Court says minor’s consent irrelevant, convicts man of rape

A city court has sentenced a 21-year-old man to seven-year imprisonment for statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl, despite her testimony that she had consensual sex with him.

Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain said a minor's consent was not relevant.

The court convicted Rahul of rape, but dismissed charges of kidnapping filed against him because the girl testified that she had voluntarily stayed with him and did not want to live with her parents.

Besides, the girl's parents had filed an affidavit stating that the convict, a resident of Baprolla, had agreed to marry her and they considered him their "son-in-law".

The prosecution, however, demanded maximum punishment. The "mere fact that the convict is willing to marry the victim is not a just and reasonable ground to show any leniency" because the girl was just 13 years and five months old when he had sex with her, prosecutors said.

The Indian Penal Code says sexual relationship with a girl below 16 years of age is punishable irrespective of her consent. The court dismissed the man's plea for leniency since he was willing to marry the girl and that he was unaware of the girl's age. The judge said no one could predict that she would be ready to marry him after becoming a "major" or adult.

The court also declined to believe that he didn't know her age since both had testified that they had been friends for almost three years.

"That the parents of the victim have treated the convict as son-in-law or convinced him to marry the victim are not sufficient to mitigate the facts of the case," the court said.

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