Man acquitted in rape case must pay for kid
Justice A P Bhangale upheld a sessions court order that as Sunil Katole (45) “was a man of sufficient means, he was bound to maintain his illegitimate son”.
“There is no need to interfere with the quantum (of compensation) granted, particularly, considering the basic needs of the child like food, clothing, shelter and education,” said the judge, while refusing to quash the compensation awarded by a sessions court. The high court said that Katole was free to prove that the child was not his or seek cancellation of the maintenance if he had substantial reasons by either moving a civil court or a subordinate court.
Eleven years ago, Katole was arrested for allegedly raping a girl 10 years younger than him. A sessions court in 2002, though, acquitted Katole of rape charges, saying it was consensual – the victim had consented to sexual intercourse on the promise of marriage.
Last year, the victim filed an application seeking maintenance for herself and her child under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The provision says that the court can order maintenance if a man refuses or neglects to maintain his wife, children or parents. The protection of the law is also available to a man’s illegitimate children.
While a magistrate dismissed the application, a sessions judge ordered Katole to pay monthly maintenance for the upkeep of the child. The mother’s plea for maintenance, though, was rejected.
Katole, in his petition, denied that the child was his or that he had any liability to maintain him. “This contention will have to be substantiated by (Katole) by adopting appropriate remedy to prove the circumstances,” said the high court, adding that “no manifest injustice or any miscarriage of justice appears to have occurred”, to warrant its intervention. Katole’s lawyer’s plea to reduce the maintenance amount was also dismissed by the high court.