The Orissa High Court on Friday granted bail to a man accused of rape of a minor, noting his submission that while availing interim bail, he has married the survivor, who has now attained majority.
The Single Judge noted that the petitioner was initially in custody since 13.02.2020 and by virtue of the order of a coordinate bench of the High Court dated 2.6.2020, he was granted interim bail. Subsequently, on surrendering, he was again taken into custody from 06.07.2020.
The Single Bench observed that during the period of his interim bail, he has married the victim and she is now residing as the wife of the petitioner in his house. “To that effect a copy of the affidavit dated 8.6.2020 has been filed on behalf of the petitioner”, recorded the Court.
Justice B. P. Routray was hearing an application under Section 439 Cr.P.C. for grant of bail to the petitioner in connection with a case for alleged commission of offences under Sections 376(2)(n)/417/276(2) of the IPC and Section 6 of the POCSO Act, pending before the Additional District and Sessions Judge-cum-Special Court.
Subsequently, an intervention application was filed urging, “The relief at this stage citing his desire to marry the victim, it will open the door for many such men who commit the offence of rape or aggravated sexual assault to force or coerce their victims into a compromise in order to escape the rigours of law. Such practices have been categorically looked down upon by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, and must not be encouraged in any judicial proceeding or stage”. The ex-priest’s bail plea was adjourned to August 4 by the High Court on Friday, to be considered along with the intervention.
The relief at this stage citing his desire to marry the victim, it will open the door for many such men who commit the offence of rape or aggravated sexual assault to force or coerce their victims into a compromise in order to escape the rigours of law. Such practices have been categorically looked down upon by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, and must not be encouraged in any judicial proceeding or stage”,stated the impleading application filed in the criminal appeal filed by Robin.
Since the Court cannot always be assured that the consent given by the victim in compromising the case is a genuine consent, there is every chance that she might have been pressurised by the convicts or the trauma undergone by her all the years might have compelled her to opt for a compromise. In fact, accepting this proposition will put an additional burden on the victim. The accused may use all his influence to pressurise her for a compromise. So, in the interest of justice and to avoid unnecessary pressure/harassment to the victim, it would not be safe in considering the compromise arrived at between the parties in rape cases to be a ground for the Court to exercise the discretionary power under the proviso of Section 376(2) IPC.”
The practice of quashing of criminal proceedings upon marriage of the accused with the rape victim is still quite prevalent among the constitutional courts.