'Don't quash FIRs in rape cases despite settlements'

New Delhi, Jan 5 : Observing that rape is a "heinous and serious offence" that cannot be left to the parties to compromise and settle, the Delhi High Court has said that the FIRs in such cases should not be quashed by the courts.

Justice Sunita Gupta opined that rape is a non-compoundable offence and cannot be treated as "private in nature".

"A compromise entered between the parties cannot be construed as a leading factor based on which lesser punishment can be awarded," the court said in a judgement.

It further added that it is difficult to ensure the genuineness of the compromise between the rape victim and the accused.

The judge said there is a chance that the victim might have been "pressurized by the accused".

"Offence of rape was considered to be one of the heinous and serious offences which is not private in nature but has a serious impact on society and therefore despite the fact that the parties have settled the disputes, the court should not exercise its inherent jurisdiction for quashing of the FIR in such cases," the judge said.

"To avoid unnecessary harassment to the victim, it would not be safe to quash the FIRs on the ground that parties in rape cases have compromised," Justice Gupta said in the judgment delivered Dec 16 but only made available now due to the court holidays.

The court's order came while dismissing a plea filed by a rape accused to quash the FIR against him as he has married the victim.

Refusing to entertain the plea filed by accused Mayank Pandey, Justice Gupta said it will be for the trial court to decide whether the accused should be charged with rape or not.

She directed Pandey to make his submissions before the trial court.

The police had opposed Pandey's plea, saying the offence was serious in nature and the FIR cannot be quashed even if the victim has settled the dispute with the accused.

According to police, Pandey and the victim came to know each other while working in a pharmaceutical company. Later, they started dating. In 2011, the couple developed a physical relationship.

About a year later, Mayank started sexually assaulting the victim. The victim became pregnant in Feb 2012. After he came to know about this, the accused started beating the victim due to which she miscarried in May 2012.

The victim filed a complaint at the Malviya Nagar police station in March 2013, following which Pandey was arrested. Two days after getting bail in the case, Pandey married the victim with the consent of both the families.

While the chargesheet has already been filed in the case, the high court has left it to the discretion of the trial court to decide whether Pandey's plea to quash the FIR can be granted or not.

--IANS (Posted on 05-01-2014)

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