Facts of the Case
Robin Vadakkumchery was convicted under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO), 2021 for raping and impregnating a 16-year-old girl. Later in the year 2017, the victim had given birth to a girl child and thereafter, a complaint was filed. Initially, the victim’s father took the blame; however, the investigation revealed that the former priest Robin Vadakkumchery had raped the victim. In 2016, Robin Vadakkumchery was arrested and in 2019 Robin Vadakkumchery was sentenced to life imprisonment of 20 years.
During the proceedings that took place in 2018, the victim had told the court that she wished to marry the former priest; however, on the basis of evidence adduced which proved her minority, the Court rejected her request. Thereon, in 2020, the convict filed a plea before the Kerala High Court requesting the Court to suspend his sentence so as to marry the victim. The convict had stated that he wished to marry the victim and take care of his child.
Thereafter, the victim filed an application before the Kerala High Court seeking permission to marry the convict. However, the High Court dismissed the application and held that “judicial approval cannot be granted to marriage when the findings of the trial court that a minor was raped are in force.” Thereon, on 31st July, 2021, the victim filed a petition before the Supreme Court. Additionally, Robin Vadakkumchery had also filed a petition before the Supreme Court to suspend his sentence for marrying the victim.
Arguments before the Court
The petitioner had submitted that her child was four years old and that the child was old enough to go to school and that the child’s fathers name had to be written in the school admission application form. The Advocate appearing for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner only sought permission to marry the convict and not any reduction in his sentence. The Advocate appearing for Robin Vadakkumchery contended that the accused person’s fundamental right to marry was being hindered.
Observation & Decision of the Court
The bench constituted by Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari considered the submissions and observed that “it saw no reason to disturb the High Court’s order refusing to suspend Robins (convict) sentence.”
In response to the contention pertaining to the convict’s fundamental right to marry, the Court stated that he (accused) had brought it upon himself.
The Court dismissed the victim’s and the convict’s petition and asked the petitioners to approach the Kerala High Court.