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Karnataka High Court quashes rape case as victim marries accused

Court says it can’t shut its doors for the couple who have married and are bringing up a child

August 23, 2022 08:23 pm | Updated August 24, 2022 11:44 am IST - Bengaluru

The High Court noted that the girl, in October 2019, had deposed before a trial court and stated that the alleged acts were consensual. She attained 18 years in March 2020, and filed an affidavit before the trial court in June 2020, reiterating that she and the accused were in love.

The High Court noted that the girl, in October 2019, had deposed before a trial court and stated that the alleged acts were consensual. She attained 18 years in March 2020, and filed an affidavit before the trial court in June 2020, reiterating that she and the accused were in love. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The High Court of Karnataka has found it meaningless to continue criminal proceedings against 20-year-old youth for the charges of rape of a 17-year-old, as the girl, who was in love with him, voluntarily married him after she attained 18 years of age, gave birth to a child a year after the marriage, and is living with him.

“In the teeth of these facts, glaring enough they are, if the court would shut its doors to the couple who are married and bringing up the child, the entire proceedings would result in miscarriage of justice,” the court observed.

Justice M. Nagaprasanna passed the order while allowing a petition filed by Rama, a native of Bengaluru Urban district.

The case

The criminal proceedings against the petitioner, who is now 23, was initiated based on a missing complaint lodged by the girl’s father in March 2019, and the police, after investigation, filed the charge sheet for the offences of kidnap, rape under the Indian Penal Code and for the offence of ‘penetrative sexual assault’ under the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

The High Court noted that the girl, in October 2019, had deposed before a trial court and stated that the alleged acts were consensual.

She attained 18 years in March, 2020, and filed an affidavit before the trial court in June 2020, reiterating that she and the accused were in love and the physical relationship between them was consensual, and based on this affidavit, the trial court had enlarged him on bail, the High Court noticed from the records.

The girl married him in October 19, 2020, and their marriage was registered on the same day, and she gave birth to a girl child in December 2021, the High Court pointed out.

Moves HC

The petitioner moved the High Court in July 2022, for quashing the complaint by filing a joint memo with his wife.

“If the victim is going to turn hostile in a trial at a later point in time and the petitioner gets acquitted of all the offences, the sword of crime would have torn the soul of the accused. It is not the end result that is painful or otherwise, but the process in the criminal justice system that generates such pain,” the court observed while terminating the criminal proceedings.

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