10 Jun 2121

The FIR and the Charge sheet cannot be quashed on the basis of amicable settlement between the Family of the Victim and the Accused - Bombay High Court

Case : Rishi Prabha Ranjitkumar Prasad v. The State of Maharashtra and Ors. Criminal Writ Petition No. 4330 of 2019 along with Criminal Writ Petition No. 1476 of 2021

Court : Bombay High Court

Bench : Justice S. S. Shinde and Justice N. R. Borkar

Decided on : 10 Jun 2121

Relevant Statues

Sections 370 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Sections 23, 75 and 79 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

Articles 2, 5, 9, 27, 31, 32, 36, 37 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989

Brief Facts & Procedure History

1. The relevant seminal facts are that it is alleged by the first informant that he and his wife have been working as cleaners in Harikunj Society for the past ten years. The first informant while working at the said society had noticed the presence of a young girl of approximately 10 years of age in the residence of the Petitioners. It is alleged that the alleged victim girl would drop the petitioner’s younger daughter to school, and thereafter wait for her to bring her back to home, during which she would talk with the first informant and his wife. During these conversations, the victim girl told the first informant and his wife that she was working in the Petitioner’s home doing menial chores and taking care of the petitioner’s younger daughter.

2. On 6.9.2019, the first informant went for cleaning in the society where he met the victim girl. It is alleged that the victim girl told the first informant that she had forgotten the house keys inside the house and house door was locked, leaving keys inside the house and for the said mistake the petitioners had allegedly beat her. Thus, the first informant i.e. Respondent No. 2 lodged the First Information Report bearing C.R. No. 274 of 2018 on 6.9.2019 with the Chembur Police Station for the offences punishable under Sections 370 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and sections 75, 79 and 23 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. Thereafter charge sheet was filed on 16.2.2019 and the Sessions Case No. 860 of 2019 arising out of it was pending before Sessions Court for Greater Bombay, Mumbai.

3. Being aggrieved with the First Information Report, the Petitioner’s husband Mr. Ranjitkumar Indeshwari Prasad had filed Criminal Writ Petition No. 4972 of 2018 (Ranjitkumar Indeshwari Prasad v. The State of Maharashtra) which was disposed of on merits by order dated 28.2.2019. Thereafter, the charge sheet in Sessions Case No. 860 of 2019 has been filed in the impugned First Information Report and case is pending before the Sessions Court. Hence, this petition seeks to quash the First Information Report and charge sheet.

The Issue(s) of the Case

Whether the Criminal Writ Petition No. 4330 of 2019 along with Criminal Writ Petition No. 1476 of 2021 seeking quashing of First Information Report and charge sheet is maintainable? 

The Observations of the Court

The Honourable Bombay High Court observed the following:

1. Observed the statements of the victim girl recorded on 06.09.2018 and 12.09.2018 where she stated that the petitioners made her to do all the household work as well as to look after the younger daughter of petitioners. She also stated that the petitioner, Rishi Prabha Ranjitkumar Prasad used to beat her whenever she committed mistakes and that they brought her to Mumbai for doing household work as well as give less food for her consumption. She further stated these facts to one uncle who used to come to collect garbage from the petitioner’s house.

2. Took cognizance of the affidavits filed by the parents of the victim and the original complainant stating no objection for quashing the impugned First Information Report and charge sheet as well as the statements of more than 10 witnesses in tune with the prosecution case, CCTV footages. However, the Court opined that the statements of victim, statements of witnesses and other incriminating material would be sufficient to proceed with the trial.

3. Critically analyzed Sections 23, 75 and 79 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and opined that the provisions of this said Act has an overriding effect on the provisions in other Acts in relation to the matters concerning of child in need and care and protection and a child in conflict with the law.

4. Contemplated Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the relevant Articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 and opined that the impugned First Information Report and charge sheet cannot be quashed on the basis of alleged amicable settlement between the parents of victim and complainant when such amicable settlement has been vehemently opposed by the Respondent-State.

5. By referring to the cases of Gian Singh v. State of Punjab and Anr, (2012) 10 SCC 303; State of M.P. v. Laxmi Narayan, (2019) 5 SCC 688, the Court opined that the outcome of cases that have an impact upon the society cannot be disposed of or allowed on the basis of an amicable settlement.

The Decision held by the Court

The Honourable Bombay High Court dismissed the Writ Petitions.

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