Media reports on the first UP “Love Jihad” conviction are false

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On December 20, a local court in Kanpur handed down a judgment in which it found a man guilty of raping a 17-year-old girl and sentenced her to ten years in prison and fined Rs 30,000.

However, this judgment was reported by some sections of the media as the first conviction under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Illegal Conversion of Religion Act 2021. [commonly known as ‘Love Jihad’ Law].

Several media portals have widely distorted this judgment despite the fact that rape convict Javed @ Munna has not even been charged under the UP Love Jihad Act. It is important to note that the Jihad of Love Law was first enacted in 2020. It was first enacted as an ordinance in 2020, and earlier this year it was passed as law.

This false-reported case concerns an event in 2017 (when a rape was committed against a 17-year-old girl).

It is common knowledge that criminal laws cannot be applied retroactively. Article 20, paragraph 1, of the Constitution expressly prohibits the retroactive application of criminal law. Therefore, it is impossible to apply the “Love Jihad” law, which came into force in 2020, to a crime committed in 2017. As a result, media reports could be characterized as misleading and factually incorrect.

However, let’s examine this issue in detail to understand all the controversy and debunk the lie attached to these reports.

CNN News incorrectly reported on Wednesday that the Kanpur court convicted and sentenced the man under the Love Jihad Law.

At around 5 p.m., News18 India, a news channel, conducted a Hindi-language debate on the judgment by inviting several panelists to speak on the subject on its ‘Danke Ki Chot by’ program. The debate was moderated by host Aman Chopra where he asserted that Javed’s conviction is the
first conviction by a court under the UP Love Jihad Law.

Anshul Saxena, a well-followed Twitter user, posted a factually incorrect tweet, which garnered over 16,000 likes and 3,500 retweets.

Moreover, the internet is now full of similar claims that a Javed, who introduced himself to a 14-15 year old girl as Munna and tricked her into hiding her religion and attempted to convert from force his religion (from Hindu to Islam).

Now let’s understand what it is.

What is the real judgment?

Kanpur court sentenced Javed @ Munna to 10 years in prison for raping a 17 year old girl. He had been charged under sections 363, 366A, 376, 3/4 of the POCSO Act and section 3 (2) (v) of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.

The incident dates back to 2017, when the girl’s father filed an FIR against Javed @ Munna claiming he lured her. The police started the investigation in accordance with FIR and after 2 days the girl victim was discovered.

In her statement to the court, which is a crucial part of the whole case, the young girl said that the convict-javed was her friend’s brother and that she knew him very well. On May 15, 2017, he told her that she should come with him, at first she refused, however, she went because he was her friend’s brother. He also told her that he wanted to marry her and that he would keep her happy.

Further, she claimed that he had promised to take her home the same day, however, he did not take her back and instead, he raped her in the jungle and also threatened her only if she was telling incident to anyone, he would throw acid in her face and kill her parents too.

In her statement to police, she claimed that herself and Javed’s physical relationship was established with consent. Later in her 164 CrPC statement, she said that this statement was made out of fear and was not correct and instead was raped by Javed.

In view of the circumstances of the case, the Court found him guilty of the alleged offenses (but acquitted under the SC / ST Act), observing as follows:

“According to the evidence available in this case, the victim went to school from her home and the accused from school, took her out of town under the pretext of taking her to town and tied physical relations with her against the will of the victim and by intimidating her. For two days, he kept her somewhere else against her will. This fact is corroborated by the victim’s testimony.

It is important to note that neither in the FIR nor in her parents’ statement was it claimed that this was a case in which the girl was forced to convert her religion in order to become marry. Moreover, there is no question that the Accused had the opportunity to conceal his religion because the young girl already knew that he was the brother of her friend.

Most of the media portals that reported on the case claimed that the convict introduced himself as a Hindu named Munna. However, this is not the case. Nowhere does the court judgment say that Javed has been indicted under the UP’s Love Jihad Act.

This article was first published by LiveLaw.in. Read the original here.


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