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Kerala rape convict priest’s plea to marry survivor not new — here are similar cases from past

Robin Vadakkumchery, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for raping & impregnating a minor girl, has moved Kerala HC, seeking to marry the survivor & take care of the child.

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New Delhi: A 52-year old Catholic priest in Kerala, Robin Vadakkumchery, sentenced last year to 20 years imprisonment for raping and impregnating a minor girl, has moved the Kerala High Court seeking to marry the survivor and take care of the child.

He also sought two month-bail to prepare for the wedding. 

In February 2019, a Thalassery POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) court sentenced Robin to 60 years in prison under different sections for the 2016 rape. The girl was 16 years old at the time. The court eventually brought his jail term to 20 years, allowing him to serve three sentences together.

The instance isn’t a one off; marry-your-rapist laws have existed in countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Tunisia where people advocated for rape-marriage as it would save the survivor and her family from stigma of rape. There is also the assumption that no one else would be willing to marry a rape survivor. 

ThePrint looks at similar cases in the past in India, where rapists have got or sought bail on the condition of marrying the survivor. 

Also read: Kerala priest Vadakkumchery defrocked — the 2016 rape case against him and its many twists

Madras High Court bail to rape accused

In June 2015, the Madras High Court had granted bail to a rape accused to mediate with the survivor. The incident had occurred in 2008 and the man was convicted in 2012. 

The survivor was reportedly a minor when the rape took place and even gave birth to a child after the rape. Questioning the decision to grant bail to her attacker for mediation, the survivor said at the time: “I am not ready to talk or get married to him. Why are they asking me to talk to him after seven years?”

The bail order reportedly referred to the survivor as “nobody’s wife” and “an unwed mother”, and said that the child is the “main victim”, who will carry a “social stigma”. The order stated that it was a “fit case for mediation”. 

Woman in Odisha marries her ‘rapist’ in prison

In 2015, a woman in Odisha married her alleged rapist as she reportedly had “no other option”. A joint petition by the accused and the survivor was filed, following which the judge ordered prison officials to organise the wedding. 

They were married in Jharpada jail in Bhubaneswar on 28 January, where the man had been lodged since his arrest in 2014. After the wedding, the accused was granted bail and the couple lived with the bride’s family.

The survivor’s father had said that the family was going to drop all charges.

He said that his daughter had no other option but to marry the accused. “Her whole life would have been ruined. And we would have to put up with the embarrassment forever,” he said.

Also read: Delhi Police clears girl who created fake Snapchat profile and started rape talk

Interim bail granted for survivor to marry ‘rapist’

In September 2014, a 15-year old rape survivor had filed a case against her alleged rapist, a 26-year old man, Deepak Garg.

Shortly after, a Delhi court granted interim bail to the accused within seven days of his arrest on the grounds that the survivor’s family agreed to get their daughter married to Garg.

Garg married the rape survivor and in the next date of the bail hearing, the Delhi court changed the interim bail to regular bail on the grounds that the accused and the survivor were married. 

The interim bail order by Judge Vikas Dhull said: “In the facts and circumstances, having regard to the fact that both parties intend to get the child victim and accused married. Therefore, in these facts, the accused is admitted to interim bail for a period of 15 days…”

Man who brutally raped nurse pleads to marry her

In May 2005, additional sessions judge of Karkardooma court in Delhi, Justice J.M. Malik deferred his judgement by a day after a rape accused said he would marry the survivor. Minutes before Malik was about to pronounce the quantum of punishment, the accused said he would marry the survivor as now he was a reformed man and pleaded the court for leniency.

He said he would be willing to marry the survivor, who was a nurse, as no one would be willing to marry her due to the stigma. Malik deferred the judgement, and ordered the survivor and her family to appear before the court the next day to file their reply, in response to the accused’s offer. The survivor, however, refused to marry the accused.

In September 2003, the accused, who was a ward boy at Shanti Mukund Hospital in Delhi, forced himself on the nurse. 

When she resisted, he plunged his fingers into her eyes gouging out her right eye and wounded the left. He then allegedly dragged her to the bathroom and raped her and locked her in. 

Also read: Pope Francis expels Kerala church priest convicted of raping 16-year-old


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  1. Way back in the eighties, I remember a news story on Doordarshan. A police constable had raped a blind girl. So the court ordered him to marry her. Even as a child I felt that this was compounding a rape with a bigger crime. And the victim was being forced into a lifetime of rape. Such acts need to be made completely illegal and the courts should not be willing accomplices in this.

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