The 52-year-old priest, convicted of raping and impregnating a 16-year-old, has sought bail stating that he now wants to marry the survivor and “take care” of her child.
The Kerala state government has filed a reply in the High Court opposing the bail plea of Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery, who has been convicted of raping and impregnating a 16-year-old in 2016. The 52-year-old priest has sought bail stating that he now wants to marry the survivor and “take care” of her child, who was born in 2017. “The state has filed an objection stating that in such cases the accused cannot marry the victim since there is a threat to the life of the victim. And if this is adopted in all the cases as a standard we cannot check the veracity and genuineness in each and every case,” Public Prosecutor Suman Chakravarti told TNM. “In every rape case, then the accused will say I want to be released so that I can marry the survivor. And thereafter if they are married, we cannot ensure that she is safe. As far as the state is concerned, that is our primary concern, the safety of the survivor. Hence, we have taken a strong stand that this cannot be allowed,” he said. In his petition, Robin has professed his love for the woman and child and has claimed that they wanted the custody of the child. He has argued that to get custody of the child, he had to marry the survivor. He has also claimed that he had been in love with the young woman and always had the intention to marry her. He also says that he has never denied that he was the father of the child. At the time of the offence, the survivor was 16 years old and the convict Robin was the manager of the Church-backed school she used to attend. The girl gave birth to a child in 2017. The priest and the church had pressured the survivor’s family and had at one point convinced her father to take the blame upon himself and submit in court that he had raped and impregnated his own daughter. However, later he broke down and said that it was Robin’s baby, and subsequently, DNA tests proved the same. Robin was convicted to 20 years in prison by the Thalassery POCSO court in February 2019. Special Prosecutor Beena Kaliyath, who represented the survivor in the lower court that sentenced the priest, told TNM that this marriage proposal is just a ploy by the convict to get out of jail. “The survivor and the accused have not sought custody of the baby. The child is still in an abandoned position at a woman and children's home in Kerala. Why did they not ask for custody of the child if they are so worried? Not a single petition or notice was filed in court, neither by the family nor by the accused, neither for the child’s custody and nor even to see him,” the advocate said. The Special Prosecutor added that she had received notice of the convict’s bail plea and filed an opinion with the Public Prosecutor of the High Court. At the time, in her opinion, she had written against the bail plea, stating that the survivor is trying to put her past behind and focus on her education. “I have said that the survivor is studying and she is focusing on her future. She wants a new life and a new future, she is trying to put her past behind and this marriage proposal may disturb her education as well as her life. I stated in the report that marriage is not the solution, her education is very important,” advocate Beena said.