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Delhi HC sends 16-year-old ‘rape survivor’ to shelter home, grants ‘accused’ bail and custody of her child

The court last month granted bail to the accused, a 19-year-old Hindu, after the minor girl, a Muslim, gave a statement that it was a consensual relationship and that she had married him out of her own will and that there was no coercion.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
Updated: October 13, 2021 1:13:40 pm
In March, the mother of the class IX student registered a case with the police that her daughter had gone missing. (File)

The Delhi High Court has sent a 16-year-old ‘rape survivor’ to a government shelter home and handed the custody of her child to his biological father, who is accused by the teenager’s family of rape.

The court last month granted bail to the accused, a 19-year-old Hindu, after the minor girl, a Muslim, gave a statement that it was a consensual relationship and that she had married him out of her own will and that there was no coercion. The order was passed on Wednesday in the bail application moved by the accused through his counsel Dushyant Yadav.

In March, the mother of the class IX student registered a case with the police that her daughter had gone missing. The police found the minor in April and on medical examination, it was found she was five months pregnant. A case under Section 376 IPC and Section 6 POCSO was registered, leading to the arrest of the accused. A boy was born to the teenager in August and her family gave away the child to her brother’s friend in adoption. The child was handed back to the 16-year-old last month after a direction from the court.

Justice Mukta Gupta, while deciding the bail application of the accused, in the order passed on Wednesday, said that the prosecutor is a minor at this stage and she cannot be permitted to live in the company of the accused. However, the bench also noted that the 16-year-old wants the child to be handed over to him and she herself is willing to live in the government shelter home as she would not like to live with her parents.

“Considering the fact that the baby boy cannot be permitted to be languishing in the [shelter home] along with the prosecutrix, custody of the baby boy has been handed over to the petitioner who is his natural father. The parents of the petitioner are also present who state that they will take adequate care of the child,” the court said in the order.

The court further said that the minor girl will remain lodged at the government accommodation till she attains the age of majority or subject to any further orders passed by a competent court. She would be thereafter at liberty to reside wherever she wants, it added.

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The 16-year-old last month told the court that she loves the accused and on attaining the age of majority, she would live with him. She also said that she does not want to live with her family, and was then ordered to be taken to the government shelter home on September 23. Between September 28 and October 12, the child remained with her at the shelter home.

The court last month noted that it appears to be a case where the teenager, being fed up with her family atmosphere, found solace in the company of the man, who has been accused of rape by her family. However, it also noted that consent of the prosecutrix for the relationship is not relevant as she is a minor. A chargesheet has already been filed against the accused by the police before the trial court.

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