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Delhi HC says POCSO case can't be compromised in mediation

High Court clarified that the cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act can't be referred to mediation

Delhi HC says POCSO case cant be compromised in mediation

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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court, in a judgement passed on Thursday, referred to verses of the Gita, Bible, Quran to emphasize the importance of mediation in a criminal dispute.

However, the High Court clarified that the cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act can't be referred to mediation for compromise or settlement.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma referred to verses of the Gita, the Arthshastra, the Bible and the Quran to emphasize mediation.

"This Court thus opines that it is not on the basis of the British or other foreign jurisprudences alone but on the basis of the unplundered wealth of ancient Indian judicial and mediation jurisprudence which is found in our old texts, including the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Bhagavad Gita, when read and understood in detail in context of the messages conveyed in certain chapters, subject to their true interpretation and understanding without being referred to as religious texts alone," Justice Sharma said in the judgement passed on March 7.

The High Court also referred to the Bible and said, "As per the Holy Bible, Matthew 5:9 urges Christians to use useful means to resolve disputes amicably and that those who are peacemakers shall be called sons of God. Matthew 18:15-17 states that in case of a deadlock, the parties should contact a third neutral party to get their issue resolved."

The Quran, the Sunna, the Ijma, and the Qiyas support peaceful conflict settlement within the Islamic community, between Islamic and non-Islamic communities, and between two or more non-Muslim communities, court cited Quran in the judgement.

The bench also referred to Arthshastra. "Arthashastra by Kautilya and the principles enumerated by the judges, commentaries, lectures and mediation training on the mediation process will have the potential to give finality to disputes between the parties."

However, the bench made it clear that mediation can't be used for compromise or settlement where cases are lodged under POCSO.

"This Court, before parting, issues a mandatory reminder, rather than a gentle reminder, towards fulfilment of its duty that it is essential to emphasise that in cases involving offences of serious nature, particularly those falling under POCSO Act, no form of mediation is permissible. These cases cannot be referred to or resolved through mediation by any court," the High Court said.

The bench held, "It is essential to uphold the gravity and seriousness of such offences, ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable through appropriate legal proceedings and that victims receive the necessary support, protection, and justice they deserve."

"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," the bench clarified.

However, the court has not passed any direction to revive the case in view of the fact that nine years have passed since the court order and the fact that the children are being used by the parents to settle their personal scores.

The petitioner, father of the minor child, sought a direction for the reopening of the complaint filed under section 7 read with section 33 of POCSO Act against his estranged wife and her brother regarding sexual assault on the minor children of the complainant.

The trial court had closed a case against man and his sister whose children were sexually assaulted.

The petitioner stated that his children, namely Ms X who was aged about 9 years and Mr Y who was aged about 6 years, were victims of sexual assault at the hands of the brother of his estranged wife in the years 2013-14.

It was also stated that in September 2013, the petitioner had caught the accused inappropriately touching his children, and he had also filed a complaint on September 20, 2013 at Police Station Defence Colony.

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