The Himachal Pradesh High Court recently refused to quash a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) against a man who moved the Court for relief citing his marriage with the victim..Justice Virender Singh disagreed with coordinate benches of the High Court that had quashed cases in similar circumstances.The single-judge has now referred the matter to the Chief Justice for the constitution of a larger bench to examine the issue of whether POCSO Act cases can be quashed if the accused has married the victim. .Rejecting the compromise arrived between the parties, Justice Singh said that the acceptance of such a settlement would encourage criminals involved in such heinous offences to indulge in such acts and then enter into a compromise with the child victim.The Court added that it would defeat the object of the legislature in enacting a special statute like the POCSO Act. “Since the offences as mentioned in the FIR are against the society, as such, the proceedings should be continued enabling the competent court of law to find the truth on the basis of the evidence led during the trial,” it added.The compromise by the child victim and her parents with the accused was inconsequential, the Court opined. It also said the role of the complainant comes to an end after putting the criminal machinery into motion by informing the police.“In the serious offences, like the present one, crime is always against the State and the private party cannot compromise the matter,” Justice Singh opined..The Court was hearing a petition filed by the accused for quashing the case dating back to 2020 on the basis of a compromise. The Court was told that the child victim and the petitioner had been in love since childhood. They married on March 9 this year.However, while turning down the prayer to quash the case, the Court said the powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) should be exercised in the rarest of the rare cases only and not on the basis of an alleged compromise in heinous offences.Stressing that offences under the POCSO Act are crimes against society and in view of various Supreme Court judgments on the enactment, the Court found it difficult to concur with the view taken by the coordinate benches of the High Court.“Since, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has deprecated the practice of quashing the FIR, on the basis of compromise, in heinous offences, like the present one, as such, this matter be placed before Hon’ble the Chief Justice, for referring the same, to the larger Bench,” it ordered.Advocate Arun Sehgal represented the petitioner (accused).Additional Advocates General Mohinder Zharaick and HS Rawat with Deputy Advocates General Leena Guleria and Avni Kocchar Mehta represented the State.