Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has acquitted a teacher accused of raping a 16-year-old girl, observing that the girl had consented to the act.
The Nagpur bench of the High Court was hearing an appeal filed by Chandrashekar Meshram against the 2004 order of the sessions court, which had held him guilty of rape and sentenced him to seven years in jail.
According to the prosecution, Meshram took the girl from her native Muska village in Gadchiroli district to Nagpur on two occasions on the pretext of seeing a doctor for the treatment of her skin disorder, and raped her. The girl subsequently became pregnant.
Justice MN Gilani however acquitted the accused last week, reversing the lower court`s ruling.
"The victim had voluntarily accompanied the accused without any protest. She agreed to spend night with him in a lodge not once but twice, and when they returned, she kept mum," the judge observed.
The court further said that complaint against Meshram was lodged only because he refused to help the victim to terminate the pregnancy. "The sessions court`s finding that there was no valid consent on the part of the victim is misconceived and inconsistent with the evidence placed on record," it added.