The Punjab and Haryana High Court, standing up for victims of child abuse, ruled that the parents of a kid who has been the victim of a sexual offense cannot enter into a “compromise” with the perpetrator.
Parents cannot compromise a child’s dignity by an agreement
When hearing a plea seeking the quashing of an FIR made under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act, Justice Pankaj Jain ruled that parents cannot compromise a child’s dignity by an agreement.
The FIR was filed in 2019 at the women’s police station in Dabwali, Sirsa, Haryana, under sections 452 (home trespass) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as appropriate portions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities Act) and the POCSO Act.
According to the court, an FIR filed for offenses punishable under the POCSO Act cannot be annulled based on a compromise.
“The child’s and/or her parents’ compromise, which compromises the child’s dignity, cannot be elevated to the point where it negates the Act’s basic purpose.”
It stated that “powers provided under section 482 CrPC (powers of the high court to quash an FIR) cannot be used to frustrate the aim of a law passed to carry out a constitutional mandate as well as a requirement arising out of international agreements.”
The court also ordered the trial court to expedite the proceedings and end them within six months, if possible. “Any agreement/compromise executed by the kid (till the age of majority), as in the current case, shall be void ab initio and so cannot be awarded legitimacy,” it stated.
“Parents cannot be allowed to violate a child’s dignity through a contract,” Justice Jain stated.
“The Act’s Statement of Objects and Reasons recognizes the State’s duty to direct its policy toward ensuring that children under the age of 18 are not abused, that their childhood and youth are protected from exploitation, and that they are provided with facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity as directed by Article 39,” the court noted.