On Monday (July 2), the Supreme Court rejected a petition by a rape victim seeking permission to marry the accused, reported Bar and Bench.
The accused has been identified as a 49-year-old Catholic priest named Robin Vadakkumcherry. He had raped a minor girl while serving as the priest of the parish. At that time, the victim had just completed her 10th Std exam and went to the parish for some work. Sensing an opportunity, the Catholic priest forcibly took the girl to the bedroom and raped her. He then intimidated her to not reveal the matter to anyone. When the victim became pregnant, a DNA examination confirmed Vadakkumcherry to be the father of the child.
A POCSO court had found the Catholic priest guilty of rape and sentenced him to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment. At the same time, he was fined ₹2 lac for his crime. However, during the trial, the victim turned hostile and alleged that she was not a minor at the time of the incident. She even went on to claim that the ‘sex’ was ‘consensual.’ Following the conviction of Vadakkumcherry by the POCSO court, he filed an appeal before the Kerala High Court on February 17.
Supreme Court rejects bail petition, directs accused to approach High Court
The High Court had rejected his bail application and made scathing remarks about the Catholic priest. Later, the victim approached the Supreme Court of India seeking the accused’s bail and permission to marry him. She and the accused had challenged the Kerala High Court order. The matter came up for hearing before a 2-Judge Bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Vineet Saran. The girl argued that the bail of the accused will help her marry him and legitimise the child that was born out of an act of rape.
While appearing for Robin Vadakkumcherry, advocate Amit George remarked, “In a bail plea how can my fundamental right to marry be hindered. Observations should not be such that an application cannot be made to the jail superintendent. There are scathing observations by the High Court.” While rejecting the bail plea, the Supreme Court said that the accused brought upon himself the scathing observations of the Kerala High Court. The Judges noted, “We see no reason to disturb the order of the Kerala High Court…We can only request the High Court to hear the accused. Approach the High Court for relief.”