Kerala High Court: Moral policing crimes cannot be quashed on grounds of settlement

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The Kerala High Court has held that cases registered in connection with moral policing cannot be quashed on the grounds of having reached a settlement between the accused and the complainant.

Justice K. Haripal made the observation recently while dismissing a petition filed by 10 accused persons seeking to quash a criminal case registered against them for attacking one Sanal from Kasaragod for taking a woman from a particular community in a car in 2017. He was attacked near the Thalangara old harbour and later near the Malik Deenar Hospital, Kasaragod.

Rejecting the plea of the accused, Muhammed Nazar, and nine others for quashing the case, the court observed that in the Gian Singh case, the Supreme Court had laid down guidelines while considering application for quashing proceedings on the grounds of settlement between the parties, invoking jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

It had held that serious offences such murder, rape, dacoity and so on or other offences of mental depravity under the Indian Penal Code or offences of moral turpitude under special statutes could not be considered for quashing on the grounds of settlement.

The court further observed that the petitioners “are doing moral policing. That means this is an offence involving mental depravity. Moreover, a brutal attack was unleashed against an unarmed single person that caused him serious injuries”.

The court noted that it was a case in which a violent mob attacked a person ostensibly for no reason. The reason shown was that he had driven around a woman from another community in the car. If such a case was allowed to be quashed on the grounds of settlement, that would send a wrong message to the public.

The court also pointed out that some of the petitioners were fugitive criminals with grave criminal antecedents. In the circumstances, the alleged settlement reached with Sanal by the accused “cannot be reckoned ‘‘ for quashing the proceedings under Section 482 of the CrPC.

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