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The Himachal Pradesh High Court has held that a victim of sexual offence cannot have any locus standi against quashing of FIR for the sexual assault she faced.
Justice Anoop Chitkara, while dismissing the appeal said,
“This court is of the considered belief that the victim of sexual offence cannot have any locus standi to approach a court for quashing of FIR registered for the sexual assault which she had faced.”
A 20-year-old girl, alleged victim of sexual assault, moved a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) for quashing of FIR against the accused, on the pretext that they have now decided to marry.
It was alleged by the victim that once when she was walking on the road, the accused approached her and offered her a lift in his car. After some time, he offered her water and then in the car, made drinks. While the petitioner was taking drinks, the accused had told her that he had made certain videos of her drinking and that he would post the same on Facebook. Following this, he had taken the petitioner somewhere in darkness, threatened her and committed rape upon her.
Substantiating her claims in the petition seeking quashing of FIR, the alleged victim produced the findings of Trial Court, which said,
“That now with the subsequent development of compromise which is a result of the own and free volition of the parties, it would be seen that the trial would be just a futile exercise, involving the valuable time of the Ld. Court besides causing un-easiness in carrying a horse of no use and there is hardly any chance of conviction. The further proceedings in the trial would be unnecessary, without any success of the prosecution. The compromise so arrived is the act of free will and volition, without any pressure or fear.”
The High Court, calling the fact that accused has not been arraigned as a party to the present petition “strange” – dismissed the same on lack of merits.
Additional Advocate General Nand Lal Thakur, assisted by Assistant Advocate General, Mr. Bagga, strongly objected submitting that no liberty should be granted to the accused to file a fresh petition.
Supreme Court Ruling
In Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641, Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud, laid down certain guiding principles of quashing of FIR by the High Courts while exercising powers under Section 482 CrPC.
The bench, inter-alia, had observed, “In the exercise of the power under Section 482 CrPC while dealing with a plea that dispute has been settled, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the offence. Heinous and serious offences involving mental depravity or offences such as murder, rape and dacoity cannot appropriately be quashed though the victim or the family of the victim have settled the dispute. Such offences are, truly speaking, not private in nature but have a serious impact upon society. The decision to continue with the trial in such cases is founded on the overriding element of public interest in punishing persons for serious offences.”
Case Title: S v. State of Himachal Pradesh
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