Vishnu vs. State of Kerala
Date of Order:
24th May, 2023
Hon’ble Dr. Justice Kauser Edappagath
Respondent: State of Kerala
The High Court of Kerala in this case addressed the petition filed on the issue that - Can a compromise between the accused and the victim serve as a basis to dismiss criminal proceedings for non-compoundable sexual acts against women and children by using section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. However, the petition is dismissed by the Court mentioning that, in the case of heinous and serious crimes like murder or rape; the proceedings should not be terminated based only on a settlement.
The Constitution of India, 1949
- Article 226
- Article 142
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989
- Article 3.1
Indian Penal Code, 1860
- Section 307
- Section 376
- Section 377
- Section 354
- Section 380
- Section 417
- Section 420
- Section 375
- Section 90
- Section 363
- Section 313
- Section 498A
- Section 34
- Section 511
The Prohibition of the Child Marriage Act, 2006
- Section 10
Information Technology Act, 2000
- Section 66E
- Section 67A
Indian Contract Act, 1872
- Section 23
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
- Section 3(c)
- Section 7
- Section 5(1)
- Section 4
- Section 6
- Section 11
- Section 8
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
- Section 2(9)
- Section 23
The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
- Section 482
- Section 320
- There are multiple cases heard by the bench under the aforesaid name. The petitioners in all cases are the accused involved in sexual offences, which are the offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 or under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and the aforementioned provisions.
- All the petitioners seek to quash the proceeding against them on the ground that what if they would have settlement with the victim.
- Can a compromise between the accused and the victim serve as a basis to dismiss criminal proceedings for non-compoundable sexual acts against women and children by using section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure?
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE PETITIONERS
- The Learned Counsel on the behalf of the petitioners’ makes the point that, even in circumstances involving sexual offences, the High Court has inherent power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) to quash a FIR or criminal prosecution if the perpetrator and the victim have reconciled.
- They assert that if a dispute has been resolved peacefully, the victim would not support the prosecution's case and there would be little chance of a conviction. They contend that extending the case's procedures would be a waste of the court's time and public money.
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT
- The learned Public Prosecutors contend that compromise between the victim and the perpetrator should not be used as justification for dismissing criminal proceedings since rape or sexual offences against women or children are horrendous crimes against society.
- According to them, permitting concessions in these situations would legitimize rape and provide the offenders a means of escape.
- However, they concur that it cannot be entirely prohibited to use the exceptional authority granted to the High Court by Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code to halt criminal proceedings based on a settlement in circumstances where it would serve the interests of justice.
- The Court refers to various previous court decisions on the issue related to the case. The Supreme Court has ruled that even in cases where an offence is not compoundable, Section 320 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which addresses compounding offences, has no bearing on the High Court's authority to halt criminal proceedings or a FIR under Section 482.
- The court has acknowledged that in the right circumstances, agreements between the accused and the victim can be taken into consideration to uphold the law.
- However, the nature and seriousness of the offence should be taken into account; in the case of heinous and serious crimes like murder or rape, the proceedings should not be terminated based only on a settlement. Therefore, the petition for the quashing cannot be allowed.
In criminal proceedings, compromises between the accused and the victim may be taken into account, but their relevance is dependent on the kind and seriousness of the offence. Although settlements should not be the justification for dismissing cases involving heinous and violent crimes like murder or rape, the High Court does have the authority to terminate proceedings under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Justice should always be sought for, and women's and children's rights and welfare should always come first.