Prima facie case against Indian priest for assaulting minor in USA: HC told

The Centre on Monday told the Delhi High Court that there is a "prima facie" case against Indian Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl during his stay in USA in 2004, warranting his extradition.

New Delhi: The Centre on Monday told the Delhi High Court that there is a "prima facie" case against Indian Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl during his stay in USA in 2004, warranting his extradition.

The submission made before Justice Pratibha Rani against accused Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul also states that the present "petition being without merits and deserves to be dismissed at the threshold".

"The contention raised by the fugitive criminal (FC) that the requesting state (USA) has sought extradition of the FC on the basis of second amended complaint and the first complaint is not there, so it is irrelevant for the purpose of present proceedings...

"The fact of the matter is that USA has sent all relevant documents in accordance with treaty and therefore, Extradition Magistrate is not obliged to go into other extraneous details for ascertaining the existence of a prima facie case against the FC warranting his extradition," the central government's Standing Counsel said in its reply.

Jeyapaul, 59, had approached the High Court after his representation to the Centre challenging a trial court order recommending his extradition was rejected by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on October 30 and an order to extradite him issued on October 31.

However, the High Court had November 3 restrained the Centre from extraditing the accused till today.

The court has fixed the matter for tomorrow to hear the final arguments.

The reply also states "the complaint as well as the victim's affidavit clearly describe the manner in which the offence was committed and that too repeatedly.

"Even here in India, the apex court has time and again reiterated the principle of law in respect of rape cases that conviction can be done on the sole testimony of the victim."

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