March 24, 2023

The Meghalaya High Court, while quashing a POCSO FIR against a minor’s partner, reiterated that rigors of the Act may not be applied to break down a happy family relationship. Such cases must be decided by taking a sympathetic view towards the accused, who is in a consensual relationship with the minor, in the instant case almost 18 years of age.
The observation came from Justice W. Diengdoh while disposing of the plea preferred by the POCSO accused and his child-bearing minor partner. The couple had been living together like husband and wife.
The accused was booked after the minor was admitted to the hospital in connection with her pregnancy and was found to be aged 17 years.

The matter was reported to the local Police which swung in action and registered a case under Section 5(j)(ii)/6 of the POCSO Act, 2012.
Though the Petitioner was not arrested during investigation, keeping in mind that there will be no one to look after the family, he was summoned to appear before the Trial Court at the stage of consideration of charges.
The minor submitted that their union was blessed by the family members of both sides and therefore, continuation of the criminal proceedings would not be for ends of justice.
The State also did not make any strong objection to the prayer of the petitioners.
On an overall assessment of the fact situation, this Court is of the view that an exercise of power under Section 482 CrPC to ensure that real and actual justice is done cannot be curtailed by the strict interpretation or application of the related provisions of law…The present position being that the petitioners, particularly the petitioner No. 2 being of legal marriageable age and said to be living a married life with petitioner No. 1 along with their new born child, continuation of the criminal proceedings against the petitioner No. 1 would indeed serve no purpose for all concerned,” the Court said.
Reliance was placed on Skhemborlang Suting & Anr. v. State of Meghalaya & Anr. where the High Court quashed FIR and criminal proceedings in a POCSO case registered against a man as it noted that the accused man and victim-wife were living with each other as husband and wife and out of the said union, a child was born.
In view of the above, FIR against petitioner no. 1 was quashed.

Case Title: Shri. Adelbert Marbaniang & Anr. Vs. State of Meghalaya & Ors.
Click Here To Read/Download Order

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