October 22, 2022
“No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes. On the contrary, whatever the punishment, once a specific crime has appeared for the first time, its reappearance is more likely than its initial emergence could ever have been.” - Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was a political philosopher, author and Holocaust survivor.
In the olden days when cannibals killed and consumed whites in Africa they used to beat drums to drown the cries of persons being cannibalized. A similar drama is taking place in India presently. When media is full of news and comments on the premature release of rape convicts condemned for life imprisonment in the post-Ghodra violence in Gujarat, rapists from Uttar Pradesh are being released on their promise to marry their victims. But first the facts as reported in the media (Ishita Mishra in The Hindu - 20/10/22).
Accused in five rape cases get bail in U.P. on condition of marrying victims
The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has given bail to three rape accused in the past month on condition that the accused marry the victim. Also in two other cases, bail was granted when the counsel of the accused told the court that the accused will marry the victim as soon as he secured bail.
In the latest order issued on October 10 by the single-judge Bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh, the accused, Monu, who has been in jail since April 2022, was granted bail considering two facts — that the victim and her father did not oppose it, and the victim has already delivered the accused’s child.
Monu was booked for kidnapping, rape and under Sections 3 and 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act by the Kheri district police in Uttar Pradesh after allegedly enticing away the accused when she was just 17 years of age. "Let Monu be released on bail subject to conditions that soon after he comes out of jail, he will perform marriage with the victim within 15 days from the date of release and get the same registered. He will give all rights to the prosecutrix and his child as wife and daughter,” said the order.
On September 30, while hearing the bail application of Shobhan, who was booked for rape, poisoning, criminal intimidation and wrongful confinement by the Amethi police on the complaint of the father of a 19-year-old girl, the judge said he was told by the counsel of the accused that he and the victim were in a relationship and that she was seven months pregnant when the FIR was filed in November 2021.
The counsel of the victim has opposed the prayer for bail, but not disputed the aforesaid facts. Considering the medical evidence and the facts that the prosecutrix has given birth to a child, it would be appropriate to enlarge the accused on bail,” the judge said, adding that the accused can be released on bail on the condition that he will marry the prosecutrix as soon as he comes out of jail on bail.
The bail plea of Suraj Pal, listed in the same court on September 28, too has similar circumstances. Pal was booked by the police for rape and drew charges under the POCSO Act and SC/ST Act as well since the alleged victim was a Dalit and minor. Pal had been in jail since July 2, 2021.
“The counsel of the accused said that the victim lived with the accused for three-and-a-half months in Surat. However, due to the lockdown, they came back. The counsel of the accused submits that soon after he is released from jail, he will perform marriage with the prosecutrix as she has turned major as per the medical evidence. Considering the above facts and circumstances of the case, it would be appropriate to enlarge the accused-applicant on bail,” the order said.
On September 22, Justice Singh heard the bail application of Ram Babu from Unnao district, who was booked for gang rape, poisoning, kidnapping and criminal intimidation and under Sections 5 and 6 of the POCSO Act.
The counsel of the accused told the court that the accused and victim (who was minor at the time of the incident) ‘married’ each other and had a daughter as well. He also said the accused was willing to officially marry the victim and take care of the child.
“The counsel for the victim submits that if the accused is ready to perform marriage with the prosecutrix and he will keep the prosecutrix happy as his wife and give her all the rights of his wife, he has no objection in enlarging the accused applicant on bail. Hence, considering the facts and circumstances of the case, I find it to be a fit case for granting bail,” the order said.
"Let applicant Ram Babu be released on bail with a condition that soon after his release from the jail, he will perform marriage with the prosecutrix as per Hindu rights, rituals and customs including saptpati before the sacred fire,” the order said.
Similarly, the order pertaining to the bail application of Suraj alias Guddu on September 19 stated that the court had enlarged the accused on interim bail of one month to perform marriage with the prosecutrix. Suraj was booked by the Kheri police under IPC sections pertaining to causing hurt by means of poison, rape and criminal intimidation in November 2021.
“The counsel of the accused has shared some photographs of marriage between the two that have been placed on record. The counsel submits that the accused and the prosecutrix are now married and are living as husband and wife. Considering the aforesaid fact, I find it to be a fit case for grant of bail,” Justice Singh ordered.
There are many issues open to discussion including what happens when the rapists divorce or disappear into thin air.
The subject is open to many views. What are yours? Your response is invited in the format given below – Pl stream down a bit. Once again, welcome to reason.