Offences under POCSO Act cannot be set aside on basis of compromise: Allahabad HC

Prayagraj, 9 Apr: Declining to quash the proceedings initiated under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Allahabad High Court has held that the offences lodged under the Act cannot be set aside solely on the basis of a compromise between the accused and the prosecutrix victim.
Dismissing a petition filed by one Sanjeev Kumar, an accused under POCSO Act, Justice Samit Gopal observed, “Once the consent of the minor prosecutrix victim is immaterial for registration of offence, then such consent shall still remain immaterial for all practical purposes at all the stages including for compromise.”
The court further added, “Merely because the minor prosecutrix has later on agreed to enter into a compromise with the applicant, (it) would not be sufficient to quash the proceedings under the POCSO Act.”
The accused petitioner had sought setting aside of summoning and cognisance orders as well as seeking a stay on criminal proceedings going on before the special judge, POCSO Act, at Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh) against the accused under sections 376 (rape), 313 (causing miscarriage without women’s consent) and other sections of the IPC and 3/4 of the POCSO Act, which was earlier lodged at the Bilariganj police station of the Azamgarh district.
The accused had moved this court on the ground that after the lodging of the FIR, the conclusion of the investigation and summoning of the applicant by the trial court for the alleged offences, a compromise had been entered into between the parties and hence, the pending case be decided in terms of the said compromise. The counsel for the opposite party, the victim girl, also supported the petition of the accused.
On the other hand, opposing the plea of the accused-applicant, the counsel for the state submitted that the accusations against the accused revolved around allegedly subjecting the victim to sexual assault over a period of three years, with the victim being approximately 15 years old during the commission of the alleged offence.
It was also contended that since the victim was a minor at the time of the incidents, the charge-sheet was filed under various relevant sections, and the trial court, after finding a prima facie offence against the applicant, summoned him accordingly. It was further argued that the petition should be dismissed since a compromise in a case of this nature cannot be entertained. (PTI)
Referring to various Supreme Court judgments, the court in its decision dated April 2 noted that in the offences which are alleged to have been committed under a “special statute” like POCSO, the prosecution cannot be quashed merely based on a compromise between the victim and the offender. (PTI)