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Posted at: May 28, 2016, 12:42 AM; last updated: May 28, 2016, 12:42 AM (IST)

Can’t quash rape FIR on basis of compromise alone: HC

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27

In a judgment that will change the way rape cases culminate after settlement between the parties, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that quashing an FIR on the basis of compromise was not justified.

The judgment by the special Bench for “cases relating to crime against women” came in a case where the accused developed physical relations with the complainan girl on the pretext of marriage. The girl, subsequently, furnished an affidavit that the FIR for rape and other offences was registered due to a misunderstanding.

On the petition by the accused for quashing the FIR on the basis of compromise, Justice Daya Chaudhary asserted the offence of rape under Section 376, IPC, was non-compoundable. As such, it could not be quashed simply by stating that the FIR was registered due to some misunderstanding.

“Whether any assurance was given or not, or there was consent or not, cannot be considered at this stage as the same is a matter of evidence. In an offence of a serious nature like the present one, quashing the FIR on the basis of compromise is not justified as the offence of rape is such, which not only casts stigma on the reputation of a girl but spoils her future prospects as well”.

Justice Chaudhary added the registration of an FIR also caused “great harm” to the accused even if a false case was registered by the complainant and mutual consent led to physical relations.

The development is significant as the courts, more often than not, do not discourage compromise. One of the factors considered while deciding an FIR quashing plea based on settlement was whether acquittal was the obvious fallout in the case of a continued trial.

In her detailed order, Justice Chaudhary asserted the accused could be acquitted after considering the evidence in case the complainant did not support the prosecution case. But to quash the FIR in a non-compoundable offence at the current stage on the basis of compromise would only send an adverse message to society.

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