On October 8, 2020 a single judge bench of Justice Manju Rani Chauhan of the Allahabad High Court set aside the order passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Hathras in State v Khajan Singh and Others and quashed the rape case against the applicant. The applicant was represented by counsels Pankaj Sharma and Prashant Sharma and the Additional Government Advocate appeared for the State of Uttar Pradesh.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Hathras had rejected the plea to close the case on the ground that he does not have jurisdiction to pass order in such compromise in non-compoundable offences. The charges levied against the appellant were kidnapping, abducting to induce a woman into marriage and sexual assault under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code registered by the victim’s father in the Hathras Police Station in 2007. The applicant then approached the Allahabad High Court under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to challenge the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate dated February 14, 2019.
Section 482 of the CrPC lays down that “Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.” This provision empowers the High Court to exercise its inherent jurisdiction to secure the ends of justice and to prevent abuse of the process of any Court as per the Apex Court ruling in Gian Singh v State of Punjab (2012) 10 SCC 303.
The bench acknowledged that the parties stated that are married and have “settled” the dispute so “Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, as noted herein above, and also the submissions made by the counsel for the parties, the court is of the considered opinion that no useful purpose shall be served by prolonging the proceedings of the above mentioned criminal case as the parties have already settled their dispute.”
In a case viewed with a similar gaze, a Division Bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre quashed the FIR registered by the woman in 2018 against the man on charges of rape and cheating under Sections 376 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code, respectively, at a police station in Mumbai. In 2019, the couple approached the Bombay High Court and submitted that they had subsequently been counselled by their “family members and well-wishers” into resolving the dispute “amicably” according to a Business Standard report.
“They got married on January 19, 2019, under the provisions of Special Marriage Act, 1954. They placed on record a certificate of marriage. They state that they are married and residing together as husband and wife. Looking from the angle of welfare of respondent no. 2 (the victim woman), who is now married to the petitioner, it would be just and proper to end the prosecution against the petitioner,” the Bench said while quashing the FIR.
The Supreme Court through the Division Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari in Saju PR v State of Kerala and others (Cri App No. 1740 of 2019) had also quashed the FIR on the ground of settlement between the accused and the victim for doing complete justice to the parties concerned.
These orders stand in contravention of a 2015 Supreme court ruling authored by Justice Dipak Misra in State of Madhya Pradesh v Madanlal (Cri App No. 231 of 2015) where it held that “in a case of rape or attempt of rape, the conception of compromise under no circumstances can really be thought of.” Despite an Apex Court ruling of such nature, some High Courts continue to use their inherent powers under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to quash rape FIR’s, especially when the parties enter into matrimonial alliances.
The order may be read here: