'Sexual Consent Of Mentally Challenged Woman Irrelevant': Mumbai Court Sentences 24-Year-Old Man To 10 Years Imprisonment

'Sexual Consent Of Mentally Challenged Woman Irrelevant': Mumbai Court Sentences 24-Year-Old Man To 10 Years Imprisonment

Court awards 10 years imprisonment to man, who claimed that he got intimate with a mentally challenged woman with her agreement.

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Saturday, April 27, 2024, 11:34 PM IST
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Mumbai: Observing that the sexual consent of a mentally challenged woman is irrelevant, the sessions court sentenced a 24-year-old man to 10 years imprisonment for impregnating a woman suffering intellectual disability. The convict claimed that he was in a consensual relationship with the 23-year-old woman, whose mental age was evaluated to be that of a six to nine-year-old child. They wanted to get married but since he is a Muslim and the woman Hindu, her parents had objected to the alliance, the man averred, adding that the victim was sane.

As per the case registered by the woman's mother with the Kurar police station on January 9, 2019, the victim was found to be three months pregnant during a medical examination. Upon being coaxed by the family, she revealed that she had been to a grocery shop four months ago. The accused, who works in a nearby salon, took her to some dark place on pretext of giving her chocolate and raped her. The pregnancy was later terminated and DNA samples were taken. Other workers of the salon had seen the accused talking and mingling with the woman.

Additional Sessions Judge Datta Dhoble said, “For constituting consent, there must be exercise of intelligence based on the knowledge of the significance and the moral effect of the act. The victim, whose mental faculties are undeveloped, cannot be said in law to have suffered sexual intercourse with consent.” No doubt, from the admission of the victim, it appears that she consented for sexual intercourse. “Considering her mental disability, the consent is irrelevant and under the law it can be said to have committed rape by accused. A mentally challenged woman cannot legally give a consent, which would necessarily involve understanding of its effect,” reasoned the court. The defence of the accused holds no water considering the victim's psychological evaluation, it added.

In her testimony, the woman claimed that the accused dragged her into his house by force and raped her. However, during the cross examination, she admitted that she liked the man and wanted to get married to him but her parents did not allow her. Besides, she also admitted that she had not told about her pregnancy to him. Based on the woman's admission, the defence lawyer claimed that the two were in a consensual relationship and the woman is not mentally challenged. The court, however, rejected the claim.

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