Delhi High Court: Manoj Kumar Ohri, J., stressed the reliability of the child victim’s testimony in a sexual assault case and upheld the trial court’s decision.
Instant appeal was preferred under Section 374(2) read with Section 383 CrPC. Appellant was convicted under Section 6 of the POCSO Act in 2013.
‘X’ was 12 years old at the time of the alleged incident and the accused was her stepfather. It was stated that Accused gave beatings to the brothers of ‘X’ and later removed the clothes of ‘X’ and his own and penetrated his urinal part in the vagina of Ms ‘X’.
In the present matter, Bench noted that the child victim stated that while the appellant was doing wrong things with her Mohd. Rafiq had seen them from the hole of the door and called her name. She opened the bolt of the door and Mohd. Rafiq gave beatings to the appellant and called the police. The child victim also identified the appellant.
In so far as the testimony of the child victim is concerned, it has been repeatedly held that if the testimony of the child victim inspires confidence, it is sufficient to record the conviction.
Bench stated that Courts should find no difficulty to act on the testimony of a victim of sexual assault alone to convict an accused where her testimony inspires confidence and is found to be reliable. [Refer: State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh, (1996) 2 SCC 384]
High Court observed that, on perusal of the statements made by the child victim during investigation and the trial show that she had consistently stated that on the night of the incident, the child victim along with her siblings had gone to sleep in the house of their neighbour from where they were called by the appellant.
Thereafter, both her brothers after being beaten, were sent upstairs and thereafter, the appellant removed her clothes as well as his own clothes and inserted his male organ and committed rape upon her. The child victim had also stated that the appellant had inserted his male organ in her mouth. She had also stated that the appellant had committed the offence two-three times earlier also.
Child Victim’s Testimony — Reliability?
The statement of the child victim to the effect that an incident had occurred on the intervening night of 25th and 26th find support not only from the testimony of her two minor younger brothers ‘R’ and ‘A’ but also from the testimony of Mohd. Rafiq.
Court observed that the statements of the child victim made during the investigation and the trial were consistent about the incident and role of the appellant. Therefore, Court concurred with the finding of the trial court that the child victim’s testimony was trustworthy, reliable and admissible.
As per Section 29 of the POCSO Act, there is presumption regarding the guilt of the accused and the appellant failed to dislodge the statutory presumption under the said Section.
Hence, the impugned judgment and order on sentence are upheld.
Lastly, the Court added that State is directed to provide compensation to the victim in view of the Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme, 2015 within a period of 2 months from the date of passing of this Judgment.[Sunil Kumar v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 2391, decided on 25-05-2021]
Advocates before the Court:
For the Appellant: Mr Anwesh Madhukar, Advocate (DHCLSC) alongwith Ms. Prachi Nirwan, Advocate
For the Respondent: Mr Ashok Kr. Garg, APP for State