Consent of a minor is not consent in the eyes of law, Delhi High Court has observed while denying bail to a man accused of raping a 16-year-old girl and also getting her date of birth changed on her Aadhaar card.
The high court also said the conduct of the man in getting the girl's date of birth changed on the Aadhaar card was a "serious offence".
"It seems that the applicant (man) wanted to take advantage by getting the date of birth on the Aadhaar card changed so that when the applicant established physical relationship with the complainant, she was not a minor.
"The consent of the minor at the age of 16 years, specially, when the applicant was 23 years old and already married also disentitles him for grant of bail. Consent of a minor is no consent in the eyes of law," Justice Jasmeet Singh said in a recent order.
An FIR was lodged in 2019 on the complaint of the girl's father that his daughter was missing. Later, the girl was traced and rescued from Uttar Pradesh's Sambhal district and brought back.
The girl, who was found in the company of the man, said in her statement before a magistrate that he was her boyfriend and she stayed with him for about one and a half months.
She further said the man established physical relationships with her consent and that she wanted to stay with him.
The man sought bail on grounds that he had been in custody since 2019 and the chargesheet filed.
The judge said, "In the present case, I am of the view that the girl was merely 16 years on the date of incident. The applicant was 23 years old and was already married. It is stated by... counsel appearing for the complainant (girl) that she has interacted with the complainant and the complainant has informed her that it was the applicant who took her to the office of SDM (subdivisional magistrate) and got her date of birth changed in the Aadhaar card from the year 2002 to March 5, 2000 only for the purpose of showing that the date of the establishing physical relationship she was not a minor."
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