IN ONE of the first instances in Maharashtra, a special court has ordered recovery of Rs 2 lakh compensation, given through a government scheme, from a rape victim after she did not support the prosecution’s case.
In April 2015, when the girl was 17, an FIR was lodged against her 24-year-old neighbour for allegedly raping her on the pretext of marriage, under provisions including under the POCSO Act. Thereafter, she was given Rs 2 lakh as compensation under Manodhairya, the state government’s scheme for victims of rape, child sexual abuse and acid attacks.
According to the FIR, in September 2014, the accused took her to his uncle’s house and had sexual intercourse after promising to marry her. The victim had said the accused had initially proposed marriage but as his parents were not ready, he backed off and, hence, she lodged the complaint.
During the trial which ended last month, the victim told the court that the accused’s parents had, subsequent to the filing of the complaint, agreed to their marriage. She told the court that they married in January 2017 and also have a child. During deposition, she did not admit she was a minor at the time of the alleged offence and denied she was raped. The court said in the absence of evidence that the victim was a minor at that time, the case against the accused could not be proved.
The investigating officer filed an application before the court, seeking action against the victim under Section 22 of POCSO Act for lodging a ‘false’ complaint.
The court said the victim, if considered a minor at that time, cannot be punished under this law, which states that no punishment shall be imposed on a child. “However, the victim has obtained the compensation under Manodhairya scheme, which is meant for rehabilitation of rape survivors. The victim denied that she was raped. In the circumstances, she is not entitled for the benefit of compensation,” the court said.