Karnataka HC Grants Bail to Rape Accused for Marriage with Victim

In a significant decision, the Karnataka High Court has granted a 23-year-old man, arrested under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 16 days of bail to marry the woman he was accused of raping. The accused has been in jail since the charges were brought against him when the victim was a minor. Now 18, the victim has consented to the marriage, which will take place during the bail period.

Justice M. Nagaprasanna ordered the interim release of the accused from Mysore city jail from June 17 to July 3, citing the marriage and the welfare of their one-year-old child as key considerations. The court aims to prevent any potential social stigma that could affect the child.

During the proceedings, it emerged that the couple had previously eloped and married informally at a temple, leading to the woman’s pregnancy at the age of 16 years and 9 months. Her mother had filed a rape complaint following their elopement. The police later recovered the woman and arrested the accused.

Since his arrest on February 16, 2023, the accused has been in judicial custody. The court’s decision to grant bail is grounded in the specific circumstances of the case, notably the birth of their child and their ongoing relationship. The judge stipulated that a marriage certificate must be presented at the next hearing on July 4. Additionally, the accused is required to report weekly to the local police station.

This ruling also follows verification through DNA testing, confirming that the accused and the victim are the biological parents of the child. With the family now supporting the marriage, the court utilized its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to grant the accused the opportunity to marry and thus support his child and partner.

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Justice Nagaprasanna emphasized that the decision was made in the best interests of the child, ensuring that the child would not face future ostracization and that the mother would be able to properly nurture her child without undue hardship.

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