A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachd and J B Pardiwala said it had not come across a single case in which a high court thought it fit to discharge an accused charged with the offence of rape on the ground of delay in registration of FIR.
“The facts of this litigation are quite heartbreaking and at the same time, more disturbing is the utterly incomprehensible impugned judgment of the high court discharging the accused of the offence of rape essentially on the ground of delay in the registration of the FIR,” the apex court said.
Setting aside the order of and paving the way for trial in the case, the bench said the state being custodian to protect rights of people failed in its duty by not challenging the order of the high court.
“Another disturbing feature of this litigation is that it is the unfortunate father of the deceased who had to come before this court seeking justice. It was expected of the state to challenge the illegal order passed by the high court. Barring a few exceptions, in criminal matters the party who is treated as the aggrieved party is the State which is the custodian of the social interests of the community at large and so it is for the state to take all the steps necessary for bringing the person who has acted against the social interests of the community to book,” the bench said.
In this case, a pregnant girl committed suicide by hanging after disclosing the name of the accused as the father of the child. The father of the victim filed a complaint and FIR for offences of rape and abetment of suicide was filed along with for the offences under Pocso Act. Charge was framed by trial court against the accused but the HC quashed the proceeding on the ground that complaint to the police was not made on time and also because there was love-affair between the accused and the deceased as per the statement of deceased mother.
The bench said, “In a case praying for quashing of the charge, the principle to be adopted by the high court should be that if the entire evidence produced by the prosecution is to be believed, would it constitute an offence or not. The truthfulness, the sufficiency and acceptability of the material produced at the time of framing of a charge can be done only at the stage of trial.”