The Bombay High Court on Thursday refused to quash an initial intelligence report against a couple accused of trafficking a 10-year-old girl, despite the victim's family and the accused having reached an amicable settlement (Rishi Prabha Ranjit Kumar Prasad v. the State of Maharashtra). A bench by judges SS Shinde and NR Borkar found that the criminal proceedings against the petitioners could not be overturned as the case was on a different level to routine criminal proceedings "mainly civil and personal". "Atrocious and serious crimes involving mental depravity or crimes such as murder, rape, and fraud cannot be properly undone if the victim or the victim's family has resolved the dispute. Such crimes are truly speaking, not private in nature but have a serious impact on society. The decision to continue the trial in such cases is based on the overriding element of the public interest in punishing people for serious crimes, "the court said. The signatories, Rishi Prabha Prasad and her husband Ranjit Kumar Prasad, were registered under Sections 370 (Trafficking in Persons) of the Indian Criminal Code (IPC) and Sections 75 (Punishment for Cruelty to Children) and 79 (Exploitation of Dependent Children) of the Juvenile Justice (Child Care and Protection) Law (JJ). The complainant, in this case, an employee of the housing company where the petitioners lived, found out through his conversations with the minor that he was doing menial jobs at home and was taking care of the petitioner's daughter. He filed a complaint with the Chembur police station after being informed by the minor that she would be beaten by the petitioners for forgetting the house keys inside the house. Injured by the FIR, Ranjit Kumar Prasad filed an application for annulment in 2018 which was rejected by the Court. Subsequently, the Chembur police at the Sessions Court filed an indictment sheet. The present applications were filed individually by both spouses who attacked FIR and the accusation against them. Attorney Vishal Kanade who appeared for the couple argued that the complainant's statement was based on hearsay and therefore no case was opened for filing the indictment card. He also referred to the affidavit filed by the complainant in which he expressed his desire to stop the criminal action after meeting the minor's parents and realizing that the complaint had been presented for misunderstanding. The child's parents also filed an affidavit stating that they are farm laborers on the farm belonging to Ranjit Kumar Prasad's brother and have long-standing relationships with the petitioners. Because they were unable to afford the living expenses of the entire family consisting of their other four children, they voluntarily agreed to send the applicants' residence to their daughter for her well-being and well-being. Chief Prosecutor Deepak Thakare vehemently opposed the petition stating that the crimes committed by the petitioners were of a serious nature and had an impact on society. After carefully examining the pleadings before her, the Court specifically relied on the child's statements recorded in 2018 stating that she was doing menial jobs in the applicants' home and that she would be beaten occasionally if she made mistakes. She also stated that she "wants to go to her parents and she is unwilling to continue her stay with the signatories”. The court noted that the victim's statements cannot be ignored, especially when her statement was corroborated by more than 10 witnesses and CCTV footage evidence. The victim's statements, as well as witness statements and other material against him, would be sufficient to proceed with the trial, the court added. The court also noted prima facie that the financial instability of the child's parents may have forced them to send their daughter with the petitioners to Delhi. That said, the Court observed that "by the mere fact that the parents of the victim and the plaintiff filed the affidavits, joining the applicants' plea for the annulment of the FIR challenged on the basis of an amicable settlement, the FIR and the indictment cannot be overturned. "