On October 29, 2020 the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court granted bail to a man accused of raping and impregnating a 17-year-old girl under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act on a condition that he marries he after she attains the majority age of 18.
The petitioner was represented by Mr. N.Ramesh Arumugam and the respondent State was represented by the Government Advocate Mr. KR. Bharathikannan.
Justice GK Ilanthiraiyan ordered the release of the petitioner on grounds that the accused shall register the marriage with the survivor “on or before 30.10.2021 and produce the Marriage Registration Certificate before the respondent police and if the petitioner fails to register the marriage the respondent police is directed to secure the petitioner and proceed in accordance with law.”
The bail condition further stated that the, “The parents of the petitioner and the victim shall file a joint affidavit for their consent to get marriage between the petitioner and the victim girl before the Special Court for Exclusive trial of cases under POCSO Act Cases, Thoothukudi.”
The petitioner was also directed to furnish a bond of Rs.10,000 with two sureties each for a like sum to the satisfaction of the Special Court for Exclusive trial of cases under POCSO Act Cases, Thoothukudi, to not tamper with evidence or witness and not abscond during trial.
While it may appear that the survivor’s consent is not being taken into consideration in this case, the accused claims that he was charged with rape only because he was in a sexual relationship with the survivor who is related to him. It is unfortunately not uncommon for parents to register rape charges when they disapprove of their daughter’s partner.
The petitioner was charged for aggravated sexual assault and getting the survivor pregnant as a consequence of the assault under relevant sections of the POCSO Act. The prosecution alleged that the girl and the petitioner were in a sexual relationship due to which she became pregnant. Hence the complaint against him was filed.
The petitioner’s counsel submitted, “Both petitioner and the victim girl are closely related and they fell in love and also had a physical relationship. The petitioner is ready and willing to marry the victim girl whenever she attains majority. He further submitted that the petitioner is in jail for more than 50 days, hence he may be granted bail.”
The State’s counsel informed the court that, “the petitioner and the victim are close relatives and utilising the said circumstances the petitioner had sexual relationship with the victim girl aged about 17 years, due to which she became pregnant.”
The court took cognisance of the statement of the survivor wherein “she has clearly stated that they are closely related and they both fell in love and they have physical relationship, due to which she became pregnant.”
Taking note of all facts, circumstances and the willingness of the petitioner to marry the girl after she turns 18, the court proceeded to grant him bail on above mentioned conditions.