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Parents cannot compromise dignity of child by an agreement in POCSO Act case

Parents cannot compromise dignity of child by an agreement in POCSO Act case

Surinder Kumar Vs State of Haryana

Punjab and Haryana HC


CRM-M- 3397-2021

About/from the judgment:

The High Court refused to quash a First Information Report (FIR) registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act on the basis of a compromise effected by the parents of the victim.

The Court found that an agreement entered into by a child or her parents that compromised the child's dignity could not be raised to a status where it defeated the very object of the Act.

"Parents cannot be allowed to compromise the dignity of a child by an agreement. Where ever and whenever in a society governed by rule of law the question will arise: who will protect from the protector? The only and obvious answer will be-LAW," the order stated.

The Court was hearing a plea filed to quash the FIR in the case on the ground that the accused had come to a compromise with the parents of the victim. The accused was charged under Sections 452 (house trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrong­ful restraint) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, Section 3 of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and Section 8 (punishment for sexual assault) of the POCSO Act.

Essentially, the question before the single judge was whether an FIR registered for offences punishable under the POCSO Act could be quashed on the basis of a compromise.

Discussing the aim of the POCSO Act in light of the Constitution, the Court stated it was the duty of the State to make sure children are not abused, and that their childhood and youth are protected against exploitation.

"The Preamble of the Act further declares sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children as a heinous crime which need to be effectively addressed," the Court recorded.

The Court also cited the apex court judgment in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Laxmi Narayan and others, in which it was held that courts, before quashing proceedings in criminal cases had to consider the following:

"(i) Nature and effect of the offence on the conscious of the society; (ii) Seriousness of the injury, if any; (iii) Voluntary nature of compromise between the accused and the victim; & (iv) Conduct of the accused persons, prior to and after the occurrence of the purported offence and/or other relevant considerations."

Finding that the offence in the present case was of a heinous nature, the Court found that it was not a fit case for quashing proceedings.

It was further held that the power under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) could not be exercised to defeat the purpose of an enactment which was brought into force in order to discharge a constitutional mandate and an obligation arising out of international conventions.

“Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of this innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future”, the order stated quoting Italian educator Maria Montessori.

With this, the Court refused to quash the FIR. Additionally, the trial court was directed to expedite the trial, and preferably conclude it within six months.

Read the Judgment


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