Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Sanjeev Narula, J., while addressing a matter wherein a child aged 9 years old was sexually assaulted, held that,

Pulling down the leggings of the child victim and touching of the thighs is evident of sexual intent and accordingly constitutes an offence of sexual assault.

Appellant impugns Judgment on conviction and order on sentence whereby appellant had been convicted of an offence under Section 10 of the POCSO Act, 2012.

Case of the prosecution

Victim girl who was 9 years old at the time of incident informed that the when the mother was away to her job, appellant came inside the house and removed her leggings and stated feeling/rubbing his hand on her thighs. The victim became frightened, tried to run out of the house but the appellant pulled her inside the house.

Somehow, the victim managed to free herself and went to the house of one Auntie in the neighbourhood.

Later, she informed her mother and thereafter the police was called.

Further, FIR was registered based on the above complaint.

As per the prosecution, the child victim, her brother and mother of the victim remained consistent in their respective statements given to the police as also in their testimonies before the trial court.

Section 29 of POCSO Act raises a statutory presumption against the accused.

Accused has not been able to dispel the presumption or discharge the onus. It is established from the testimony of the child victim and her brother that the appellant/accused had pulled down the leggings of the child and touched her thighs. Pulling down the leggings of the child victim and touching of the thighs is evident of sexual intent and accordingly constitutes an offence of sexual assault in terms of Section 7 of POCSO Act.

In terms of Section 9 (m) of POCSO Act since sexual assault was committed on a child below the age of 12, it would amount to aggravated sexual assault punishable under Section 10 of POCSO Act.

Bench stated that trial court passed a well reasoned order. No infirmity was found in the trail court’s order.

Thus, the appeal was dismissed. [Rajendra v. State, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 724 , decided on 03-07-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Suresh Kumar Kait, J., dismissed a criminal revision petition filed by the State against the order of the trial court whereby the accused-respondent discharged from the offence punishable under Section 12 (prevention from sexual harassment) of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

An FIR was registered against the accused on the complaint of the mother of the minor victim. It was alleged that while the victim was playing with her friends, the accused came to them and said: “do rupees doonga, mere ghar chal, panch minute ki baat hai”. However, none of the girls went with him. The accused was tried and discharged as aforesaid. Aggrieved thereby, the State (represented by Hirein Sharma, APP) preferred the instant revision petition.

The High Court noted that the observations of the trial court that statement of the victim and the complainant, recorded under Section 164 CrPC did not reflect that the accused committed any offensive act upon the victim or he had any sexual intent. It was further observed that the main ingredient of Section 12 of the POCSO Act, i.e., sexual intent, was missing in the entire act of the accused and, therefore, the prima facie offence of sexual harassment was not made out against him and he was accordingly discharged.

The High Court noted that the victim, in her statement, had not stated anything regarding any sexual intent or sexual assault; the FIR was registered on the statement made by her mother, wherein she had made some allegations against the accused.

The High Court was of the opinion that the fact remains that the victim did not mention any act of sexual assault or sexual intent, therefore, there was no illegality or perversity in the order passed by the trial court thereby discharging the accused. Finding no merits in the instant petition, the Court dismissed the same. [State v. Anil, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 10995, decided on 06-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. dismissed a petition filed by the State against the order of the trial court whereby the accused was discharged of the offence punishable under Section 12 (punishable for sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO).

The subject FIR was registered on the complaint of the prosecutrix alleging that the accused was her first cousin and they were also friends. It was alleged that they used to talk over the phone and accused recorded some conversation with her, because of which she stopped to him. Further, that on the date of the incident, when the prosecutrix was coming back from school he stopped her mid-way and held her hand and misbehaved with her and asked her as to why she was not talking to him and threatened her and made her sit on his scooty and took her to Rakabganj Gurudwara. Pursuant to this incident, FIR was registered.

The trial court, in the impugned order, while framing charge against the accused under various sections of the Penal Code, discharged him of the offence under Section 12 of the POCSO Act. Trial Court was of the view that the only allegation against the accused was that he had caught hold of the hand of the victim and forcibly took her to Gurudwara on his scooty.

Meenakshi Dahiya, APP for the State, challenged the order of discharge. Per contra, Rakesh Pal Singh, Advocate for the accused, opposed the petition.

The High Court noted that perusal of the record as also the statement was given by the prosecutrix does not prima facie show that any act was done by the accused with any sexual intent. The allegations against the accused, who was the first cousin of the victim, showed that he was upset with the victim not talking to him. The Court observed, “The substantive offence (Section 11) for which punishment is prescribed under Section 12 POCSO, clearly indicates that the precondition for the section to be attracted is that an act, as enumerated therein, is done with sexual intent. Clearly in the subject case, from the allegations against the respondent, no such intention even prima facie is coming forward.”

In such view of the matter, it was held that there was no infirmity in the impugned order. The petition was, therefore, dismissed. [State (NCT of Delhi) v. Baljeet Singh, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 9109, decided on 11-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: In a petition filed against proceedings pending against the petitioners under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act), a Single Judge Bench comprising of A.M. Badar J., disposed of the petition, holding that the proceedings could not be quashed.

The petitioners, the mother of the victim and one, Valji Vadher, had been accused of sexually harassing the child (offence defined under Section 11 and punishable under Section 12). Perusing the FIR filed by a police officer and the statement of the victim, the Court held that though Section 11 was not invoked against the mother, there were sufficient grounds to proceed against Petitioner 2 because of the victim’s statement which alleged that the petitioner always looked at her with bad intention.

As per the definition of the offence under POCSO Act, the Court held that “if a person with sexual intent repeatedly or constantly follows or watches or contacts a child either directly or through other means, then he can be said to have committed an offence defined under Section 11 of the POCSO Act. The question whether the act was with sexual intent is a question of fact”. Therefore, the proceedings were not quashed and the petition was disposed of. [Manju Tejbal Vishwakarma v. Union Territory of Daman & Diu, 2017 SCC OnLine Bom 8895, decided on 27.09.2017]