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Rape case settled out of court

May 22, 2012

RAWALPINDI, May 22: A rape case on which the Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice last month ended in an out-of-court settlement on Tuesday when the victim’s family agreed to withdraw their complaint against a compensation of Rs1 million.

According to the prosecution, on March 21, MS and his three accomplices raped the 13-year-old girl in Rawalpindi. When her father approached the Ratta Amral police, they initially refused to register the FIR but on the direction of a local court entered the complaint in their Roznamcha (daily diary), which was later also found to be tampered with.

On April 16, the rape victim tried to commit suicide after the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of the case. The police then registered the FIR against the accused. The apex court directed the prosecutor general Punjab to pursue the case not only against the accused persons but also the policemen who had delayed the registration of the FIR. The case was then referred to the sessions court Rawalpindi for trial on a daily basis.

While pursuing the matter in the local court, the prosecution department referred the case of the policemen to the Anti-Corruption Establishment. After the rejection of their bail application by the anti-corruption court, the Civil Lines police on May 15 arrested former DSP Taimor Khan, SHO Ratta Amral Jawwad Abbas and SI Zaffar Iqbal for delaying the registration of the rape case.

The sessions court had fixed May 22 for the indictment of the accused when the complainant informed the court that he had reached at an out-of-court settlement with the families of the accused.

According to Deputy District Prosecutor Haq Nawaz Minhas Advocate, the complainant filed another application with the police stating that unknown persons had raped his daughter. He said after the withdrawal of the complaint, the accused would be acquitted under section 265-K of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Prosecutor General Punjab Sadaqat Ali Khan told Dawn that the out-of-court settlement had left the prosecution with no option but to end the case.

He added: “We were seriously pursuing the case against the accused persons and after suspending the senior policemen, who had delayed the registration of FIR, had managed their arrest, but the complainant preferred an out-of-court settlement against Rs1 million compensation, wasting all our efforts.”

Rights activist Dr Farzana Bari said in out-of-court settlements female victims always remained at the receiving end. She said those who committed crimes against women always enjoyed strong connection in society and seemed to be more powerful and resourceful than the victims. And in such cases, the victim’s family normally comes under pressure and prefers out-of-court settlement.

She suggested that in order to discourage such settlements of cases related to violence against women, the offence against women or vulnerable segment of society should be considered as an offence against the state.

When the state registers a case against the culprits, the individual families will not be in a position to go for an out-of-court settlement which will also enable the courts to punish the culprits.