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Even for the crime of rape, punishable under Section 376 of the IPC, closing proceedings on the basis of a settlement reached between the parties is permissible: Karnataka High Court

The decision that even for the crime of rape, punishable under Section 376 of the IPC, closing proceedings on the basis of a settlement reached between the parties is permissible and hence the proceedings against four people pending as a result of a complaint filed by a woman from the same family should be invalidated is upheld by the High Court of Karnataka through the learned bench led by HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE M. NAGAPRASANNA in the case of SRI SATHISH K. & ORS. VERSUS STATE OF KARNATAKA AND ANR. (CRIMINAL PETITION No.4172 OF 2022).

FACTS OF THE CASE– The complainant is the 2nd respondent i.e. Smt. Shivagami V.  On the basis of a complaint filed by her on February 16, 2022, a FIR was filed on February 17, 2022, for the offence punishable under Section 376 of the IPC against petitioner No.1/accused No.1 and other charges against other accused. The issue does not concern the merits of the case. During the pendency of these procedures, the parties to the lis – petitioner No. 1, the complainant, and all other accused – reached an agreement and presented it to the Court in the form of an affidavit. A joint memo and an application under Section 483 read with Section 320 of the Cr.P.C. have also been filed with the Court, requesting that the alleged offences be compounded. The learned High Court Government Pleader objected to the quashing of proceedings against the petitioners based on a settlement reached between the parties because the offence is punished under Section 376 of the IPC.

The learned counsel for the petitioners, SRI MOHAN KUMAR D., relied on many judgements from the Apex Court, High Court of Karnataka itself, and other High Courts to support his argument that the proceedings might be terminated if a settlement is reached, even if the offence is criminal under Section 376 of the IPC. The cases that he relied on are, PRASHANT BHARTIYA v. STATE OF DELHI(Crl.A.No.708 of 2021 decided on 30-07-2021), K.DHANDAPANI v. THE STATE BY THE INSPECTOR OF POLICE(Crl.A.No.796 of 2022 decided on 9-05-2022), V.PRABHU v. STATE OF KARNATAKA AND ANOTHER (Crl.P. No.8754 of 2021 decided on 19-01-2022), H.S.CHANDAN v. STATE OF KARNATAKA AND ANOTHER (Criminal Petition No.1111 of 2022 c/w Criminal Petition 1116 of 2022 decided on 15-02-2022), LALIT KUMAR VATS v. STATE OF NCT OF DELHI AND ANOTHER (Crl. M.C.No.2384 of 2020 decided on 4.12.2020).

The court observed that even for the crime of rape, punishable under Section 376 of the IPC, closing proceedings on the basis of a settlement reached between the parties is permissible.  Referring to the victim’s affidavit, the bench stated that with respect to the Apex Court’s and Karnataka High court’s judgments, as well as the peculiar facts of this case, where the complainant is said to have married and is leading her life with another man within the family itself, and the accused being members of the same family, it is deemed appropriate by the judges to accept the application seeking compounding of the aforesaid offences and terminate the proceedings against the petitioners.

JUDGEMENT– The judge quashed the proceedings against the four accused persons.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY- ATIVA GOSWAMI

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