The plea comes five months after rape convict and former priest Robin Vadakkumcherry’s plea to marry survivor was dismissed by Kerala HC.

Robin in a blue shirt and specs looks down and walks out of a building with three-four policemen
news Court Saturday, July 31, 2021 - 15:05

Five months after the Kerala High Court dismissed the outrageous plea of rape convict and former Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery to be let out on bail so he could marry the survivor, the rape survivor has approached the Supreme Court with the same request - permission to marry the ex-priest who had raped and impregnated her when she was a minor. B Balagopal of Mathrubhumi reports that the survivor from Kottiyoor in Kerala claimed in her plea that it was her own decision to marry the man who was convicted and is serving time in prison. The Supreme Court would hear the plea on Monday.

The survivor’s advocate tells TNM that she wants to marry the ex-priest because their child was now four years old and ready for school and she wants the father’s name on the application. According to the advocate, his client just wants the marriage to happen and is not asking for any kind of mercy for Robin or that his sentence be reduced. 

The woman has also mentioned that the plea comes of her own accord. However, this is questionable as her family had been put through a lot of pressure to cover up for the rapist priest and all of them had turned hostile in court. In February 2017, days after the survivor gave birth to a baby, Robin got arrested. But in the weeks that followed, her father had at first claimed he raped his own child and impregnated her, only to later break down and admit it was Robin's baby. 

A Childline officer had at the time told TNM that the family was under pressure to take the blame so Robin could save his face. When the DNA tests proved beyond doubt that Robin was the father, the next step was to claim that it was consensual sex and the girl was 18 at the time, so that POCSO could not be charged against the ex-priest.

During the trial, the survivor declared that it was consensual sex between them and that she had reached the age of consent at the time of the incident - whereas at the time, she was only 16. This statement had made the High Court declare that she had turned hostile. The survivor's mother too had changed her earlier statement in favour of others, accused in the case of trying to cover it up.

Read: Kerala Catholic priest rape case: Was minor victim coerced to say sex was consensual?

In February 2019, after Robin was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison, the Special Prosecutor in the case, Beena Kaliyath, told TNM in an interview that faith and fear in the institution of church would have caused many witnesses to silently support him at the court. She spoke of the many witnesses who told her of receiving calls that asked them not to defame the church. Along with the mother, the father of the survivor, who earlier had to lie of raping his daughter to save the church, turned hostile in court. Beena said that the survivor's statement that she was 18 at the time of the incident had also been proven to be a lie - she was only 16 years and five months old then.

In February this year, when it gave its judgment dismissing Robin’s plea for bail, the High Court had made it clear that granting such a plea would be akin to giving judicial approval for the marriage and no compromise can be made in matters related to sexual offences.

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