HC upholds acquittal of Muslim youth accused of raping Hindu girl

New Delhi: A Muslim youth, accused of raping a teenaged Hindu girl he married nine years ago after eloping, has got reprieve from the Delhi High Court which upheld his acquittal, observing that religion was the “biggest hurdle” in their matrimonial alliance.

Hasim, a hairdresser in southeast Delhi, and the 14-year- old schoolgirl were in love with each other and had twice ran away from home to be together.

In 2005, the couple apprehending trouble from their respective families, left for Moradabad after their `nikah` (marriage) in Delhi and applying for registration under the Special Marriage Act.

The duo were traced to Moradabad by the police and brought back to Delhi where a kidnapping and rape case was slapped on Hasim and the girl was married off elsewhere.

A Delhi trial court acquitted Hasim following which police appealed against the verdict in the high court, saying the girl was a minor.

Upholding the acquittal, the high court said, “This is an unfortunate case where perhaps different religion of the boy and the girl was the biggest hurdle in their way to marry each other.

“They wanted to marry crossing this hurdle, hence firstly nikah was performed on February 11, 2005 and thereafter notice for intended marriage under the Special Marriage Act was also given. However, destiny had something else in store for them.”

In its 16-page judgment, a bench of justices Pratibha Rani and Reva Khetrapal held that opposition to runaway marriages by parents is mostly on account of caste, religion or disparities in social status.

“With a view to breaking the matrimonial alliance, they (girl`s parents) continue pressing the charge of kidnapping and rape on the boy,” it said.

The court observed that “runaway marriages not only cause mental agony to the family of the couple but also compel the couple to run for shelter to protect their lives and escape honour killing.”

Source: Zee News

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