Delhi HC Denies To Settle Case Of Sexual Assault Against Minors Through Mediation

Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court has recently deprecated the move to settle through mediation a case of sexual assault on 2 minor girls by a close relative, stating offences of such serious nature can’t be resolved like that.

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

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

The high court heard the plea by a man, estranged from his wife, seeking revival of his complaint under the POCSO act against a relative after 7 years. While one of the daughters has now attained majority, the other is aged 17 years.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma rejected the plea to re-open the sexual assault case, stating that the court can’t exhibit such insensitivity.

She stated that, “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.”

The court stated that 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, stated that the trial court 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.

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

The court stated that there can’t 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.

The high court stated, “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.

“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.”

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About the Author: Meera Verma