Child Sexual Abuse Cases Under The POCSO Act Cannot Be Dismissed Through A Compromise Between The Involved Parties: Allahabad High Court

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Case Title: Sanjeev Kumar vs State

A single bench of Justice Samit Gopal of the Allahabad High Court while hearing a plea challenging summons and cognisance orders and seeking a stay on criminal proceedings against the accused under Sections 376 (rape) and 313 (non consensual miscarriage) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as Sections 3 and 4 of the POCSO Act,  ruled that the cases of child abuse under the POCSO Act cannot be dismissed solely on the basis of a settlement between the accused and the prosecutrix (the victim).

Merely because, the minor prosecutrix has later on agreed to enter into a compromise with the applicant, would not be sufficient to quash the proceedings. Since the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act), 2012 is a Special Act, therefore, in view of the provisions of Sections 375 Sixthly of IPC, the consent of the prosecutrix is material. Thus, this Court is of the considered opinion that the prosecution of the accused for offence under Sections 3/4 of POCSO Act, 2012 cannot be quashed merely on the ground that the prosecutrix has compromised the matter with the accused.”

The accused petitioned the High Court, arguing that following the filing of the First Information Report (FIR), the investigation’s conclusion, and the subsequent summoning of the accused by the trial court for the purported offenses, a mutual agreement had been reached between the involved parties. Consequently, the ongoing case should be settled based on this agreement.

The advocate appearing on behalf of the state submitted that the accusation against the accused centered on subjecting the victim to sexual assault over three years.

The victim was at the age of 15 years at the time of the alleged offense.

It was contended that the petition should be rejected, citing that a compromise in a case of this kind is not admissible.

The Court referenced a Supreme Court ruling stating that in cases where the accused is being tried for an offense punishable under a special statute, the prosecution cannot be nullified based on a compromise.

Moreover, the court underscored that once an offense is proven against the accused, irrespective of the victim’s consent, the prosecution cannot be dismissed solely due to a subsequent compromise by the victim.

While refusing to allow the plea, the bench said “It is, thus clear that where the accused is facing trial for the offence of rape, then the factum of compromise under no circumstances can be of any help to him. They are crimes against the body of a woman. The honour of a woman cannot be put to stake by compromise or settlement,” 

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