Kerala HC rejects priest’s bail please to marry woman he is convicted of raping

Published on Feb 17, 2021 01:03 PM IST

The court said granting bail would mean granting judicial approval to the marriage while observing the woman was a minor when she was raped

Kerala high court. (File photo)
Kerala high court. (File photo)

The Kerala high court on Tuesday dismissed defrocked priest Robin Vadakumchery’s plea seeking bail to marry the woman he has been sentenced to double life for raping when she was a minor. It said granting bail would mean granting judicial approval to the marriage while observing the woman was a minor when she was raped.

Vadakumchery maintained they were in a consensual relationship and that he quit his priesthood to marry her. He added the woman, and her family were also keen for the marriage to protect their child.

“The trial court arrived at the finding that the victim was a child at the time of the incident. As long as the finding remains, allowing the [bail] prayer will amount to granting judicial approval to the marriage directly, indirectly, or by implication,” said Justice Sunil Thomas, while rejecting the bail plea.

Also Read | Sister Abhaya Murder: Kerala priest, nun get life imprisonment

During the trial, the woman’s parents suggested the marriage. But the trial court in 2018 rejected it and sentenced Vadakumchery to a double life term. A year after his conviction, he was defrocked in 2019.

Vadakumchery, 54, was set to become a bishop when he was convicted of raping the girl. The case surfaced in early 2017 after the girl gave birth to a baby.

Initially, her father claimed to have raped his daughter and was arrested. But police found major discrepancies in his statements and during sustained interrogation, he broke down and named Vadakkumchery. He said the church authorities had forced him to own up. Vadakkumchery was arrested near the Kochi airport while trying to flee to Canada.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

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