Teen boy convicted of rape on 13-year-old victim’s testimony in Ludhiana

She deposed before the Juvenile Justice Board that she was at her house with her brother, aged about one year, when the boy, his neighbour, entered her house saying he wanted to charge his phone.
(Representative image)
(Representative image)
Updated on Mar 17, 2019 10:12 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Ludhiana | ByAneeshaSareen Kumar

The testimony of a 13-year-old victim in court where she identified her tormentor, also a minor, proved instrumental as the Juvenile Justice Board has sentenced the 17-year-old boy to three years in a reform home for raping the minor girl.

The board also imposed a fine of 1,000 on the convict, a resident of Gaggi Sardar Da Vehra, near Hundal Chowk, Tajpur Road Ludhiana.

Passing the judgment on March 14, the Juvenile Justice Board headed by principal magistrate Preeti Sukhija stated, “The juvenile had kidnapped the prosecutrix without her or her parents consent, which could have a very damaging impact upon the child victim for all times to come, besides being a source of shock and embarrassment for her family who gathered courage and reported about the matter to the police.”

Victim narrated ordeal in court

During the course of the trial, the victim stepped into the witness box for her chief examination. Before her evidence was recorded, she was made to answer certain preliminary questions to assess her competence to depose due to her age.

After her answers to the questions, she was considered a competent witness as per the statutory provisions of Section 118 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Thereafter, her evidence was recorded on oath.

She deposed before the Juvenile Justice Board that she was at her house with her brother, aged about one year, when the boy, his neighbour, entered her house saying he wanted to charge his phone. The girl then went on to narrate how she was raped by the boy after being gagged.

Testimony remained consistent

In its judgment, which was recently made available, the board ruled, “The victim has specifically and categorically identified the juvenile present before the board. In her cross-examination, she categorically testified that she, along with her mother, went to the police station and on the same day she was taken to a hospital for medical examination by the police and a female cop was also along with them.”

“Despite the lengthy cross-examination of the victim, her testimony remained unshaken on material particulars and she being raped upon by the instant juvenile against her wish and without her consent. She has categorically testified that she shouted and screamed at the time of occurrence but juvenile put his hand on her mouth,” it held.

The board further ruled that the victim had recorded her statement before the then illaqa magistrate, Ludhiana, and the said statement was proved by her as recorded on April 21, 2018, on which she also identified her signature.

Even in the said statement recorded before the then illaqa magistrate she stated that the juvenile forcibly committed rape with her. The statement had remained unrebutted on record and there was nothing on record to doubt her statement as no question was put to the prosecutrix regarding the said statement which was admissible in evidence, especially when its authenticity and genuineness had remained unshaken, the board held.

April 2018 case

The case was registered on the statement of the victim’s mother on April 19, 2018.

A resident of Gaggi Sardar Da Vehra, Hundal Chowk, Tajpur Road, the woman stated in her complaint that her husband and she worked as labourers. They had three sons and two daughters. She had alleged that her 13-year-old daughter and one of their sons were at home when they returned from work on April 19. As they entered their locality, they saw their 17-year-old neighbour rushing out of their house.

When they went inside their quarters, they found their daughter crying. On being coaxed, her daughter revealed that the boy pulled her hair, threw her on the floor and raped her. When she tried to raise the alarm, the boy gagged her with his hand.

The woman then went out in search of the teenager, but could not trace him in the neighbourhood. So, she went to the police and lodged a complaint.

Police managed to arrest the suspect on the same day, and had him medically examined. He was then booked under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code.

Later, a potency test was also conducted with the consent of the juvenile, which confirmed that he was physically capable of committing sexual intercourse, the prosecution counsel said.

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