Friday, May 3, 2019

Give 10 Acres Land to Girl, Bombay HC Tells Lawyer Who Married a 14-year-old

The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed a 56-year-old lawyer, facing a case of rape for marrying a 14-year-old girl, to give ten acres of land to her and ensure she finishes her education.

A division bench of justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre was hearing a petition filed by the lawyer seeking that the case registered against him be quashed. He argued that the girl, now 18 years old and hence an adult, had consented to continue the marriage and had no objection if the case was quashed.

The lawyer was arrested by the city police in December 2017 for rape and other offenses under the IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act. The girl was 14 when the accused, then 52, "married" her in 2014.

In her complaint, the girl had claimed she was forced into the marriage by her grandparents. The lawyer was in judicial custody for around 10 months and then released on bail. The girl turned 18 on September 17, 2018, after which the lawyer moved the High Court, seeking quashing of the case.

Additional public prosecutor Aruna Kamat Pai opposed the petition, saying quashing such a case would set a bad precedent.

The judges directed the accused to open a fixed deposit (FD) account with Rs seven lakh for the girl, ensure that she finishes her education, and transfer ten acres of land in her name in his village. The court adjourned the case to September 2019 when it will see if the order has been complied with, and decide whether to quash the case.

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