CJI bench asks man accused of raping a relative when she was a minor: Will you marry her?
In a startling incident on Monday, a supreme court bench asked an accused facing the charges of raping a minor if he intended to marry her now. The Indian Express on Tuesday reported that the bench hearing the incident was headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde and the accused is a state government employee.
The bench was hearing the petition against the order by Bombay High court in which bail was granted to the accused setting aside a sessions court order.
“Will you marry her?” asked CJI as reported by The Indian Express. The bench further said “We are not forcing you to marry. Let us know if you will. Otherwise, you will say we are forcing you to marry her.”
The accused who is a Maharashtra government employee replied that he had wanted to do so earlier but was married to someone else now. Thereafter, the apex court rejected his plea, however, the petitioner was granted four weeks interim protection from arrest. During this period, he can seek regular bail from the sessions court.
According to the woman’s complaint, she was 16-years-old when the accused, who was a distant relative and often used to visit her home, started stalking her. This was the year 2014-15 when she studied in Class 9. The complaint stated that one day the accused secretly entered the house and raped her. The woman was afraid to disclose the incident to anymore and the accused exploited her several times, said the complaint.
The complaint further mentioned that once when the woman, her mother and a social worker went to the police to lodge an FIR, the mother of the accused promised to accept the woman as her daughter-in-law and convinced them to not to do so. It was also promed, said the complaint, that marriage would happen after she turns 18. The complaint added that the accused went back on this following which the FIR was lodged.
The woman had moved to Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court against the sessions court order and pointed out that she was still a minor when the incident happened, reported The Indian Express. In her plea, the woman has said that she was a minor when the incident happened and therefore her consent or the lack of it would therefore make no difference to the charges. The sessions court granted bail to the accused, ignoring the woman’s plea on the ground that there was a delay in lodging the FIR and she had sufficient maturity when the alleged crime occured.