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7-year RI for marrying minor girl

A. Subramani

CHENNAI: A married man, who "induced" a minor, standard IX girl to elope with him, marry and stay with him for three days, was found guilty of kidnap and rape and sentenced to seven years imprisonment by a Mahila Court here.

G. Kumar (31), married for five years and living with his wife, was the neighbour of the girl. He befriended and convinced her to step out of her house.

He married her at a Mangadu temple on April 14, 2003. The police found them at a bus stop three days later and arrested Kumar.

The prosecution case was that it was only due to enticement and allurement that the girl left her home and "married" and lived with him for three days.

The defence argued that the girl was a major; that she came out of her house voluntarily; that her parents wanted the accused to marry the girl and so hit upon the kidnap-cum-rape theory; that there was no evidence of rape and that he had sex with her only with consent.

Rejecting these contentions, Special Judge S. Vimala said the birth certificate, an unassailable truth, showed that the girl was born on August 14, 1988, aged just 14 years and eight months.

The judge also debunked the defence theory about the intention of the girl's parents. "It is inconceivable that any parent would try to give a daughter in marriage to a married man, that too when he was living with his wife. It will be futile to allege that parents would allege rape just to get their daughter married to him."

The contention that the girl went out of the house voluntarily could not be accepted. Ms. Vimala said there existed a "mental inducement of marriage," causing her exit.

As for the girl's consent for sexual relationship, the judge referred to the settled legal position.

"So far as sexual intercourse is concerned, if the victim is aged below 16 years, the consent or otherwise of the victim is wholly immaterial and irrelevant."

The judge sentenced Kumar to undergo seven years RI, on two counts and imposed a fine of Rs. 1,000 each on both counts.

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