In the Kottiyoor rape case, the Kerala High Court has reduced the sentence awarded to the convict, former priest Robin Mathew Vadakkumchery. from 20 years to 10 years. The former priest was accused of raping and impregnating a minor girl in 2016.
A rigorous imprisonment of 20 years was awarded to the convict by the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence (POCSO) Court at Thalassery in 2019. He was booked under Section 376 (2) (f) of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with repeated rape of the same woman and provisions of the POCSO Act.
Vadakkumchery was arrested in February 2017 and has already served five years of jail term.
However, Kerala High Court’s Justice Narayana Pisharadi reduced the sentence of the accused. Justice Pisharadi changed the charges to section 376 (1) of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with rape. Since the charges have changed, the sentence awarded was also reduced to 10 years, along with a fine of one lakh rupees. It is to be noted that the amount of fine stood at 10 lakh rupees under previous sections.
Kottiyoor Rape Case
A minor survivor had submitted a statement to the police that she was raped and impregnated by her own father. Although, during further examination, the survivor changed her statement from rape to it being consensual sexual intercourse with the priest. The accused Robin Mathew Vadakkumchery accepted that the child born was his and the lawyer made arguments on how “it was natural human conduct” according to the Indian Mythology and Puranas.
The entire incident came to light when the minor girl gave birth to a child in a hospital in the Kannur district in February 2017.
The court, however, said that the question, in the case, is whether there is a legal justification for the accused to have sexual intercourse with a minor. It is not a moral issue. The court also said that it finds the act not legal and punishable under sections 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code and section 3 (penetrative sexual assault), 4 (unnatural intercourse), 5 (accused to be awarded not less than 20 years of rigorous imprisonment) and 6 (fine imposed) of the POCSO Act.
The court said that the accused’s “sexual adventures” had “wrecked” the life of the survivor. The only reason why the court did not impose a life sentence upon the accused is that the survivor had given birth to a child and was a single parent.
Although, later the survivor approached the Supreme Court expressing willingness to marry the accused and Robin Vadakkumchery also filed a petition at Apex Court seeking a suspension of the sentence as he wanted to marry the survivor. Both of the pleas were rejected on August 2 this year.