A letter written by a minor Hindu wife from Nari Niketan to her Muslim husband lodged in jail on charges of kidnapping and raping her, led the Delhi High Court to acquit him of the abduction of his minor wife, though it upheld the sentence for raping his below 15-year-old wife.The story is a perfect plot for a Bollywood flick where a minor Hindu girl falls in love with an adult Muslim man. Both of them decide to marry but their religions were a hurdle. Madly in love, both decide to elope.However, the parents of the girl lodged a missing complaint soon after her disappearance in 2008 and after eight months their daughter was found with the man. When asked, the duo said they married each other and also gave a Nikahnama to prove their relationship.The girl said that she had gone with the accused on her own will. She also refused to go along with her parents following which she was sent to the Nari Niketan. The man was arrested and a chargesheet was filed against him under sections 363(Punishment for kidnapping), 366 (Kidnapping) and 376 (rape).The trial court found Sunil Khan, the accused, guilty and sentenced him to seven years of imprisonment for rape among other sentences. Khan filed a plea against his conviction following which Justice Pratibha Rani found that the girl had gone with her own consent with the accused, so it cannot be called abduction. The court also found that the girl had written letters to the accused while he was in jail. It said that the girl had ultimately agreed to accompany her parents only on the condition that no harm would be caused to her husband.”Her categorical admission that she was in deep love with the convict is also reflected in the letter sent by her to the convict from Nari Niketan, expressing her love and full support to him in the situation they were placed. She even informed him that she had been medically examined to ascertain her bony age, which was estimated to be 18 years,” the court said adding that the investigating officer has not preferred to clarify the situation in this regard.However, the court upheld the sentence awarded to the convict for raping his wife, who was below the age of 15. It modified the sentence for the offence to rigorous imprisonment of two years and since the convict had already served the punishment, he was let free.”It is the case of the prosecution that on the date of leaving the house she was aged about 13 years. Thus, at best, prosecution’s case can be that the convict had physical relations with his wife who was below 15 years of age,” the court said.PARENTS COMPLAINThe parents of the girl lodged a missing complaint soon after her disappearance in 2008 and after eight months their daughter was found with the man.
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