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Rape Survivor Moves Supreme Court Seeking Permission To Marry POCSO Convict Ex-Catholic Priest

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
31 July 2021 3:11 PM GMT
Rape Survivor Moves Supreme Court Seeking Permission To Marry POCSO Convict Ex-Catholic Priest
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The survivor of the Kottiyoor rape case from Kerala has approached the Supreme Court expressing willingness to marry the former Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment under POCSO for raping and impregnating her while she was a minor.The woman was filed an application in the special leave petition filed by Robin Vadakkumchery challenging the refusal of...

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The survivor of the Kottiyoor rape case from Kerala has approached the Supreme Court expressing willingness to marry the former Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment under POCSO for raping and impregnating her while she was a minor.

The woman was filed an application in the special leave petition filed by Robin Vadakkumchery challenging the refusal of the Kerala High Court to suspend his sentence to marry the rape survivor.

Seeking permission to marry 56-year old Robin, the woman in her plea says that the child is of school-going age, and hence the father's name need to be mentioned in the school admission application form. She supported Robin's application seeking suspension of sentence.

His criminal appeal against the sentence imposed by Special POCSO Court Thalassery in 2019 is pending in the Kerala High Court. 

Robin was the vicar of St.Sebastian's Church, Kottiyoor, Wayanad District, when the crime occurred. The victim gave birth to a girl child in February 2017.

During the trial, an attempt was made by Robin's defence team to argue that the girl was impregnated by her own father. However, the DNA of the child, which clearly attributed paternity to Robin, acted as a clinching piece of evidence, resulting in his conviction.

He was arrested by police in February 2017 on his way to airport in an attempt to flee to Canada. Last year, he moved an application before the Kerala High Court seeking suspension of sentence to marry the survivor, who had by then attained the marriageable age. He claimed in the application that he had consensual sex with the survivor, who was then a minor aged around 16 years. He added that the only impediment to the marriage was his priesthood and now he is eligible for entering wedlock as he had been dispensed with priestly duties and rights by the Pope and has been reduced to the state of a layman. After his conviction, the Vatican had defrocked him from priesthood.

In February this year, a single bench of Justice Sunil Thomas dismissed the said application, saying that judicial approval cannot be granted to marriage when the findings of the trial court that a minor was raped are in force.

The High Court also cited several Supreme Court precedents which held that rape cases cannot be settled by approving marriage between the rapist and the survivor. Challenging this High Court order, Robin has filed special leave petition in the Supreme Court, in which the survivor has filed the present application.

A bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari will consider the matter on Monday, August 2.






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