Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Apex court nixes rape survivor’s plea to marry accused

Supreme Court

New Delhi, August 3: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the plea of a rape survivor from Kottiyoor, Kerala, who moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to marry her assaulter — a defrocked Catholic priest who is undergoing 20-year imprisonment. The apex court also dismissed a separate plea of the defrocked Priest Robin Vadakkumchery seeking bail on the ground that he wanted to marry the survivor, who was a minor at the time of rape had given birth to a child.

A bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari told the former priest, “The High Court has taken a decision consciously and we would not like to interfere with its finding”.
The apex court told the victim that she may knock on the door of trial court with her plea to marry the former priest. During the hearing, advocate Amit George, appearing for the former priest, said the High Court had passed sweeping directions in the case with regard to the marriage, which is a fundamental right. The bench asked George what is the age of the victim and the former priest to which he replied that his client is 49, while the rape survivor is around 25. The top court then told George, “You yourself have invited sweeping directions from the High Court and it would not like to interfere.”
At the outset, senior advocate Kiran Suri, appearing for the woman, said that she has sought interim bail for the accused for two months, so that he can marry her and give some legitimacy to the four-year-old child. The bench said that both the victim and the former priest can take recourse of whatever remedy is available under law.

Meanwhile, the State prosecution said that it is up to the two adults to decide on the marriage and bail can’t be given. Marriage can be conducted at jail premises but no bail can be allowed, said the Kerala State’s prosecutor.
(Courtesy: PNS)