Man rapes minor wife, Madhya Pradesh HC denies fifth bail plea

The accused has been booked under Section 363, 366, 376 of IPC, and Sections 5 and 6 of POCSO Act.

Bhopal: A man accused of establishing physical relationship with his ‘wife’ who was below 18 years at the time of the alleged offence has been booked for committing rape. The Madhya Pradesh High Court (Gwalior Bench) has recently denied bail to the man accused of rape under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

The High Court said physical relationship with a minor wife, i.e., below the age of 18 years comes within the category of rape.

According to a report, the accused Ajay Jatav was arrested on January 31 this year. The court was hearing Jatav bail petition for the fifth time.

He was booked under Section 363 (punishment for kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage), 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Sections 5 and 6 of the POCSO Act.

In the previous (fourth bail plea) hearing on October 21, the father of the girl said his daughter was 17 years and 6 months when the ‘offence’ was committed. The Court, however, refused to consider the father’s statement as a ground to grant bail to Jatav.

Awdhesh Sharma, counsel of Jatav, also informed the Court that the girl herself said they developed physical relationship only after she turned 18 year and got married to Jatav.

A report of the hospital states that the girl gave birth to a child on September 16, 2020. It was clear that she became pregnant in December 2019, the state said.

The state further said that the girl is born on February 1, 2002 that makes it clear that she had become pregnant when she was a minor.

In 2017, the Supreme Court had read down exception 2 to Section 375 (which defines rape) of the Indian Penal Code that allowed such a sexual act, said Justice GS Ahluwalia. The Supreme Court had increased the age of consent for such acts from 15 to 18.

first published:Nov. 22, 2021, 2:44 p.m.

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