In its detailed order directing that three Mumbai Police personnel will face criminal trial for allegedly coercing a minor gangrape victim to marry her rapist in 2013, a special court has said that the policemen failed to perform their duty to restrain the child marriage.
The court had on May 15 directed that senior police inspector Jaywant Shinde, police inspector Vivek Shende and head constable Janita Bhosale be added as accused to be tried together along with the others in the trial. They will be facing trial under provisions of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and under Section 21 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act for failure to report the commission of a sexual offence. The detailed order made available on Tuesday states that though the three accused had not taken “active participation” in the act of threatening and compelling the then 13-year old victim to marry the accused, they had remained silent.
“They (the three police officials) have not restrained them from performing marriage irrespective of the fact that they were having knowledge shows that they indirectly abated the main accused to induce her for the marriage,” special judge Madhuri H More said.
The three police officials were added as accused under Section 319 of the Criminal Procedure Code following an application filed by the victim’s father through advocate Wesley Menezes. This was based on the testimonies of the victim and her father before the court where they detailed the role of the three police officials in allegedly forcing the girl to marry the accused. According to the testimonies, the minor was gangraped by two men inside the premises of a general store near her house in 2012 after being given a sedative. In 2013, the girl’s family realised she was pregnant and approached the police to register an FIR.
In her deposition, the girl told the court that on February 2, 2013, she was coerced into marrying one of the two accused. “….The fact goes to show that settlement talk about performance of marriage between accused and victim appears to be going on in front of the proposed accused Shende and Shinde still they have not taken action against accused persons to prevent child marriage….the prima facie conduct of these proposed accused to remain silent… itself is sufficient to attract ingredients of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,” the court said.
The victim had said that even though she refused to marry the accused, Shende told her that the brother of the accused will purchase a house for her and bear the expenses of her school and of her child.