Delhi court sentences 49-year-old man to 10 years of RI in child marriage and rape case

The prosecution had established that the child was a victim of circumstances who was forced into marriage by her maternal grandmother.
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.Express illustrations

NEW DELHI: In a landmark judgment related to child marriage and rape case, Delhi’s Special POCSO court at Tis Hazari on Friday sentenced a 49-year-old man to ten years of rigorous imprisonment and awarded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to a victim who was raped when she was 13-year old and forced into a marriage by circumstances against her will.

The Special POCSO court in Delhi had on April 30 this year convicted the 49-year-old accused, Vipin Chaudhury, a resident of Bihar, under Section 376 (2) (i) and (n) of Indian Penal Code (IPC), Section 6 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 and Section 9/10 of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

Judge Ankit Mehta while pronouncing the quantum of sentence on Friday in his verdict against Chaudhuri, after examining all aspects of the case sentenced him to maximum sentences in child marriage and rape case respectively.

Apart from the compensation of Rs 10.5 lakh, the court also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on the accused.

The prosecution had established that the child was a victim of circumstances who was forced into marriage by her maternal grandmother who was the only one in her family to sustain the living.

As per the victim’s statement, she was the only child in the family with no parents and had left studies when she was staying at her maternal grandmother’s residence where she was considered a ‘liability’.

Her father had deserted the family while her mother was mentally challenged and not living with her.

Since her grandmother was ailing, she had requested the Sarpanch and villagers to marry her off to the accused in case of her death. It was through a middle-woman who had informed the victim’s grandmother that the accused had a wife who had passed away and was earning a handsome amount.

“After the death of my grandmother, it was against my will that the villagers forced me to marry the accused,” she had revealed. The accused married her on February 23, 2017 in Bihar when she was over 13 years of age which was established due to bone age test.

In her statement, the victim said that in accused’s village she came to know about his previous two marriages. The first wife who had passed away had two teenage daughters who were living with accused’s mother while the second wife had left him.

“During first two months after the accused got me to his village, he used to beat me mercilessly and force himself upon me which I resented,” said the victim.

Sensing trouble in the village, the accused shifted her to Delhi where again he subjected the victim to torture for sexual relationship.

The merciless beating of the victim forced Delhi residents to inform police which initiated the process of registration of FIR and probe the incident.

It was Delhi Legal Service Authority (DLSA) which appointed advocate Virender Verma to provide legal support to the victim during the trial period which was crucial for the prosecution that saw delivery of justice.

Welcoming the pronouncement, advocate Verma affirmed that he had pleaded for maximum and rigorous imprisonment to the accused with adequate compensation for the victim. “I express my gratitude to the honorable court which considered all aspects of the case expeditiously,” he said.

Reacting to Delhi court’s verdict, lawyer, activist and founder of Child Marriage Free India (CMFI) Bhuwan Ribhu said,” This is a landmark and welcome judgement, once again establishing that child marriage leads to child rape. I hope this acts as a precedent. By acting decisively against child marriage, we can end it by 2030. While the government aims to make India a developed country, it can only happen by ensuring access to free education till 18 years of age and eliminating child marriage.”

The victim recorded in her statement that she endured rape for more than a year with nowhere to go and no one to bank upon.

She told the court that her 66-year-old ‘mother- in-law’ also tortured her to go for physical relationship so that she bore a child from the accused. Based on the victim’s complaint, his mother was also an accused in the case but the court acquitted her.

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