Delhi HC cites 8-hour delay in filing FIR, grants bail to rape accused
Date: January 29, 2021
Source: The India Express
Location: Delhi, India
Prerana’s Take: Is bringing new laws the solution to child sexual abuse or do we need to work to ensure implementation of the existing laws, and undertake social audits to understand the gaps and evolve strategies to strengthen them?
A 25-year-old man who was arrested for raping and impregnating a 16-year-old girl was on Wednesday granted bail by a special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act court in Mumbai after he told the court that he was willing to marry the minor.
The accused was granted bail after the court found that the relationship between the man, who is already married, and the minor girl was ‘consensual’ and noted that the man was ‘willing’ to marry the minor after two years when she is an adult.
The mother of the minor, who had initially lodged an FIR, submitted an affidavit in the court supporting his release. The mother told the court that she wanted the accused to marry her daughter who has given birth to their child.
The accused had filed a bail application for the second time as his plea to be set free was earlier rejected by the court.
Police, meanwhile, opposed the bail plea and said there was no evidence to show that the man’s first wife had consented to his second marriage. Police alleged that the man had entrapped the minor who was unable to understand the consequences and now wanted to take undue advantage of the situation by offering to marry her.
Seeking the release of the 25-year-old, his lawyer told the court that a man was allowed to marry more than once in the community of the accused.
What Is The Case?
The case of the prosecution is that the accused is an acquaintance of the girl’s father and the girl had kept her pregnancy a secret.
It was alleged that when the minor girl told the accused about her pregnancy, he threatened her not to reveal his identity as the father of her unborn child.
It was only after her mother noticed body changes that she suspected that her daughter was pregnant. By then, her pregnancy had advanced. The family found out the accused, following which the mother lodged an FIR. The accused was arrested on October 23.
“No need to keep the accused behind bars’: What Did The Court Say?
While passing the order, the judge heard arguments from both sides and said, “It cannot be said the first marriage of the accused was not within their knowledge. As it is submitted that the minor intends to marry him and the accused is also willing to marry her once she turns 18 and that the matter is arising out of the affair and it is the case of a consensual relationship, to me, there is no need to keep the accused behind bars.”
The court further said with the investigations over and chargesheet filed, there was “nothing” to reject the bail application of the accused.
Read the India Today (Source) article here.