Updated March 8th, 2024 at 20:02 IST

HC Deprecates Move To Settle Case of Sexual Assault Against Minors Through Mediation

The Delhi HC abhors move to settle through mediation a case of sexual assault on two minor girls by a close relative, saying offences of such serious nature cannot be resolved like that.

HC Deprecates Move To Settle Case of Sexual Assault Against Minors Through Mediation | Image:Competition Commision of India
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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has deprecated the move to settle through mediation a case of sexual assault on two minor girls by a close relative, saying offences of such serious nature cannot be resolved like that.

The high court said it is essential to ensure the perpetrators of such crimes are held accountable through appropriate legal proceedings.

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It said the victims shall also receive necessary support, protection and justice which they deserve.

The high court was hearing the plea by a man, estranged from his wife, seeking revival of his complaint under the Protection of Children from Sexual offences (POCSO) Act against a relative after seven years. While one of the daughters has now attained majority, the other is aged 17 years.

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Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma rejected the plea to re-open the sexual assault case, saying the court cannot exhibit such insensitivity.

“It is most disturbing that though the petition has been camouflaged in words which may project as if it arises out of love and concern for the children, however, the courts of law are not ostriches who bury their heads in the sand instead of the facts of the case,” she said.

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The court said it is unpleasant and distasteful for a judge to note that parents can use the provisions of POCSO Act to settle their own scores.

The man, in his plea, said the trial court had earlier referred the disputes between him and his wife, including the registration of a complaint under the POCSO Act, for mediation and then closed the matter based on a settlement reached between them.

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The man later approached the high court claiming that he was tricked by his wife and brother-in-law into withdrawing the complaint.

Observing that the trial court had referred the case for mediation while ignoring the principles of mediation and judicial precedents, the high court said it was shocking that a mediated settlement agreement was reached whereby the couple agreed to bury their matrimonial disputes.

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The court said there cannot be any connection between the matrimonial dispute between the husband and wife, and the sexual abuse of their children by a third party over which he compromised in the mediation settlement.

“… it is essential to emphasise that in cases involving offences of serious nature, particularly those falling under the POCSO Act, no form of mediation is permissible. These cases cannot be referred to or resolved through mediation by any court.

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“Any attempt to mediate or compromise in such cases undermines the principles of justice and the rights of victims and must not be entertained under any circumstances by a mediator,” the high court said. 

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Published March 8th, 2024 at 20:02 IST