Court finds marriage valid, acquits man accused of raping woman
A Delhi Court has recently acquitted a man accused of raping a woman after finding the marriage valid, though it was without documents. The court noted that the prosecutrix had alleged that the accused had raped her.
Delhi Court recently acquitted a man accused of raping a woman after finding the marriage valid, albeit not supported by documents. The court noted that the prosecutrix had alleged that the accused had raped her. Additional Sessions Judge Jagmohan Singh acquitted the accused saying, “In the considered opinion of this Court, the prosecution has failed to prove any of the charges against the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, accused Gaurav Malik is hereby acquitted of all the charged offences.”
“The mere statement of the prosecutrix, as noted above, that too made during her cross-examination, which is also very vague, in itself is not sufficient to bring home the charge under section 380 (Theft) IPC against the accused. The accused, therefore, also deserves to beacquitted of the charge u/s.380 IPC,” the court said in the order. The judge noted further in the order, “Prosecutrix herself has deposed that on 21.07.2014, her marriage was solemnised with the accused at Arya Samaj temple behind Tis Hazari Court and she also took seven rounds (saat phere) around the sacred fire in the presence of the priest.”
The court noted that the prosecutrix also filed on record photographs of the marriage ceremony. The court noted that taking seven rounds around the sacred fire is known as ‘Saptpadi’.
The court referred to Section 7 (2) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956 which gives out the general provision for ‘Saptpadi ‘ wherein it stated that where rites and ceremonies include ‘Saptpadi’ as a ceremony, then the marriage shall be considered complete and valid upon the completion of seventh round around the holy fire. The judge observed, “Both the prosecutrix and the accused are admittedly Hindu by religion. As clear from the deposition of the prosecutrix herself, coupled with the photographs of the marriage ceremony filed by the prosecutrix herself, it is clear that they had undergone the ‘Saptpadi’ ceremony.”
It is not the case of the prosecutrix that the accused was already married when the above marriage ceremony took place between them on 21.07.2014, the court noted. The prosecutrix has also deposed that she had also taken divorce from her earlier husband before her marriage with t accused, it further noted.
“Thus, in the considered opinion of this Court as ‘both the prosecutrix and the accused belonged to Hindu religion and as they had performed ‘Saptpadil’ ceremony at the time of their marriage at Arya Samaj Temple on 21. 07. 2014, a legally valid marriage came into being between them as soon as the seventh round/step around the holy fire was completed,” ASJ Jagmohan Singh said. That being the case, the accused being the legally wedded husband of the prosecutrix was covered under ‘Exception 2’ to Section 375 IPC, as noted above. Hence, the accused deserves to be acquitted of the charge u/s.376 IPC, the judge said in the order.
The prosecutrix and Trustee of Arya Samaj temple were under the impression that unless a so-called marriage certificate was issued by the temple authorities, it was not alegally valid marriage, the judge said. Accused Gaurav Malik was represented by advocate Ravi Drall.
A case of rape and theft was registered at the police station in South Rohini in the year 2015. The prosecutrix filed a complaint on 27.01.2015 and stated that she came into contact with the accused who was running a mobile shop in Sector 2, Rohini, Delhi, in the month of November 2013, when she had given a mobile phone for repair.
Thereafter, the accused started approaching and talking to her. Initially, the accused used to talk to her about her mobile phone but later on, he proposed to her and represented to her that he was in love with her and wanted to marry her, she stated. At that time, the prosecutrix was morally down as she had just taken divorce from her husband and the accused knew that she needed moral support in that difficult time, she claimed.
The prosecutrix further stated that on 21.07.2014, they went to Arya Samaj Mandir, where the accused brought some documents and took her signatures on some papers and assured her that their marriage had been registered. Thereafter, they started residing at the house of the prosecutrix. When the prosecutrix askedthe accused to show her the marriage certificate, he told her that she did not trust him. Parents and brothers of the accused used to make calls to the prosecutrix and threatened her, she alleged.
The accused also told her that he also received calls from them that they would not spare him as they had performed marriage against their wishes, she claimed.