The Chief Justice of India SA Bobde Monday granted a 23-year-old government employee in Maharashtra, accused of repeatedly raping a minor girl in 2014-15, protection from arrest for four weeks, as he questioned the accused whether he would be interested in marrying the survivor.
The accused, Mohit Subhash Chavan, a technician with the Maharashtra State Electric Production Company had allegedly raped a then 16-year-old schoolgirl in 2014-15 and now faces charges under the POSCO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, 2012.
The accused had approached the Supreme Court seeking protection from arrest after the Bombay High Court (Aurangabad Bench) on February 5 cancelled the anticipatory bail granted to Chavan by a Sessions court, on an application filed by the girl. He had then challenged this order in the Supreme Court, demanding anticipatory bail in the case.
“Will you marry her?”, CJI SA Bobde asked the petitioner’s lawyer when the matter was taken up for hearing, further suggesting: “You should have thought before seducing and raping the young girl. You knew you are a government servant.”
If you want to marry, we can help you. If not, you lose your job and go to jail: CJI SA Bobde
In response, the lawyer appearing for the accused said, “Initially, I wanted to marry her. But she refused. Now I cannot as I am already married.” To this, Bobde further said: “If you want to marry, we can help you. If not, you lose your job and go to jail.”
The apex court granted the accused protection from arrest for four weeks and directed him to apply for regular bail.
The 2014-15 rape case which accused a Maharashtra Govt employee of repeatedly raping a minor
The incident dates back to the year 2014-15 when both the accused and the victim were minors. The accused, presently aged 23 years used to stalk the victim. Since the two were distant relatives, they visited each other’s houses frequently. The victim had alleged that once while her parents were out of town, Chavan, clandestinely entered her house from a backside door and committed rape on her. He allegedly gagged the victim’s mouth and tied her hands and legs.
The victim claimed that the accused started repeatedly raping her, thereafter. She has also stated that sometimes, he used to use a contraceptive.
Since the accused threatened her that he would throw acid on her face if she disclosed the incident to anyone and also cause harm to her family members, the victim did not disclose her plight to anyone.
At last, in 2019, the victim decided to brake her silence and approached the police with a complaint against Chavan. Based on this, an FIR was lodged against him under sections 376, 417, 506 of the Indian Penal Code and under Sections 4 and 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).
The victim claimed that when she had earlier tried to lodge a police complaint with the help of a social worker, the mother of the accused dissuaded her from doing so. She had persuaded the family of the victim by assuring that she would get her son (the accused) married to the victim when the latter attained majority. The accused, however, backtracked from his promise and married someone else.
The accused’s mother had also dishonestly got the illiterate mother of the victim to sign a stamp paper which stated that there was an affair between the two and with her consent, they both had indulged in sex.
Similar observations made by a Mumbai court
Earlier, in a similar incident, a special court in Mumbai had granted bail to a 25-year-old man who raped and impregnated a 16-year-old girl after he expressed willingness to marry the minor girl. We reported how the POCSO Act court had granted bail to the accused, who is already married after it found that their relationship was ‘consensual’. The 16-year old’s mother has also submitted an affidavit seeking the release of the accused stating that her daughter had given birth to their daughter. The court had then noted that the man was ‘willing’ to marry the minor after two years when she is an adult.