A special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act court in Mumbai granted bail to a 25-year-old man, arrested on charges of sexual assault and impregnating a 16-year-old after he told the court he was willing to marry the minor.
The accused was granted bail on Wednesday, January 27, after the court noted he was 'willing' to marry the minor, despite being already married, and found out that the relationship between the two was 'consensual'.
The minor's mother, who had initially lodged an FIR against the accused, submitted an affidavit in the court supporting his release, as she wanted him to marry her daughter, reported India Today.
The accused had filed a bail application for the second time as his plea to be set free was earlier rejected by the court.
However, the police opposed the bail plea saying that there was no evidence to show that the man's first wife had consented to his second marriage. They alleged that the minor was unable to understand the consequences, and the accused was taking undue advantage of the situation by offering to marry her.
The advocate of the 25-year-old, told the court that a man was allowed to marry more than once in the community he belonged to.
The accused is an acquaintance of the girl's father. Both had hidden their relationship. When the minor girl told the accused about her pregnancy, he threatened her not to reveal his identity as her unborn child's father.
It was only after her mother noticed body changes that suspected that her daughter was pregnant. By then, her pregnancy had advanced. Later, the accused was identified by the family, following which the mother lodged an FIR. The accused was arrested last year, on October 23.
After hearing the arguments from both sides, the court said both intended to marry each other, and the case is of a consensual relationship. Therefore, there was no need to keep the accused behind bars.
"It cannot be said the first marriage of the accused was not within their knowledge. As it is submitted that the minor intends to marry him and the accused is also willing to marry her once she turns 18 and that the matter is arising out of the affair and it is the case of a consensual relationship, to me, there is no need to keep the accused behind bars,' the media quoted the court's statement.
The court further added that with the investigations over and chargesheet filed, there was "nothing" to reject the bail application of the accused.