The Compromise in Illicit Intercourse

It was judged once by the Gujarat HC that an unreportable judgment is not ‘unreportable’ on a website. Nonetheless, there has been no report on Sajid v. State of Uttarakhand & Another, [Criminal Appeal No. 983 of 2018].

The Appellant was convicted under Sections 363 and 366 of the Indian Penal Code and was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for 7 years [CRLA/314/2004, High Court of Uttarakhand at Nainital].

A Woman was kidnapped [abducted] / abducted [not kidnapped] – [perhaps ‘criminally intimidated’ / perhaps ‘abused by authority’] – knowing she will be forced / seduced to engage in illicit intercourse. The Appellant was undergoing his sentence when the Woman entered a compromise. It was submitted to Court that she is married, “living happily” and that she and her husband have no complaint against the Appellant. The SC: “The sentence is limited to the period already undergone”. “The Appellant shall pay a fine of Rupees Two Lakhs… within a period of one month from today.”

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Former Justice Markandey Katju had once justified reducing the sentence of imprisonment of 3 who gang-raped, on grounds that : i) a compromise had been reached; ii) the Victim was married and needed money for her children; iii) imprisoning the Accused further would serve no purpose; iv) the judgment [Baldev Singh v. State of Punjab, (2011) 13 SCC 705] was of a Lady Judge (Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra) too.

In Shimbhu v. State of Haryana, (2014) 13 SCC 318 Three Judges [The CJI then, Former Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, The CJI next in Oct, 2018] were clear: “In the light of series of decisions, taking contrary view, we hold that the said decision in Baldev Singh cannot be cited as a precedent and it should be confined to that case.” In Simbhu light, it appears just and noble that a married, settled life for a Victim cannot be construed as a special factor for reducing a sentence; a Court cannot always be assured that the Victim has genuinely compromised;  a compromise entered into cannot be a leading factor based on which lesser punishment can be awarded.

It is remarkable that Sajid v. State of Uttarakhand & Another, [Criminal Appeal No. 983 of 2018] is ‘unreported’ and Hon’ble Justice Kurian Joseph & Hon’ble Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul have chosen silence.