The Bombay High Court last month rejected a petition for quashing of FIR registered against a man who was accused of sexual assault by a TV actress from Delhi.
Division bench comprising of Justice SS Shinde and Justice VG Bisht while giving the order stated that as these were serious allegations against the accused, a restaurant owner from Mumbai, the FIR could not be quashed. Court observed that the accused had lied to the victim about his marital status and committed sexual assault on her multiple times without her consent under the same pretext.
Recently the victim had filed an affidavit in February stating that “as per advice of their elders” both the parties have decided to “amicably settle the dispute between them and move on in their lives for the better future and career.”
According to the victim’s statement to the police in April 2016, she was a resident of Delhi where she was working as an actress. She created a profile on a matrimonial website and received a phone call from the accused in January 2015 expressing interest in her. They started chatting regularly and around mid-January he told her that he would like to marry her. The victim told her parents about the proposal who then told her to ask the accused to come to Delhi. The accused travelled to Delhi but only met the girl while refusing to meet her parents.
Eventually, the accused met with the victim’s parents and expressed his desire to marry their daughter. Around July, he asked the girl her to come to Mumbai and also he offered to get her a job.
The victim came to Mumbai in July itself where accused got her an apartment at Film City. The accused visited her flat sometimes where he had physical intercourse with her without her consent. She frequently asked him about marriage but trying to avoid the issue he used to tell her that he would get work for her in the film line. The victim stated that she did not get any work unlike he had promised.
Thereafter, the victim got pregnant and when she told the accused the same, he asked her to get an abortion. When the victim asked him to marry her instead and refused for abortion, the accused started abusing her and started forcing her to get an abortion. He threatened to throw her out of the house and threatened that he would post her nude photos over social sites to malign the victim. He also took out his revolver pointed it at her ear threatening to blow her brains out if she does not have an abortion.
Thus, the victim got an abortion in Andheri. But after the abortion the accused stopped visiting her flat. Hence, the victim visited the residence of the accused where she found that he was already married.
Thus, a complaint was filed by the victim at Kurar Village Police Station. However later the victim filed an affidavit February 2020, stating that the had decided to amicably settle the dispute between them to move on in their lives for the better future and career.
Advocate Visahl Kanade appeared on behalf of the accused and Dr.Abhinav Chandrachud for the victim. APP SD Shinde appeared on behalf of the State.
On the basis of the affidavit filed on behalf of the victim, counsels for both the petitioner and victim jointly submitted that the FIR and charge-sheet present petition may be quashed.
APP Shinde however vehemently opposed quashing on the ground that the said offences were serious and heinous in nature. He submitted that the alleged offences should not restricted to the individuals as these have impact upon Society as well and hence, in view of the law laid down by Supreme Court in the case of Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab, the prayer for quashing the FIR may be rejected.
While primarily relying on Supreme Court’s judgment in Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab, 2012 the bench also took note of the case namely, State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Laxmi Narayan and ors, 2019.
In Laxmi Naryan, apex court had noted, “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 truly speaking, not private in nature but have a serious impact upon society.”
Thus relying on the same the Court concluded that FIR and charge sheet could not be quashed on the following grounds-
“Firstly, as it is alleged in the FIR, the petitioner had lied about his marital status to the victim
Secondly, it appears from the FIR that, the petitioner had promised to marry her and committed sexual assault on various occasions under the same pretext
Thirdly, he had forced her to get abortion at the gun point. The Investigating Officer has recorded the statement of the Medical Officer and the medical report is also collected. Whether the abortion was at the gun point or otherwise, is a matter for trial and such allegations cannot be dealt with in a summary manner.
Fourthly, the petitioner had taken undue advantage of the victim by promising her employment in the film industry.
Finally, rejecting prayer to quash proceedings the Court held-
“In our considered opinion, the allegations made by the 2nd respondent in the FIR will have to be tested during the trial and it is not possible to accede to the prayer of the petitioner to quash the impugned FIR and charge-sheet. The alleged offences are not individual in nature and quashing of the impugned FIR, chargesheet and pending proceedings on the basis of alleged settlement or on merits is not possible since the alleged offences are not individual in nature and outcome of present proceedings will have impact on Society.”
Read the judgment here: