Karnataka: Victim and accused bury hatchet and marry, HC quashes POCSO, rape charges

The 17-year-old victim had married him after reaching 18 and the couple even had a child while the case was pending in a Sessions Court

PTIUpdated: Wednesday, August 24, 2022, 12:34 PM IST
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Karnataka High Court | Karnataka High Court website

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has quashed criminal proceedings against a 23-year-old man facing charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and rape charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The 17-year-old victim had married him after reaching 18 and the couple even had a child while the case was pending in a Sessions Court.

The HC said the prosecution can "hardly prove the guilt against the petitioner," under the circumstances.

"If the victim is going to turn hostile in a trial at a later point in time and the petitioner gets acquitted of all the offences, the sword of crime would have torn the soul of the accused. It is not the end result that is painful or otherwise, but the process in the criminal justice system that generates such pain," the HC observed.

Ignoring the prosecution's opposition, the HC said it was appropriate to accept the settlement between the parties and terminate the proceedings.

"In the teeth of these facts, glaring enough they are, if the Court would shut its doors to the couple who are married and bringing up the child, the entire proceedings would result in miscarriage of justice," Justice M Nagaprasanna said in a recent judgment.

The father of the victim had filed a complaint in March 2019 that his minor daughter was missing. The girl was found with the accused. Both claimed they had acted consensually. However the girl was only 17 years of age and a case under POCSO was filed against the accused. He was granted bail after being in jail for 18 months.

After his release, the couple married in November 2020. A year later they had a girl child.

In its judgment, the HC noted several Constitutional Courts had closed proceedings against accused during the pendency of the trial after the victim and accused get married.

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