The Bombay High Court recently rejected a writ petition to quash all charges against the accused even after the accused and the victim had reached a mutual settlement.
Facts Of The Case
The victim worked as an artist in TV serials in Delhi since 2015. The victim in her FIR had alleged that the present petitioner who hailed from Mumbai had contacted her after viewing her profile at shaadi.com in January 2015. They remained in regular contact thereafter and by mid-January, he informed her that he is unmarried and expressed his wish to marry her.
He visited her in Delhi on 27th January 2015 but refused to meet her parents. They remained in regular contact over phone calls, messages and Whatsapp texts and the petitioner visited her and her parents again in March 2015.
He thereafter called her to Mumbai on the pretext of marriage and also promised to arrange work for her in the film line. The petitioner rented a flat at Ridhi Garden for the victim and showing the illusions of marriage had intercourse with her without consent. In January 2016, the victim informed the petitioner that she was pregnant. The petitioner then asked her to get an abortion and when refused, he threatened to throw her out of the house and that he will leak her nude pictures on social media.
It was also alleged that the petitioner pointed his revolver at the victim’s ear and threatened to blow her brains if she refused to get an abortion. After the abortion, the petitioner visits to the victim’s house became less frequent and he was always unavailable to take her calls. It was then that the victim inquired at his office address in Kurla and discovered that the petitioner was married.
Thereafter, she filed a complaint against him. However, on 7th February 2020, the victim filed an affidavit stating that both of them have decided to settle the dispute amicably as per the advice of their elders and that she wished to withdraw her complaint. Based on the said affidavit, the petitioner had requested the court to jointly quash the FIR and charge-sheet filed against him.
Arguments before the Court
The learned APP had vehemently opposed the prayer of the petitioner stating that the alleged offences are extremely grave and serious. He cited Gian Singh vs. the State of Punjab (2012) 10 SCC 303 and submitted that the alleged offences are not restricted to an individual but have a larger negative impact on the whole of the society.
The Hon’ble High Court rejected the alleged settlement and consent terms arrived at between the parties and refused to quash the FIR and charge-sheet against the petitioner. They held that the nature of the alleged offences, in particular, Section 376 of IPC, 1860 are grave and heinous. They stated that
“the Supreme Court in Gian Singh’s case had held that heinous and serious offences of mental depravity, murder, rape, dacoity etc cannot be quashed even though victim or victim’s family and the offender have settled the dispute. Such offences are not private and have a serious impact on society.”
The same view was also reiterated in State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Laxmi Narayan and ors, 2019 (5) SCC 688. Further, they held that the petitioner had not informed the victim of his marital status and abused her on the pretext of marriage and a false promise of providing her with a job. Among all of these, the most serious allegation seemed to be forcing the victim to get an abortion at gunpoint. They also considered the statements of the Investigating Officer and the Medical Officer. Appreciating all the above, they held that it prima facie appeared that the victim’s affidavit was not free from coercion and as such the allegations made have to be tested during a trial. Hence, the petition stood rejected.
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