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"Non-Interference Would Reduce Lady Without Husband's Shelter": Gujarat HC Quashes Man's Conviction For Raping Minor Wife

Sparsh Upadhyay
7 Oct 2021 12:12 PM GMT
Non-Interference Would Reduce Lady Without Husbands Shelter: Gujarat HC Quashes Mans Conviction For Raping Minor Wife
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Stressing that non-interference by the Court would reduce the lady and two children without shelter of husband/father and which wouldn't be in the interest of justice, the Gujarat High Court last week quashed the lower court's conviction order against a man for raping his minor wife.In this case, the alleged victim (wife) had admitted that she, on her own, started living with...

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Stressing that non-interference by the Court would reduce the lady and two children without shelter of husband/father and which wouldn't be in the interest of justice, the Gujarat High Court last week quashed the lower court's conviction order against a man for raping his minor wife.

In this case, the alleged victim (wife) had admitted that she, on her own, started living with the convict/appellant as his wife and she had even given birth to his two children. Importantly, neither she nor the convict/husband disowned the birth and paternity of their two children.

Read more details of the case here: "System Laughing At Us": Gujarat HC Orders Release Of Rape Convict With Whom 'Victim' Willingly Married, Gave Birth To Children

The wife/woman admitted that appellant/convict/husband had kept physical relation with her consent, however, in 2018, he was booked and later on, convicted by the trial Court under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 4, 6, 8 and 12 of the Protection of the Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

Against this backdrop, the Bench of Justice Paresh Upadhyay observed that for Law enforcement agencies this might be termed as an offence under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, however, he did note that the same was observed more in the breach than in compliance, more particularly in the lower strata of society.

Background 

Notably, the appellant and the 'victim' were living together even during the pendency of trial as the man was out on bail and even the trial court took note of this fact that the man and the 'victim' were living with each other as husband-wife and they even had kids, however, the lower court still convicted him for rape and other offences under POCSO Act.

Essentially, the case was tried before the Special Judge (POCSO), Junagadh and the Trial Court vide judgment dated 15.07.2021 convicted him under the aforementioned offences.

Earlier, in August 2021, while hearing this case, commenting upon the conviction judgment and order passed against the man, the Bench of Justice Paresh Upadhyay had orally observed in Gujarati thus:

"Implementation of law with the complete non-application of mind…we have to think over such matters collectively. I can't find fault with the trial court because it was under obligation to implement the law, even the prosecution can't be blamed."

"System Laughing At Us": Gujarat HC Orders Release Of Rape Convict With Whom 'Victim' Willingly Married, Gave Birth To Children

Calling it the glaring aspect of the matter, the Court had noted that neither the mother ('victim') nor the father (rape convict) of the two children disowned their birth nor paternity, and still, the Court added, the father is convicted inter alia under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and is ordered to undergo RI for 10 years.

In fact, the Court noted that the Sessions Court was conscious of the fact that victim and man had married each other since it noted in its judgment that both are staying as husband and wife and thus, any compensation/assistance received from any of the Government(s) needs to be refunded.

"System is laughing at us that a girl who is more than 16 year of age, on her own married the man and gave birth to his children, and his husband has been convicted of rape and is in jail," Justice Upadhyay orally observed In Gujarati.

It is under these circumstances, the High Court found that the conviction recorded by the Sessions Court needed to be set aside, and therefore, the judgment and order of the Special Judge (POCSO) and 3rd Additional Sessions Judge, Junagadh, dated 15.07.2021 was quashed and set aside.

Case title - Ashwinbhai @ Raj Ranchhodbhai Poyala Versus State Of Gujarat

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