The Delhi High Court has closed a 2012 POCSO case registered against a man while noting that the girl, whom he married and whose father had filed the complaint, has “not stated anything against” him and the "exceptional circumstances" of the couple parenting two children whose future depended on the outcome of the FIR.
Case filed by girl's father
The court, which was dealing with a petition by the male to quash the FIR, recorded that the girl had claimed that she had voluntarily accompanied the petitioner and married him and was 19 years of age at the relevant time.
The FIR, which resulted in charges against the petitioner for the alleged offence of kidnapping under IPC and aggravated penetrative sexual assault under POCSO, was registered after the father of the girl reported that she had gone missing in January 2012.
Girl says relationship was consensual; now married, have children
“The parties have been blessed with two children who are 07 years and 05 years respectively. The prosecutrix has not stated anything against the present accused/petitioner either before the police or before the Magistrate,” said Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma in a recent order.
“In the exceptional circumstances as such where the parties are living together since long and have now been blessed with two children who are minor and whose future depends on the outcome of the present FIR, this Court deems it appropriate to quash the present proceedings,” the court opined.
The court observed that while ordinarily such FIRs should not be quashed, the Supreme Court has said in the decision that it is encouraged to quash the FIR in circumstances when a compromise has been achieved.
“Accordingly, an FIR … for offences punishable under Sections 363/366 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 6 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and all consequential proceedings emanating therefrom are quashed,” the court ordered.
Delhi HC: POCSO not meant to criminalise consensual relations
In a landmark ruling last month, the Delhi HC had unequivocally upheld that the intention behind POCSO is to protect children from sexual exploitation but it was never meant to criminalise consensual romantic relationships between young adults.
It, however, cautioned that the nature of the relationship has to be seen from facts and circumstances of each case as the survivor in some cases may face pressure to settle.
(With inputs from PTI)