Complaints of heinous and serious offences cannot be quashed even though the victim or the family of the victim have settled the dispute with the accused: Bombay High Court

The outcome of cases in which there is an involvement of any grave offence and wherein, the case is of such nature that it will have an impact upon the society, then it cannot be disposed of or allowed on the basis of amicable settlement between the victim/ victim’s family and the accused. The judgement was passed by Justice S.S Shinde and Justice N.R Borkar of the Bombay High Court in the case of Rishi Prabha Ranjitkumar Prasad Vs The State of Maharashtra and Ors. [ Cr. W.P. 4330 of 2019].

The Judgement has to be read along with the case of Ranjit Kumar Prasad Vs  The Senior Inspector of Police & Ors. [Cr. W.P 1476 of 2021]. In the instant case, a FIR was filed by Respondent No. 2 (First Informant) against the Petitioner on behalf of a ten year old girl who had been living with the Petitioner and her family as a house help. The victim in this case had informed the respondent about the brutalities inflicted on her by the Petitioner and her husband, on basis of which the FIR was filed under Sections 370 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code and sections 75, 79 and 23 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015., However, the Petitioner, the accused in the FIR had filed a petition seeking quashing of FIR and the complaint made by the Victim’s parents. Even though, initially the victim’s parents and Informant 1, filed the FIR against the Petition, however, later on both of them submitted an affidavit seeking cancellation of their complaint as the FIR was a result of mere misunderstanding.

The Court vehemently opposed the prayer of the petitioners to allow the petition on the basis of alleged compromise between petitioners, parents of victim and the complainant. Relying upon the judgement made in the case of Gian Singh Versus State of Punjab and Anr [(2012) 10 SCC 303], the Court observed that, “In compromise between victim and the offender in relation to the offences under special statutes cannot provide for any basis for quashing criminal proceedings involving such offences and as the instant case involved provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which is a Special Act”. Therefore, the Court decided to dismiss the petition seeking quashing of the complaint made against the petitioner.

The Court also observed that in the exercise of the power under Section 482 and while dealing with a plea that the dispute has been settled, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the offence, the same was decided in the case of State of M.P V. Laxmi Narayan [(2019) 5 SCC 688], relying upon its judgement the Court, thus, rejected the plea and opined that “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.” Therefore, giving importance to the words of the victim and other witnesses, the Court rejected the Petition.

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