Updated: January 10, 2022 8:22:14 am
THE BOMBAY High Court recently quashed and set aside an FIR with rape charges registered against a man by a 25-year-old woman after the two settled the case amicably after they got married. The HC held that no purpose would be served if the husband was kept behind bars and therefore the wife’s grievance has been addressed and prosecution is not required to continue.
A division bench of Justices Prasanna B Varale and Anil S Kilor on January 3 was hearing an appeal by one Swapnil Digambar Patil, who is out on bail, seeking quashing of FIR registered against him at Wadala T T Police station on January 20, 2020, for offences punishable under Section 376 (rape), 354 (using criminal force and assaulting woman) of IPC.
Advocates Ganesh Gupta and Pratik Patil for the applicant said that after he got bail from the trial court, the complainant woman and their client got married on March 11, 2020, in Raigad district and the wife has sought withdrawal of the FIR against her husband and same should be quashed and set aside. According to FIR, Patil had allegedly assaulted the woman sexually between June 2019 and January 2020 at various places on the false promise of getting married to her.
The complainant told the bench that she was not willing to lead any oral or documentary evidence against the accused because of an amicable settlement and therefore consented to allow the prayer for quashing of FIR. After hearing the submissions, the bench noted that as the offence under Section 376 of IPC is serious and is against society, the same cannot be quashed by consent. However, referring to past Supreme Court judgment, it noted that it would see if the FIR indeed disclosed ingredients of the offence and if the court can accept the settlement to quash the same.
The court held that the two continued to have a physical relationship without any misconception of fact, force, pressure or coercion and therefore the same was “consensual” and therefore the offence under Section 376 of IPC was not made out.
Noting that the woman was unwilling to cooperate and lead any evidence against the man since both were already married, the bench, while disposing of the plea observed, “Consequently, no fruitful purpose will be served by continuing with the prosecution. Apart from this, now the respondent/complainant and applicant have got married and residing together as husband and wife.”
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