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Can a case of serious offense like sexual harassment be quashed on the basis of compromise: SC

Supreme Court: The Supreme Court has said that sexual exploitation of a minor is a crime against the society. In such a situation, it has to be seen whether its case can be canceled only on the basis of agreement between both the parties. The court has asked for a detailed hearing on the petition filed against an order of the Rajasthan High Court. In this case, the High Court had quashed the FIR lodged against the teacher accused of indecent act with a minor student belonging to Scheduled Caste.

On January 6 this year, Vimal Kumar Gupta, a teacher at a government school in Sawai Madhopur, was accused of indecent behavior by a class 11 student. After this, he accompanied his father and lodged an FIR in Sadar Police Station, Gangapur City under sections of IPC, POCSO Act and SC/ST Act. The student also made the same statement before the magistrate under section 164 of CrPC. But the police did not arrest the accused.

The accused got an agreement signed with the victim’s girl and family

25 days after the incident, the accused teacher got an agreement written on Rs.500 stamp paper with the victim girl and her family. It was written in it that the complaint was given to the police out of confusion. The villagers had seduced him to complain. Now the complainant party does not want any action. Based on this agreement, the accused filed a petition in the High Court for quashing the FIR. On 4 February 2022, the High Court quashed the FIR on the basis of the power under section 482 of CrPC. The High Court only said that the petitioner should deposit Rs 20,000 with the Legal Services Authority.

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Judges said to hear the case in January

A lawyer from Gangapur City has approached the Supreme Court against this. A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi, during a brief hearing of the case, admitted that it would not be technically correct to hear a third party petition in a criminal matter under Article 32 writ petition. But the judges said that considering the importance of the matter, they would hear it by converting it into a special leave petition under Article 136. The judges have said to hear the matter in January.

How to end crime by compromise

Justice Rastogi said, “A heinous crime is considered a crime against the society. How can two parties sit behind closed doors and settle the case?” Earlier in 2012, in the case of ‘Gyan Singh vs. Government of Punjab’, the Supreme Court has given a decision that the trial of heinous crime cannot end on the basis of settlement. The Supreme Court had held that the High Court has the power to quash the FIR under CrPC 482. But it cannot be used in serious cases on the basis of an agreement between the complainant and the accused.

Also read: SC quashes order asking sexual assault accused to tie rakhi to victim, issues guidelines for lower courts

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