A rape survivor from Kerala on July 31 moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to marry former Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery, the convict in the case. The court will hear the case on August 2, media reports said.
Vadakkumchery was sentenced to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment after a court in February 2019 found him guilty of raping and impregnating the woman, who was a minor at the time of the incident. Following this, the Church initiated steps to dismiss him from the priesthood.
The girl belonged to a Catholic family in a parish where Vadakkumchery worked as a priest. In May 2016, the girl, who had appeared for the Class 10 exam, went to Vadakkumchery for some work. The priest took the girl to his bedroom and raped her.
On February 7, 2017, the girl developed severe pain in her abdomen and was taken to a nearby hospital, which referred her to Christu Raja Hospital, Koothuparamba, in Kannur, run by nuns of the Sacred Heart Congregation. On examination, it was revealed that the girl was pregnant; she subsequently gave birth.
The girl told her mother about the incident at the parsonage, after which the family took up the matter with Vadakkumchery, who offered to pay the hospital bill of ₹30,000.
After a series of attempts to cover up the matter, Vadakkunchery was arrested from Kochi in February 2017.
On February 17 this year, The Kerala High Court dismissed the plea filed by Vadakkumchery, who asked to be let out on bail so that he could “marry the survivor”. The court said there was no merit in the plea.
The HC said no compromise could be made nor could a lenient view be accepted in matters related to sexual offences. The court reportedly cited the trial court’s finding that the survivor was a minor during the time of the assault, stating that it still remains and that granting bail to the priest and allowing them to get married would be like giving it legal sanctity.