Shahpur child bride files rape case against husband

Shahpur child bride files rape case against husband

A woman, who is a victim of child marriage, has filed a complaint against her husband accusing him of raping her in Shahpur.

Sunita, who was married to Bheemaraya Mareppa Naykodi at the age of 13, has been fighting a legal battle for the past seven years, after Bheemaraya abandoned her and denied a share in the property for their daughter.

Sunita married Bheemaraya of Vibhootihalli on June 24, 1999 when both of them were students of the government primary school.

At 15, she had a daughter, Padmavati. Bheemaraya deserted her after two years. Sunita moved the JMFC court seeking alimony and a direction to her husband not to remarry. But the court denied her justice, as child marriage was illegal and her marriage didn’t have legal sanctity.

Undeterred, Sunita then moved the Civil Court seeking restitution of her conjugal rights. But her petition was dismissed as she couldn’t prove her marital status because rituals of their marriage were not enough to prove her point in the court.

When she approached the High Court Circuit Bench in Gulbarga in 2008, Bheemaraya contended that she was not his wife as their marriage had no legal sanctity. He even argued that Padmavati was not his daughter.

HC order

However, the Division Bench comprising Justice K L Manjunath and B Manohar quashed the lower court order and directed it to consider her application for share in property and alimony.

On her petition seeking restitution of conjugal rights, the Bench stated that if Bheemaraya rejected the claim over the child born to them out of child marriage, then he could be booked on charges of raping a minor.

The gutsy woman took cue from the Bench’s observation and filed a complaint against her husband, accusing him of raping her when she was a minor and abandoning her along with the daughter born to them.

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