Court acquits youth of kidnap, rape charges

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) A Delhi Court has acquitted a youth of kidnapping and rape charges, saying having physical relations with one's minor wife, aged over 15 years, is not rape.

Additional Sessions Judge Savita Rao Oct 21 acquitted Bihar resident Prashant Kumar Sahani of charges of kidnapping and raping the girl. The judge said the girl eloped with the accused on her own and married him out of her "own sweet will" and later "voluntarily" established physical relations as she was in love with him.

The court said: "It has been established on record that she accompanied the accused out of her own will and wish whereas the accused himself was of young age who neither kidnapped her out of the lawful guardianship of her parents with intent to marry her against her wishes nor committed any rape upon her, continuation of trial against the accused in these circumstances would be a futile exercise for the same outcome in future."

"Since there was no incriminating evidence against the accused, as discussed above, statement of accused was dispensed with and he is acquitted of the offences under section 363/366/376 (kidnapping, inducing woman to compel her marriage and rape) of the IPC," it added.

The court also took note that it was the girl, a resident of Delhi, who last year called Sahani to the national capital from his village in Bihar and eloped with him thereafter.

It also observed that she did not raise any alarm during her journey to Bihar which clearly shows she was the consenting party to the whole incident.

Sahani, brother-in-law of a tenant in the house owned by the girl's father, often visited his relative and became friendly with the girl.

The two married on April 2 last year. Sahani was put on trial after her father lodged a police complaint.

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