The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court while quashing a rape case against a police constable observed that when there is absolutely no evidence to support the allegation of rape by the applicant and the alleged victim has herself stated in the compromise that the offence was not committed.
A Single Bench of Justice Subhash Vidyarthi passed this order while hearing an application under section 482 filed by Sachin Kumar Singh.
By means of the application filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C the applicant has sought quashing of the entire proceedings of the Complaint Case under Section 376 I.P.C and Section 3 (2) (v) of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, Police Station Sammanpur, District Ambedkar Nagar, pending in the Court of Special Judge, SC/ST Act, Ambedkar Nagar on the ground that the parties have entered into a compromise.
The opposite party no 2 had filed an application under Section 156 (3) Cr.P.C on 13.04.2018 alleging that the applicant is a Police Constable and he came to the complainant’s house on 01.04.2017 at about 11.00 a.m and raped her and thereafter he repetitively raped her on various occasions.
After investigation, the Investigating Officer submitted a final report dated 30.07.2018 stating that a Case under Sections 279, 337, 338, 304-A I.P.C was lodged in Police Station Sammanpur, District Ambedkar Nagar. A police team had gone to arrest the accused persons and recover the stolen vehicle, whereupon some accused persons had resisted them in performance of their official duties.
The Investigating Officer had lodged an F.I.R under Sections 147, 323, 504, 353, 332, 336 I.P.C and Section 7 of Criminal Law Amendment Act and Section 3 (I) (x) of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The complainant works at the brick kiln of one of the accused persons and she had filed the application under Section 156 (3) Cr.P.C on false allegations under his pressure. The incident was not supported by any independent witness.
The opposite party no2 filed a protest petition against the final report, which was accepted by means of an order dated 13.03.2019, passed by the Additional Sessions Judge-II, Ambedkar Nagar and it was registered as a complaint. After recording of the statements under Sections 200 and 202 Cr.P.C the applicant was summoned for trial for offence under Section 376 I.P.C and Section 3 (2) (v) of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 by means of order dated 23.08.2022.
The applicant has sought quashing of the summoning order and the proceedings of the criminal case on the ground that the parties have entered into a compromise on 14.10.2023. The original compromise is annexed with the application under Section 482 Cr.P.C wherein the opposite party no 2 stated that she had lodged the F.I.R due to some misunderstanding, no party was guilty in the matter and both the parties had agreed to get the proceedings quashed by the competent court. It is categorically stated in the compromise that the parties are major and the decision was taken without any fear or coercion. The compromise has been verified before a Notary Public and it has also been signed by the counsel for parties.
The opposite party no 2 has filed a counter affidavit accepting the factum of compromise and supporting the application for quashing of the proceedings.
Anurag Verma, the A.G.A-I appearing on behalf of the State has opposed the application and he has submitted that the case involves allegation of commission of rape which is a heinous offence and in view of the law laid down by the Apex Court in the case of Daxaben Vs The State of Gujarat and others: 2022 SCC OnLine SC 936 the proceedings of such a case cannot be quashed on the basis of a compromise between the parties.
The legal principles which can be culled out from a collective reading of the aforesaid precedents, are that the extraordinary powers of the High Courts under Section 482 Cr.P.C can be invoked beyond the metes and bounds of Section 320 Cr.P.C Such powers ought to be exercised carefully in the context of quashing criminal proceedings, bearing in mind the nature and effect of the offence on the conscience of the society; the seriousness of the injury, if any, the voluntary nature of compromise between the accused and the victim, the conduct of the accused persons and the other relevant considerations. Though the Courts should be slow in quashing the proceedings wherein heinous and serious offences are involved, the High Court is not foreclosed from examining as to whether there is sufficient evidence which may lead to proving the charges. The High Court can quash the proceedings even in cases where the parties have entered into a settlement after conviction. The touchstone for exercising the extraordinary power under Section 482 Cr.P.C would be to secure the ends of justice. There can be no hard and fast rule restricting the powers of the High Court to do substantial justice, as a restrictive construction of inherent powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C may lead to grave injustice.
“When we examine the facts of the case in light of the aforesaid law, what we find is that after registration of the F.I.R pursuant to an application under Section 156 (3) Cr.P.C, the Investigating Officer had found that the allegations levelled by the opposite party no 2 could not be established as no evidence could be collected in support thereof. It was recorded in the final report that the dispute had occurred when a police party had gone to arrest the accused and recover the stolen vehicle in connection with Case. The complainant is an employee of one of the persons accused in that case and she had lodged the F.I.R at the behest of that accused person to put undue pressure on the police persons. In the compromise, the complainant has categorically stated that she had levelled the allegations due to some misunderstanding and the applicant was not guilty.
When there is absolutely no evidence to support the allegation of rape by the applicant and the alleged victim has herself stated in the compromise that the offence was not committed and she had levelled the allegations due to some misunderstanding, that she is major and she had entered into the compromise without any fear or coercion agreeing for quashing of the proceedings after a long drawn full-fledged trial the applicant will surely be acquitted. In such circumstances, the criminal proceedings will only result in persecution of the applicant, as well as the opposite party no 2.
Keeping in view the aforesaid peculiar circumstances of the case, I am of the considered view that the continuance of the proceedings will only be an abuse of the process of law and the proceedings deserve to be quashed”, the Court further observed while allowing the application.
The Court quashed the entire proceedings of the Complaint Case under Section 376 I.P.C and Section 3 (2) (v) of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, Police Station Sammanpur, District Ambedkar Nagar, pending in the Court of Special Judge, SC/ST Act, Ambedkar Nagar.