Thirty years after a 16-year-old boy, now 46, was booked for kidnapping and raping a teenager, a sessions court last week discharged him of all charges. The case against the boy was registered in 1988 at the Airport police station in Mumbai, when he was 16.
The prosecution had claimed that the accused had enticed a 17-year-old girl from the legal custody of her parents with the promise of marriage and committed rape. The discharge application filed by the accused stated it was a case of love affair between him and the minor girl.
“From the testimony of the victim, it appears that she consented for the sexual intercourse. At the relevant time, she was above 16 years of age. As per section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, in its applicability in the year 1988, consensual sexual intercourse with a girl above 16 years of age was excluded from the definition of rape. The age of accused was also 16 years. By no stretch of imagination it can be said that the accused of age 16 years enticed the girl of age 17 years from the legal custody of her parents and committed rape on her,” Principal Judge P V Ganediwala said in her order.
The court said the accused, now 46, who works in a private company, had himself surrendered before the Airport police station and hence was brought before the court. The court ordered his release stating that as he was a minor at the time of the offence, no purpose would be served by committing the case before the Juvenile Justice Board on the ground of his age at the time of the alleged offences in 1988. It further said no sufficient material was available in the chargesheet to proceed with the case against him.
According to the prosecution, the girl was studying in Class VIII in 1988. In January 1988, her parents began looking for her when they could not find her at home. Suspecting the role of the accused, who was their neighbour, the girl’s family filed a police complaint against him. Four days later, the girl was found at the house of the accused in Andheri. The girl in her statement had said the boy had taken her to his native place in Gujarat.