In a bizzare judgment, a 25-year-old Muslim rapist who was booked under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) has been granted bail after he agreed to marry the 16-year-old victim. The special POCSO court in Mumbai granted bail to the rapist because it found the relationship between the two was ‘consensual’ and he would marry the victim after two years when she becomes an adult.
The victim’s mother who had registered an FIR is said to have submitted an affidavit in the court in support of the rapist’s release. As per available information, the victim’s mother is believed to have told the court that she wanted the two to get married since her daughter has given birth to the child of the accused.
The police submitted in the court that not only had the accused trapped the minor girl who was not in a position to understand the consequences but also that there was no evidence showing that his first wife had given her consent for the second marriage.
The police also held that the accused was attempting to take undue advantage of the situation through his offer of marriage. The accused’s lawyer then submitted that the community of the accused permitted him to marry more than once.
The court while granting bail ruled that there was nothing to show that the victim or her family had no prior knowledge of the rapist accused’s first marriage. As the case appears to be one of consensual relationship, there was no reason to deny bail to the accused.
As per the prosecution, the victim’s father and the accused are acquaintances. It has also come to light that the rapist became intimate with the victim after trapping her with assurances of marrying her. Subsequently when the victim became pregnant she informed the accused who then threatened her not to reveal his name as the child’s father.
It was only after the pregnancy was in an advanced stage that her mother come to know of the incident. However, the girl is said to have name another boy as the unborn child’s father. Following the family’s inquiries, however, it came to light that it was in fact their acquaintance who was the rapist. The victim’s family then registered an FIR and the accused was arrested on 23 October, 2020.
A report by website Article14 states that convicted or accused rapists often use promise of marrying victims as a ploy to evade punishment. In 2017, it registered 10,553 cases under the ‘known persons on promise to marry the victim’ rape cases.
The website’s article quotes a study that says:
In 2013, data journalist Rukmini Shrinivasan examined 460 cases under trial in New Delhi’s district courts. Of these, 109 cases were filed under ‘false promise to marry’ and only 12 cases resulted in conviction out of all the 460 cases.
Shrinivasan’s study also found that more than a third cases of rape were those in which young people had engaged in consensual sex outside of marriage. These cases had been filed by the parents of minor daughters…
…The accused then “goes to jail for three-four months after which a settlement happens and the survivor flips her statement in court, said Ravi Kant, explaining that many “false promise to marry” cases and live-in cases, reach either a monetary settlement or a marriage and it reflects on the legal system.
Many of these marriage promises also turn out to be fake and the accused often abandon the victim soon after marriage.
(Featured Image Source: News18)
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