SC dismisses Kerala survivor's plea to marry rapist ex-Catholic priest

·2 min read

The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea by the survivor of the Kottiyoor rape case to allow bail for the convict — former Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery — so they could get married. Robin was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) for raping and impregnating the survivor, who was then a minor at the school he managed in Kerala. The SC bench headed by Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari said that they saw no reason to disturb the verdict of the Kerala High Court, which had earlier dismissed a similar plea by the convict, reports Live Law.

The survivor had stated in her plea that she wanted to marry Robin since she needed to give the father’s name and signature on their child’s school application. Advocate Kiran Suri who appeared for the survivor said that she sought to marry Robin "to give legitimacy to the child."

Advocate Amit George, who appeared for Robin, asked the court how his fundamental right to marry can be hindered in a bail plea. The SC bench then said that they should approach the High Court. Adv Amit argued that the observations made by the High Court were very grim. To this the Supreme Court said, "You have invited it yourself."

In February this year, the Kerala High Court dismissed the plea by Robin asking bail to marry the survivor. There was a lot of skepticism on the survivor’s declaration then that she was of age at the time of the incident and it was consensual sex between them. It was doubted that the survivor and her family had been under a lot of pressure from the church to prevent the conviction of Robin. Though a claim was made that the survivor was over 18 at the time of the crime, the POCSO charges could be removed. However, according to authorities who first investigated the case, the survivor was then reportedly only 16-years-old.

Doubts about the pressures the family was put through had emerged when at first, the father of the survivor had falsely admitted to doing the crime himself, before breaking down and revealing the priest’s name. Robin was soon defrocked. He was arrested in February 2017, days after the survivor gave birth to the child.

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