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  • "Cannot quash criminal proceedings against 'Rape' accused who married the complainant"- Bombay HC

    July 11, 2016

    The victim marrying her rapist is not an unusual custom. The practice exists not due to ignorance of the abuse faced by the woman, but as an attempt to redeem her honour by marrying her to the man who is willing to accept a non-virgin and for him to grab the chance to dilute or waive of punishment completely and escape the justice.

    The Bombay High-court in its recent judgement refused to quash criminal proceedings against a man who married a lady, who had accused him of raping her.

    According to the victim the accused had repeatedly induced her to have physical relationship with him under the false pretext of marriage. She had to undergo abortion twice and later complained to police after he refused to solemnise the marriage and avoided her.

    The Public prosecutor submitted before the court, that police made several attempts to arrest the accused and investigating authority had to issue a look out notice against him since he was not available for investigation and was absconding.

    Later the accused through writ-petition claimed that he had married the victim on 29th April and victim submitted she is consenting for quashing the FIR.

    However the court observed: “The conduct of the accused is required to be deprecated. It can be noted that after realising that FIR has been registered and the investigating machinery is looking out for him, he had come to Mumbai and purportedly solemnised the marriage on 29 April 2016. It is pertinent to note that the declaration that both the parties have married to each other was executed on 29 April 2016. The present petition was filed on 30 April 2016 and the affidavit tendered by the complainant giving consent for quashing the impugned FIR was affirmed on 30 April 2016. The approach of the accused is apparently under clouds of suspicion. In view of the circumstances, although the Petitioner and the third Respondent have solemnised the marriage as stated by them, we are not inclined to quash the FIR under challenge.”
     

    OUR TAKE

    The judgement needs to be lauded. The court has rightly observed that marriage does not nullify the incident of rape and accused cannot be exonerated from the crime he committed simply because he agreed to marry her. The offence of rape is ‘non-compoundable’ offence- so serious that charges cannot be dropped because perpetrator and victim reach a settlement. The victim may consider it convenient to marry her assailant because the pressure could be in the form of society looking down on her, no scope for marriage or proper rehabilitation. But a rape is a rape and cannot be compounded merely because under duress, a woman is forced to enter into a marriage. Once a crime is committed it stays as such.


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