The Kerala High Court on Wednesday withdrew five previous orders that had quashed charges of sexual assault under POCSO, Malayala Manorama reported. This came on the back of reports of a bench headed by Justice K. Haripal removing POCSO charges against a 22-year-old man who was now married to the survivor. The High Court, while withdrawing the order, said it had not considered a previous Supreme Court order stating that serious cases like rape should not be withdrawn on the basis of agreements between the accused and the survivor, Manorama reported.
One of the cases pertained to penetrative sexual assault, first registered when the survivor was 17 years old, a minor. “The Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that in such cases courts should always take a pragmatic view. When the parties themselves settle the dispute and approach the high court for quashing the proceedings, the High Court cannot refuse to invoke its inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 of CrPC,” the court had then said, observing that the well-being of the couple also necessitated the move, and that public interest would not be hampered by a quash, reported LiveLaw.
Times of India had then reported that the accused had petitioned the high court, raising the point of his marriage, and saying that the couple were living as husband and wife; the survivor and her father also filed affidavits agreeing to quash the petition.