If a girl runs away voluntarily without any persuasion, can boy with whom she eloped be held responsible for abducting the girl? Chh HC explains

Chhattisgarh High Court

Chhattisgarh High Court: Deepak Kumar Tiwari, J., held that, when the accused has not played any active role or persuaded the victim and the victim voluntarily left the protection of her parents and having capacity to know her action, no offence of abduction is made out.

Instant appeal was directed against the decision of Additional Sessions Judge (POCSO) whereby the appellant had been held guilty for the offence under Sections 363, 366 of Penal Code, 1860 and Section 4 of the POCSO Act.

Prosecution’s Case

Prosecutrix was aged about 17 years and the appellant, both were having a love affair. On one night the prosecutrix ran away from the house after which the father of the prosecutrix lodged a missing report.

In 2018, the prosecutrix was recovered from the custody of the appellant and out of the said relationship, a child was born who was 3 months of age.

On completion of the trial, the appellant vide impugned judgment was convicted and sentenced.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court noted that the prosecutrix deposed that two year prior to the incident, she was having a love affair with the appellant and when her family members came to know about the said fact, they started searching groom for her. When the said circumstances came to the knowledge of the prosecutrix, she voluntarily left her house and went to Raipur.

Later, she approached the appellant and asked him to take her along with him, on which, the appellant said that since she was a minor, she could not accompany him. Further, on prosecutrix’s constant requests and pressure and threat to commit suicide, the appellant gave up, reached Raipur and took her along with him.

Further, the prosecutrix specifically stated that the appellant had done nothing wrong with her or against her will.

The prosecutrix even deposed that since the family was against her relationship, hence the appellant lodged the FIR against the appellant.

Bench expressed that, 

In case of sexual molestation, the evidence of the prosecutrix is evident.

In view of the statement of the prosecutrix, it appeared that she had not inculpated the appellant in any manner and nor said anything against him instead she had specifically deposed that her family members wanted to get her married against her will to some other boy, therefore, she voluntarily left her house.

Hence, in view of the above-said circumstances, the appellant assisted her due to having a loving affair.

Therefore, it could not be proved that the appellant had abducted the prosecutrix from the lawful guardianship of her parents and induced in any manner and further looking to the statement of prosecutrix, the appellant had not committed any wrong with her.

High Court found that the trial Court did not properly appreciate the evidence available on record.

Lastly, the Court directed for the release of the appellant. [Anil Ratre v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2022 SCC OnLine Chh 625, decided on 25-3-2022]

Advocates before the Court:

For Appellant Mr. Pragalbh Sharma, Advocate

For Respondent /State Ms. Shubha Shrivastava, Panel Lawyer

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