Marriage plea of POCSO victim with accused sets off shock waves

The petitions moved by the accused and the survivor in a sensational Protection of Children from Sexual Act (POCSO) case before the Supreme Court seeking permission to get married has triggered shock waves and intense debate in the State.

The cases are likely to come up before the court on Monday.

Incidentally, the Kerala High Court had turned down the plea of the duo to get married. The contention of the accused, a defrocked priest, that he had consensual sex with the victim and left the priesthood to marry her did not find favour with the judge, who upheld that the trial court verdict that the survivor was a minor at the time of the alleged rape.

Legal circles are abuzz with discussions whether the proposed marriage was planned to seek compounding of the offence. However, Alex Joseph, the counsel for the survivor, vehemently denied any such motives.

The survivor and the accused are unmarried adults and parents of a four-year-old child. While dismissing the petition earlier, the High Court held that allowing the prayer would amount to granting judicial approval to the marriage directly, indirectly or by implication, he pointed out.

The survivor and the accused wish to get married and to put an end to her stigma as an unwed mother. The paternity of the child, who is to join the school shortly, also needs to be recorded. The permission of the apex court was required for marriage as the accused had been jailed and the High Court judgment had resulted in restraining of their marriage, he said.

The survivor had no plea for compounding the petition and had left the accused to law and the judicial wisdom of the court, said Mr. Alex.

Meanwhile, judicial sources highlighted the decisions of the apex court that courts cannot directly or indirectly compound non-compoundable offences.

In a landmark judgement, a three-member bench, in Gian Singh vs State of Punjab, had held that “heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences such as murder, rape, and dacoity cannot be fittingly quashed even though the victim or victim’s family and the offender have settled the dispute.” The court held that such offences were not private in nature and had serious impact on society, they said.

However, the Supreme Court has powers to decide otherwise in such cases, they pointed out.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 4:26:40 PM |

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