Delhi High Court Rejects Quashing of Kidnapping Case, Emphasize the Serenity of Offence

Settlements in cases related to kidnapping and trafficking of minors raise ‘ethical and legal concerns’ where the child is effectively being treated as a commodity.

The Delhi High Court firmly stated that cases involving the kidnapping of trafficking of children are grave ofeences that cannot be compromised or quashed based on settlements between the prepetrators and the child parents.

A bench of Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma was considering a plea seeking to quash an FIR registered at Delhi’s Bhalswa Dairy Police Station in 2017 for the alleged offence punishable under Section 363 (kidnapping) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

 The accused had contended that the matter has been settled between them and the parents of the minor girl and no purpose will be served by continuing the present criminal proceedings. It was pleaded that the accused couple had been taking care of the child and they were not aware that it had been kidnapped. They said that a lenient view may be taken since the accused could not have become biological parents of a child due to some medical problems.

However, the prosecution claimed that the accused Nisha and Kapil were aware about kidnapping of the child as they had bought the child for Rs 20,000 from the accused Rubina and such settlements must not be allowed in the larger interest of the society.

In her statement given to the Magistrate, the minor girl stated that the accused Rubina had kidnapped her and her younger brother and then she had handed over her and her brother to accused Kapil and Nisha. The minor boy had raised hue and cry and therefore, the accused had dropped him back.

The case at hand presents unique circumstances. On one hand, there is a deeply troubling situation where a three-year-old minor girl, along with her younger brother, was kidnapped and subsequently sold to a couple by the accused. While the criminal act itself is distressing, a new layer of complexity has emerged as the parents of the kidnapped child have recently entered into a settlement with the accused persons, said the High Court.

 It added that the idea that a girl child can be subjected to a transaction, where her custody is negotiated as if it was a piece of property, challenges the very principles of rule of law.

The High Court said that the crime in question cannot be obliterated by the fact that the kidnappers have looked after the child and she is attached to the kidnappers or offenders.

Society relies on our legal system that upholds the principle of law and Justice and protects it's most vulnerable members. In a face of a crime against a minor girl child , the court's duty to ensure that justice is not only served but that the sancity of child right is preserved , reinforcing the unequvivocal message that children are not tradable entities and their safety and well being are non negotiable , said the court.

"In the face of a crime against a minor girl child, the Court's duty is to ensure that justice is not only served, but the sanctity of child's rights is preserved, reinforcing the unequivocal message that children are not tradable entities, and their safety and well-being is non-negotiable," the court said.

Quashing criminal proceedings in such cases would convey a message that the severity of crimes against children can be mitigated through private agreements, which the court deemed unacceptable. Consequently, the petition was dismissed.

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