Delhi

Court declares minor as major, lets accused off in rape case

Girl admitted in statement she had eloped, married accused

Observing that the “prosecutrix was just short of about four months of attaining 18 years of age [adulthood] and was well aware of the pros and cons”, a Delhi court let off a man for allegedly establishing physical relations with her.

Since the girl had admitted in her statement that she had eloped with the accused, married him and established sexual relations with him of her own free will, the main issue before the court to decided was whether she was a minor or a major at the time of the commission of the the crime.

The prosecution claimed that she was a minor while the accused argued that she was a major. The girl’s father had in his complaint lodged with the Sangam Vihar police claimed that she was 14-year-old when the accused eloped with her.

He later submitted her birth certificate, issued by the civic body concerned, in court to prove the girl’s minor status. However, the certificate was found to be forged and was therefore rejected by the court.

Thereafter, the ossification (bone) test report of the girl was conducted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The test report fixed her age between 10.2 years and 15.8 years.

However, the court rejected this report as well saying that the doctor had determined the age of the prosecutrix as per the chart available in the hospital and not by examining her teeth and other physiological features.

Allowing the defence counsel’s argument that even if the AIIMS ossification test of the prosecutrix is assumed to be correct, considering the margin of two years the age came close to 18 years of age, Additional Sessions Judge Balwant Rai Bansal decided the case in favour of the accused.

“Even if the ossification test report is assumed to be correct, the age of the prosecutrix has been opined as between 10.2 and 15.8 years. Relying upon the judgments cited [by counsel for the accused during the trial], if two years’ margin is given, it comes around 17.8 years, which is just short of 18 years of becoming an adult. Therefore, the prosecutrix was at the age of discretion and had knowledge about the consequences of having accompanied the accused with her [own] free will and consent, and having married with him later,” the judge said.

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Printable version | May 20, 2020 4:59:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/court-declares-minor-as-major-lets-accused-off-in-rape-case/article23778095.ece

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