While hearing an appeal challenging Bombay High Court order, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde asked the rape accused who is a government employee, whether he would marry the minor girl who he has raped multiple times.
Supreme Court was hearing an appeal filed by the rape accused challenging the order of Aurangabad Bench of Bombay High Court which set aside the order given by Session court wherein the appellate was granted anticipatory bail.
“Will you marry her?” asked CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde.
To which petitioner’s counsel replied, “I will take instructions.”
“You should have thought before seducing and raping the young girl. You knew you are a government servant. We are not forcing you to marry. Let us know if you will. Otherwise you will say we are forcing you to marry her,” responded CJI Bobde.
Later, the petitioner submitted, “I wanted to marry her. But she refused. Now I cannot, as I am already married. Trial is going on, charges are yet to be framed.”
The apex court has granted him interim protection against the arrest for four more weeks. The court also asked the appellate to apply for the regular bail meanwhile.
As per the reports, the accused is a distant relative of the 16-year old minor girl and used to follow her on her way to school. One day, she was alone at home as her family members were out of town. The accused entered the house from the backdoor. He gagged her mouth, tied her, and then raped her.
It was alleged that the accused threatened the victim of throwing acid on her face and harming her family members if she disclosed the incident to anybody. Using the threats, he allegedly raped the minor repeatedly.
One day, the victim attempted to commit suicide. But was luckily stopped by her mother. She immediately rushed to the police station to lodge a complaint against the man. But she was allegedly stopped by the mother of the accused promising that her son is going to marry her once she turns 18.
It was also alleged that the petitioner’s mother made the victim’s illiterate mother sign an undertaking on a stamp paper where it was stated that there was an affair between their children and the physical relations were consensual.
However, the time the victim turns a major, the petitioner’s mother refused to marry her son to the girl as per alleged promise.
The overall incident prompted the victim’s mother to register an FIR. The accused was booked under Section 376 (punishment for rape), Section 417 (punishment for cheating), Section 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 4 (punishment for penetrative sexual assault) and Section 12 (punishment for sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012.
The High Court set aside the Session Court’s order while observing, “If such is the state-of-affair, the impugned order passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge is indeed atrocious. The approach of the learned Judge from such a reasoning clearly shows his utter lack of sensitivity in such serious matters. Inspite of having noted that the applicant was still a minor when respondent No.2 had sexually exploited her and inspite of observing that her consent would be immaterial, he has concluded that it was a consensual relation.”
“The reasoning resorted to by the learned Additional Sessions Judge clearly undermines the legal principles and parameters, which should weigh with the Court in entertaining the application for anticipatory bail as laid down by the Supreme Court in catena of judgments,” the order said.
The court called the Session Court’s order perverse, arbitrary and capricious.
The petitioner had moved Supreme Court challenging the High Court order stating that there is no reason to set aside the order of anticipatory bail, and that too after a period of one year. He also submitted that he has not violated any terms of bail. The petitioner also questioned the delay in lodging a complaint after a gap of over two years.
“Informant alleged in the FIR that the said incident was happened since 2014-2015 when the informant was in 9th std and that continued upto 12th std but the informant had not lodged any complaint with the police station or not made the same before any family member but suddenly after refusing marriage with the Petitioner intentionally lodged the same belatedly,” the plea said.