The Karnataka High Court has quashed criminal proceedings against a rape accused taking into consideration the survivor's affidavit and the purported consensual nature of their relationship, imposing a condition of solemnizing marriage within one month.

The accused was charged under Section 376(2)(n) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. He was accused of committing penetrative sexual assault on a minor.

A Bench of Justice Hemant Chandangoudar held, “The survivor who is present before this Court has stated that she intends to solemnize her marriage with the accused, and if the criminal proceedings are allowed to be continued, it would result in incarceration of the accused which would cause more agony and misery to the survivor rather than securing the ends of justice. Therefore, the continuation of the criminal proceedings will not sub-serve the ends of justice and will be an abuse of process of law.”

Advocate Abhay R S appeared for the Petitioner and Advocate Thejesh P appeared for the Respondents.

The Court noted that the survivor, now 18 years old, submitted an affidavit expressing her intention to marry the petitioner. In the affidavit, she affirmed her age using a transfer certificate and asserted that she was in a romantic relationship with the petitioner. She declared her willingness to marry him and supported the quashing of the proceedings against him. The survivor emphasized that her statements were voluntary and not influenced by any external factors.

The Court further noted that the petitioner, currently in judicial custody, stated his willingness to marry the survivor. He claimed that the sexual intercourse between them was consensual due to their relationship.

During the court proceedings, the survivor turned hostile during her examination-in-chief. The prosecutor failed to elicit any supporting evidence during the cross-examination. Medical records indicated that sexual intercourse occurred when the survivor was a minor.

The Court, considering the survivor's affidavit and the purported consensual nature of the relationship, decided to quash the criminal proceedings against the petitioner. The petitioner was acquitted of the alleged offenses, and the Court ordered his release from judicial custody, unless required in any other case.

However, the Court imposed a condition for the petitioner-accused to solemnize his marriage with the survivor within one month and register it. The order specified that this condition was subject to compliance and set a date for the next hearing on December 7, 2023.

Cause Title: Chikkaredappa v. State of Karnataka & Anr., [2023:KHC:39580]

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