Supreme Court to decide on a victim-accused compromise
Can POSCO cases be quashed citing amicable settlement?
The Supreme Court has issued a notice on an appeal moved by the State of Kerala against a Kerala High Court order, which had quashed the proceedings under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, citing settlement between the victim and the accused.
The top court would decide whether cases under the POCSO Act could be nullified solely on a compromise between the victim and the accused.
A division bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Abhay S Oka issued notice on a Special Leave Petition (SLP) moved by the State of Kerala against an order of the Kerala High Court.
The accused was booked under the POCSO Act for touching the cheeks of the victim and kissing her on the forehead.
The Kerala High Court recorded the affidavit filed by the victim stating that an amicable settlement had been arrived upon between her and the accused. The victim said that she had no objection to cancelling the criminal proceedings against the accused.
However, the State of Kerala argued that the quashing of the criminal proceedings under the POCSO Act against the accused, solely on the basis of a compromise between the victim and accused, could not be allowed in view of a previous decision of the Supreme Court.
In that case, the Supreme Court had held, "In the exercise of the power under Section 482 and while dealing with a plea that the dispute has been settled, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the offence.
"Heinous and serious offences involving mental depravity or offences such as murder, rape and dacoity cannot appropriately be quashed though the victim or the family of the victim have settled the dispute. Such offences are not private in nature but have a serious impact on the society."