sambhajirao Chandrojirao Angre (AIR 1988 SC 709) that a proceeding may be quashed, if the chances of an ultimate conviction are bleak and, therefore, no useful purpose is likely to be served by allowing a criminal prosecution to continue, the Court said: “This is because otherwise the parties and the witnesses will be dragged to Court and process of the Court will be abused for no purpose.
When the parties have already entered into compromise, even if they are dragged to Court as witnesses, there is every likelihood of their turning back from the allegations and in that event, the learned Court will be left with no other alternative but to acquit the accused person. In that event, there will be unnecessary engagement of valuable judicial time and so taking a practical view of the matter, it appears to be proper to accept the reality and to put an end to the ongoing litigation.” The Court further observed: “The victim has become an adult in the meantime.
She has been happily residing with the petitioner as his legally married wife with a child in her lap. Under the given circumstances, the ends of justice will demand that they should be left at their will and their otherwise happy marital life should not be allowed to be disturbed by the interfering clouds of litigations looming over their heads. In that view of the matter, since chances of conviction in the case is bleak in view of the compromise between the parties and marriage between the petitioner and the opposite party No.3, no useful purpose shall be served by dragging them to Court anymore and to compel the witnesses to come at the expense of the valuable judicial time.” It was only a year ago, the Supreme Court held that case of rape or attempt of rape, the conception of compromise under no circumstances can really be thought of.
The Madras High Court order, which it later recalled (in view of the Apex Court judgment), suggesting mediation in a rape case, had created huge outrage across the country. In September 2015, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had quashed the FIR under Sections 376/506/120B of Indian Penal Code, against accused persons on the ground that the matter has been compromised and that one of the accused had married the victim. Earlier this year, the Delhi High Court had reduced sentence of rape convict to period already he underwent in custody, because he married the victim.