The Delhi high court on Friday quashed an FIR against Australian cricketer Luke Pomersbach after he and the complainant, a US national, reached an out-of-court settlement in a molestation case.
Justice M L Mehta quashed the FIR and criminal proceedings arising out of it after recording statements of American citizen Zohal Hamid, her friend Sahil Peerzada and accused Pomersbach.
"Since they have resolved the dispute and want to go back to their respective countries, I quash the FIR," Justice Mehta said, after Hamid and Pomersbach jointly told the court that they would like to leave India on Friday night.
Hamid had asked the court not to pursue the matter further.
The court rejected the Delhi government's argument that the FIR should not be quashed keeping in view the gravity and seriousness of the offence.
The state's standing counsel Pawan Sharma argued that any criminal case against a woman should not be allowed to be settled outside the court.
Opposing the plea for dropping the case, he said the court should not entertain it as it would amount to "misuse of our system".
The accused, he submitted, deserved to be tried.
The court, however, said since they have resolved the issue and would like to leave India, "let them go with a happy ending".
To a query posed by the court to the Royal Challengers' cricketer about the incident, Pomersbach replied, "It started just like that. One issue led to another."
He did not elaborate.
The accused also expressed regret before the court for the incident.
Hamid had on Thursday moved the high court along with Peerzada and Pomersbach for quashing of the criminal case, lodged against the cricketer for allegedly molesting the US national and hitting her friend.
The three had made the plea jointly, terming the incident leading to registration of the FIR as "unfortunate" and saying that they have amicably settled their dispute and "wish to end it".
The Australian cricketer, who played for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, was arrested on May 18 after Hamid alleged that he had molested her in a five-star hotel in Delhi and beat up her friend.
Pomersbach was later released on bail on condition that he would not leave the country or contact Hamid.
"All the petitioners are of young age and have a long life ahead of them. They don't wish to blemish each other and wish to end this unfortunate episode of their lives," the petition filed jointly by Hamid, Pomersbach and Sahil for quashing of the FIR, had said.
Claiming that they had reached a settlement amicably without any pressure or financial consideration, the petition had said they "have reached a settlement as per settlement deed dated 23 May 2012, whereby inter se disputes between the parties have been amicably settled without any pressure, coercion or undue influence".
The trio had also agreed not to make any statement, written or verbal that could defame or, in any way, criticize personal reputation.
The Australian cricketer had allegedly hit Sahil when he had objected to the cricketer's alleged misbehaviour with Hamid. In an ensuing fight, Pomersbach had also got his right hand fractured. Peerzada had to be admitted to a hospital where he underwent surgery on his ear.