The Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to quash an first information report (FIR) registered against T-series owner Bhushan Kumar by a woman accruing of rape, merely because the victim agreed to quash the same.
A division bench of Justices Ajey Gadkari and PD Naik observed: “Merely because parties are consenting does not mean FIR under section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code should be quashed. We have to see the contents of the FIR, the statements recorded to see if the crime was heinous or not. The relationship (in this case) from the contents does not seem consensual.”
The judges also noted that the victim had given her consent for quashing of the FIR stating that she doesn’t want to proceed with the case due to ‘circumstantial misunderstanding’.
“Contents of (consent) affidavit is not sufficient to quash FIR. Generally under section 376, FIR can be quashed with consent of the complainant. But then that is after the FIR or the affidavit shows that there is a consensual relationship. Here the complainant is only saying she doesn’t want to proceed with the case due to ‘circumstantial misunderstanding’,” added the judges.
Niranjan Mundargi, Kumar’s advocate, submitted that the FIR was registered in July 2021 for an incident that was allegedly happening since 2017. He also informed the court that a “B” summary report had been filed before the concerned Magistrate.
“B Summary” report is where a magistrate classifies the case as maliciously false when there is no evidence or prima facie case against the accused.
A protest petition against the “B” Summary report was filed by a local politician Mallikarjun Pujari claiming he had helped the woman register the FIR, however the woman had granted her consent to close the proceedings.
However, in April 2022, the magistrate rejected the report. Following this Kumar approached the HC.
The judges noted that while refusing the report, the Magistrate had opined that the woman had first set the criminal law in motion and thereafter accepting the closure report furnished an assurance that she had misused the provisions for personal gain and advantage.
The HC also noted that the Magistrate had not recorded the statement of the victim under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code and that the investigation report submitted by the police had factual discrepancies. Hence, the HC refused to quash the FIR.
However, as a matter of last chance, the court kept the matter for hearing in July.
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