The Gujarat High Court, in an order on March 15, instructed state prosecution to record the statement of the complainant regarding ‘amicable settlement’ with the accused, at the concerned police station, on a petition seeking consensual quashing of an FIR filed in a case related to an interfaith marriage in Vadodara.
Seeking quashing of the FIR, the complainant had submitted before the court that an amicable settlement was arrived at with the accused in the FIR without any threat or coercion.
In the FIR filed at the Gotri police station in Vadodara February 2, the father of a Hindu woman who married a Muslim man, accused the man of “threatening to kill him (complainant)” and “insulting him with obscene remarks”.
The FIR booked the accused under IPC sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentionally insulting to provoke a person) and 506 (2) (punishment for criminal intimidation). As recorded in the FIR, a scuffle broke between the two, in which the complainant suffered minor injuries.
Less than three weeks after the incident, the complainant moved the Gujarat HC with a petition seeking “consent quashing” of the FIR. Taken up by the court of Justice Vipul Pancholi on March 15, the court recorded in its order that “the dispute is amicably settled between the parties”, about which the complainant confirmed in person at the courtroom as well.
However, the court asked the additional public prosecutor to take instructions and further instructed the prosecution to record the complainant’s statement regarding the “amicable settlement” before the police. Keeping the matter for further hearing on March 23, the court did not grant the accused protection from arrest in the interim.
The origin of the case stems from an earlier FIR registered under the provisions of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 at Gotri police station in June 2021, which was the first FIR filed under the amended Act. Provisions of the Act were subsequently stayed by a division bench of the Gujarat HC in August 2021 after the Act was constitutionally challenged.
In the June 2021 FIR, involving the interfaith married couple, the wife had alleged of being subjected to “forcible conversion”, “casteist slurs”, “forcible sexual intercourse”, and “domestic violence” by her husband. Her husband and her in-laws were booked and arrested under provisions of Indian Penal Code, the amended Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.