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Judiciary

SC quashes rape FIR lodged 34 years after the offence [Read Judgment]

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      15 January, 2024 06:42 PM      0 Comments
SC quashes rape FIR lodged 34 years after the offence [Read Judgment]

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has quashed the criminal proceedings initiated against a man in a rape case registered 34 years after the incident, as the accused claimed the case was filed to blackmail him.

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta found no explanation was given why the woman kept mum for such a long period of time, though the man had treated the son, born of the relationship well with the complainant, by providing cash and all other facilities to him.

Acting on man's plea to quash the proceedings, the bench said the material on record showed that the relationship was consensual.

"Lodging a case after 34 years and that too on the basis of a bald statement that the prosecutrix was a minor at the time of commission of offence, could itself be a ground to quash the proceedings," the bench said.

The bench also recorded the Investigating Office had filed the closure report stating that the case was lodged only out of the greed for the properties of the appellant.

The police report cannot be said to be "erroneous", the bench said.

"We find that the continuation of the proceedings would lead to nothing else but an abuse of process of law," the bench said.

The court allowed the appeal and quashed the proceedings.

In the FIR lodged on December 4, 2016 with Bharalumukh police station, District Kamrup (M), Guwahati, the woman alleged that when she was 15 years of age, the appellant committed rape on her in 1982 and as a result of which she gave birth to a child on April 7, 1983.

The Investigating Officer said there was no ground to proceed as the dispute was only of civil nature. The woman, in connivance with the son filed the FIR to grab the properties of the appellant. The officer also recorded statements of woman, son and the accused and sent their blood samples for FSL examinations which revealed the man had indeed fathered the son of the woman.

The magistrate, however, rejected the closure report and took cognisance of the offence.

Though the Assam counsel and an advocate for the complainant defended the HC's refusal to quash the proceedings, the bench said the magistrate did not record sufficient reasons for disagreeing with the IO's report.

"No doubt that the magistrate, while exercising his powers under Section 190 CrPC, is not bound to accept the final report. However, if the magistrate disagrees with the finding of the IO, the least that is expected of him is to give reasons as to why he disagrees with such a report and as to why he finds it necessary to take cognisance despite the negative report. Nothing of that sort has been done by the magistrate in his order of July, 2017," the bench said.

 

[Read Judgment] 



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