Holding that the relationship between the 22-year-old and minor was consensual, a special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court granted bail to the man, who was booked under POCSO and Indian Penal Code for kidnap, rape, and refusing to marry the 17-year-old.
The case against the accused was that he had misled the girl and taken her to Pune. According to the prosecution, the accused had promised the minor that they would get married. Both of them stayed in Pune for 15 days and had physical relations. The parents of the accused were staying with her and the accused in the same house in Pune.
After they returned, the accused started to harass the girl physically and mentally, according to the prosecution, which is why she shifted to her mother’s residence. However, she later went to stay with the accused again in Ghatkopar. Subsequently, the parents of the accused took him to Pune. The girl asked the accused to get married, but he refused, after which she filed a complaint.
The advocate for the accused argued that in a consensual relationship, the woman cannot take advantage of the fact that she is a minor. Further, the accused and victim voluntarily resided together. He submitted that the family members were aware of the relationship. Further, the parents did not take any objection or filed a missing complaint and the complaint was only lodged when the dispute arose.
The court while referring to the cases cited by the accused said: “The Hon’ble Court has granted bail to the accused considering the fact that though the victim was minor, the relations between them were consensual and the victim was having full knowledge and capacity to know the full impact of what she is doing.”
The court said that the attendance of the accused during the trial can be secured through stringent bail conditions. The court said: “It appears that the relations between the accused and the victim were consensual and family members of both know about it. At present, the prosecution has filed charge-sheet in the Court. So the investigation is completed. Considerable time will be required to dispose of the matter on merit. Looking into the nature of allegations and that the accused does not have criminal antecedents, according to me, it is a fit case to release the accused on bail on certain terms and conditions.”
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