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UP man, whose inter-caste marriage was opposed by khap, cleared of rape charges

The man’s sisters had petitioned the Supreme Court that false cases were lodged against Ravi, prompting the top court to order an investigation by a special team. He was cleared of all charges earlier this week.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2018 07:07 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UP,Inter caste marriage,Khap panchayat
The Supreme Court had ordered a special team to probe charges against Ravi.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

Ravi is a relieved man, more than three years after he was accused of raping the woman he loved and married as well as illegally keeping drugs for which he spent over three months in jail.

Uttar Pradesh police told the Supreme Court on Thursday that both charges were false and steps will be taken to close them.

The state government did not reveal why he was charged — falsely, going by the police statement. But a petition filed by his sisters before the top court tells what happened with the 28-year-old man, who is known only by his first name.

Ravi is a Dalit from a village in Baghpat district of UP and the cases were foisted on him after he married a woman from the Jat community, the plea says.

His sisters rushed to the top court in September 2015 after a khap panchayat — a village council without any legal backing — issued a diktat that both be raped and paraded naked as revenge for their brother eloping with a married woman from a community considered higher in the caste order than his.

The sisters complained that false cases were lodged against Ravi, prompting the top court to order an investigation by a special team.

Ravi was in jail for three-and-a-half months before the court released him on bail on September 16, 2015. Police protection was given to the family that fled the village fearing a backlash.

At a hearing on April 5 this year, UP’s additional advocate general Aishwarya Bhati informed a top court bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar that no evidence was found against Ravi for the drugs charges. The bench allowed the state to file a closure report on this case.

Also, the court recorded in its order that the “victim” had appeared before the judges and denied the sexual assault charges against Ravi. This prompted additional advocate general Bhati to assure that the rape case would be closed too.

The bench said it will order an inquiry against police officers who initiated the “false” criminal proceedings.

According to Ravi’s counsel Rahul Tyagi, the family was under pressure from police to withdraw the court petition. The family lives in fear despite protection and doesn’t want to return to the village.

“We can tell them (the government) to take over your land and compensate you because you will not be able to enjoy your property,” the bench said and sought the family’s response.

First Published: Apr 08, 2018 20:04 IST