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Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Punjab and Haryana High Court to aid of unwed teen mother

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30

Allegedly raped multiple times and left to fend for herself, a 14-year-old unwed mother with a newborn in a charitable hospital has been living in constant fear since February, when her ordeal began. Things may change for her with Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan of the Punjab and Haryana High Court not only ordering interim compensation, but also directing the police to look into the victim and the family's threat perception.

Victim's ordeal

  • Taking advantage of absence of victim's father, a woman lures her, after which the petitioner and a co-accused start talking to her in his absence
  • Both accused lure the minor, take her to a nearby forest, where they rape her and click obscene photographs, after which she is raped repeatedly

Justice Sangwan also issued directions to the District Legal Services Authority in Nuh to appoint a woman counsellor to periodically conduct the minor victim's counselling for her rehabilitation and taking care of her health "as she has become a mother at a very young age of 14 years".

The matter was brought to the High Court's notice after an accused sought anticipatory bail in an FIR registered on June 1 at the Ferozepur Jhirka police station in Nuh for procuration of a minor girl, criminal intimidation and other offences, along with provisions of the POCSO Act and Information Technology Act.

Justice Sangwan's Bench was told that the FIR was registered at the instance of the victim's father, claiming that he was a sugar patient and remained in a hospital for several days. Taking advantage of his absence, a woman lured the minor, saying her brother-in-law wanted to talk to her. Thereafter, the petitioner and a co-accused started talking to her in his absence.

On February 5, both accused came to his house on the woman's asking, lured his daughter and took her to a nearby forest, where they raped her before clicking obscene photographs. The victim was raped repeatedly and was taken to a doctor after she fell unwell. It then became apparent that she was three or four months pregnant.

Justice Sangwan directed the award of interim compensation after taking into consideration the fact that the victim was just 14 years old, remained under constant threat to life till date since February despite having given birth to a child, who was stated to be in a charitable hospital at Faridabad.

"The District Legal Services Authority, Nuh, as well as the District Legal Services Authority, Faridabad, will furnish a report in May 2021 about the action taken in this regard, interim compensation provided to the minor victim as well as arrangements for upbringing of the minor child," Justice Sangwan asserted.

Before parting with the case, Justice Sangwan directed the Registry to put the matter and the status report in May next year after receiving it from the district legal services authorities concerned.

from The Tribune

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