New Delhi: A 22-year-old youth, who had eloped with a minor girl and married her with her consent, was sentenced to seven years in jail for raping her by a Delhi court after he could not prove that physical relations between them were consensual.
Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain handed down the minimum sentence, under section 376 (rape) of IPC, to Advesh while noting that the girl had eloped with him and married him voluntarily but he failed to prove that she had given her consent to establish physical relation with him.
"I am of the considered opinion that prosecution has succeeded in bringing home the guilt of the accused beyond the shadow of all reasonable doubts for the offence punishable under Section 376 IPC," the judge said while also imposing a fine of Rs 1,000 on him.
Avdesh was working as a domestic help in a house next to the girl`s residence.
The court, while convicting Avdesh, gave credence to the testimony of the girl that he made physical relations with her against her wishes and he could not prove her statement wrong.
"In the absence of any contrary evidence, I do not find any reason to disbelieve the same (victim`s testimony)", the judge said.
The court, however, dropped the charges of sexual assault under POCSO Act saying the youth did not know that the girl was a minor.
It also acquitted him of the charge of kidnapping while noting that the girl was in love with Avdesh and had eloped with him fearing that her parents would not marry her to him because of their being from different castes.
According to the prosecution, on February 10, 2013, the girl went missing and her mother lodged a complaint against Avdesh who worked as a domestic help in a neighbouring house.
It was found out that the youth had taken the girl to Kanpur and 10 days later they surrendered at a police station nearby after the police arrested his relatives to build up pressure on him.
The girl`s parents then, accompanied by Delhi Police, brought the couple back and she told them that Avdesh had forcefully had sexual intercourse with her on the pretext of marriage.