The power of Section 482 CrPC: Why the Delhi High Court quashed an FIR with rape, POCSO Act charges

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The Delhi High Court recently quashed a first information report (FIR) filed for rape and offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act using its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) [Kundan and anr. v State and Ors].

Justice Subramonium Prasad stated that the Court was inclined to quash the FIR and proceedings given the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case.

As per the facts of the case, the father of a minor girl had in 2019 filed a missing persons complaint alleging that the petitioner, then 18 years old, had kidnapped his then 16-year-old daughter. After the FIR was lodged, the mother of the petitioner handed over the girl to her parents. The girl gave a statement to the police that she had married the petitioner and was seven months pregnant. On the basis of her statement, charges of rape and POCSO Act offences were added to the FIR.

After the petitioner was granted bail, he and the girl performed a formal wedding ceremony in the presence of friends and family. Soon thereafter, the girl delivered a baby boy.

In this background, and in light of the fact that the father of the girl had accepted their marriage, the petitioner approached the High Court seeking quashing of the FIR.

In his order, Justice Prasad noted that Section 482 gives inherent powers to the High Court to prevent the abuse of the process of law and more particularly, to secure the ends of justice. While stating that High Courts must ordinarily show restrain in quashing FIRs for offences under Sections 376 IPC and the POCSO Act, he noted,

“The victim/Petitioner No.2 has stated in her 164 statement that she was in love with the Petitioner No.1 and she eloped with him out of her own volition. It is stated they got married in a temple in Uttar Pradesh on the very next day and the Petitioner No.2/victim has given birth to a baby boy. The families of the Petitioners No.1 & 2 have accepted the marriage.”

Considering the fact that the lives of the couple and their child would be ruined if the criminal proceedings against the petitioner were to continue, the Court asked the public prosecutor if she would have any objections if it exercised its jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC to quash the FIR.

“Learned APP for the State very fairly and taking humanitarian approach stated that she has no objections if the instant FIR is quashed,” the Court noted.

In this light, the FIR was quashed.

Advocate Vipul Lamba appeared for the petitioner. Assistant Public Prosecutor Meenakshi Dahiya appeared for the State.

Read Order here

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