A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde on Monday asked a government employee if he was willing to marry a woman who has accused him of repeatedly raping her when she was a minor, Bar and Bench reported.

The court was hearing a bail plea of 23-year-old Mohit Subhash Chavan, who is a technician with the Maharashtra State Electric Production Company. The Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court had cancelled his anticipatory bail, according to Live Law.

During Monday’s hearing, the chief justice asked Chavan’s counsel: “Will you marry her?” To this, the advocate said he would reply after consulting his client.

“You should have thought before seducing and raping the young girl,” Bobde responded. “You knew you are a government servant. We are not forcing you to marry. Let us know if you will. Otherwise you will say we are forcing you to marry her.”

The case was heard again for a brief period, and the advocate informed the court that Chavan had wanted to marry the girl but she had refused. “Now I cannot, as I am already married,” his counsel said. “Trial is going on, charges are yet to be framed.”

Chavan had submitted that if he is arrested and detained in police custody under criminal charges for a period of 48 hours, then according to the state service rules “he shall be deemed to have been placed under suspension by an order of appointing authority”, India Today reported. The court granted the accused interim protection from arrest for four weeks, and said that he could apply for regular bail.

A first information report against him was filed in 2019 for charges under Section 376 (punishment for rape), 417 (punishment for cheating), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. It also includes Sections 4 (punishment for penetrative sexual assault) and 12 (punishment for sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

The woman alleged that Chavan used to stalk her when she was 16 years old and studying in Class 9. She said the accused, who is a distant relative, one day entered her house when her family members were out.

The woman’s application said:

“Since he was her distant relative, he used to keep coming to her house. She further alleged that during that period, he clandestinely effected entry into the house from a backside door and committed rape on her. He also threatened her of consequences if the incident was disclosed. 

She further alleged that even thereafter he continuously stalked her and threatened her. Pertinently, she alleges that he used to come frequently to her house and used to have sexual intercourse. She has also stated that sometimes, he used to use contraceptive. Since she was afraid, she never disclosed this fact to anybody.”

— The woman's application, reported 'Bar and Bench'

It also said the man had threatened to throw acid on the girl’s face if she told anyone about the incident, according to Bar and Bench. The man reportedly raped the complainant 10 to 12 times.

When the woman and her mother went to the police station to file a complaint, the accused’s family reportedly tried to stop them. Chavan’s mother then promised them that she would have her son married to the girl once she turned 18. However, the man refused to marry her and a complaint was filed against him.