Karnataka HC Refuses To Quash Case Against Accused Who Married Rape Survivor

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Rape accused marries survivor, but Karnataka HC refuses to quash case: The Karnataka High Court declined to quash charges of rape against an accused after he married the survivor. The woman was a minor at the time of the alleged rape. The High Court said that in a criminal proceeding where there is a rape of a minor and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act involved, the court will not exercise its right to quash a case.

Both the accused and the survivor had approached the Kalaburagi bench of the High Court to seek quashing of the case. The duo wanted the proceedings by a special court at Basavana Bagewadi in Vijayapura district to end and the accused to be freed of all charges. They alleged that the accused had married the survivor and they had a child together.

High Court Justice HP Sandesh refused to take the action under section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which allows the judge to quash the criminal proceedings against the accused.  The court cited a Supreme Court judgement in one Gian Singh case and said that section 482 is different from section 320 (causing grievous hurt) of the CrPC wherein a criminal court can quash cases after “it has been settled”.

In the Gian Singh case, the Apex Court held that in serious crimes like murder, rape, dacoity etc. the proceedings cannot be quashed even if the survivor or survivor’s family have settled the dispute with the accused.

Justice HP Sandesh said, “Before exercising power under section 482 of CrPC, the high court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the crime and social impact.”

He added that in this case the accused has committed rape against a minor girl and the Apex Court had said that in cases of a serious offence such as rape, the court cannot exercise power under section 482 of CrPC.

The court also said that if the girl is a minor at the time of the alleged incident, it does not matter if she had given the consent or not.

While arguing for the release of the accused from all charges, the survivor claimed that she was an adult when the incident took place, she cited that she was 19 years old, thus not a minor. To this, the court said that it need to be adjudicated at the trial court and the high court will not consider it.

Justice Sandesh, by making this decision, refused to follow the judgements made on January 8, 2020, in the case of Vijaya Kumar Vs State of Madanayakanahally Police, in which the judge had quashed all criminal proceedings against the accused as he and the survivor filed a joint affidavit stating that they were married.

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