“Her conduct was never of a person in need of help."
A hearing and speech impaired Indian man has been acquitted of allegedly raping his then “15-year-old” schoolmate.
The youth now aged 23, was arrested four years ago for reportedly kidnapping and sexually abusing his minor girlfriend.
It was reported the couple had eloped to Tirupati, India in October 2014. Police hunted down the couple after the girlfriend’s mother lodged a police report.
It was revealed the Indian man was working at a Tripupati restaurant for Rs. 120 (£1.20) per day.
At a special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act Court, the deaf and mute man expressed his plea for not being guilty in sign language.
Using sign language, the 23-year-old defendant claimed that he should not be arrested for being in love and that the couple even got married.
The court stated: “The intention of (the) suspect is not of lust, but for starting (a) family.
“The victim took initiative in the decision to go away with him and understood the meaning of man-woman relationship and marriage.
“She has willingly travelled with him in public transport. She never objected when he introduced her as his wife for procuring residence.”
The pair gave evidence in sign language, which was interpreted by teachers from a special-needs school.
During the trial, the girlfriend stated that the Indian man had forced her to have a sexual relationship but her magistrate’s statement proved otherwise.
In her statement to the magistrate, which was recorded soon after being traced in 2015, the victim accepted that their sexual relations were consensual.
The Pocso court accepted her 2015 statement reasoning that the duo lived in a busy and crowded area in Tirupati. The court said:
“Her conduct was never of a person in need of help. It is seen that they continued cohabitation for a considerable period and did not intend to return.
“She did not attempt to flee when she would go alone to the common toilet.”
The court further added that her medical report supported her magistrate statement that the sex was consensual.
According to the Times of India, another contradiction in the young woman’s statement was noticed.
The court revealed that the teacher had wrongly interpreted in the FIR that she had been a victim of sexual abuse.
It pointed out that this was the case because a “differently-abled boy and girl who were in love chose to live together without parents’ consent.”
The identity of the victim has continued to remain anonymous. This has been done to protect her privacy rights as ordered by the Supreme court guidelines for sexual assault-related cases.