Punjab and Haryana HC upholds man’s seven-year jail term for allowing daughter to be sexually abused
The Punjab and Haryana high court upheld the seven-year jail term awarded to a Jalandhar-based man convicted of allowing his daughter to be sexually abused for ₹ 100.
Dismissing the plea, the bench of justice Vivek Puri said, “The appellant being father of the victim was expected to act as protector of the minor daughter. A father has significant and dominant position in the life of a daughter. Instead of providing protection and care to the daughter, the appellant has rendered her to be sexually abused by another person for small monetary gains.”
The case was reported in 2017 and a trial court had convicted the accused in 2019. While appealing against the trial court’s order, the petitioner had claimed that the allegations had been levelled against him due to a matrimonial dispute with his wife. In view of serious nature of allegations, the high court had appointed an amicus curaie.
As per allegations, the accused had invited a 25-year-old man to his house in his wife’s absence in February 2017. The man had sexually abused the eight-year-old victim. The rape perpetrator had also allegedly locked the son of the petitioner and a neighbour’s child in a room. On hearing the screams of the two boys, a neighbour rescued them and the perpetrator of the sexual abuse escaped in the melee, and was never identified. The man in his defence said the matter had been reported to the police after a week.
“It sounds unnatural and improbable that the mother of the victim would have projected her minor daughter aged about eight years to level false allegations against the appellant and put the honour of the family and that of the child at stake and to peril,” the bench observed.
On the argument that matter was reported to police after a week, the court observed that such a ghastly act must have put the victim in a state of shock and trauma. Even the mother of the victim would have been under shock when such an act had been committed against her daughter, it observed, adding that the victim and the family may have been initially reluctant to approach the police as the honour of the family and the reputation of the victim would be at stake. “The delay in lodging the FIR in cases of penetrative sexual assault upon the victim who is of tender age can’t be equated with the cases in other offences. The delay in case of sexual offence has to be considered with different yard stick more particularly when the act has been attributed to the father of the victim,” the bench asserted.
Medical reports confirmed that the minor girl had been raped. The report of the chemical examiner provides additional credence to the statement of the victim and further strengthen the case of the prosecution, the court recorded, adding that even as identity of perpetrator remained unknown, the father could not be absolved of his criminal liability.
In her statement, the girl had said that the perpetrator told her he will give ₹100 to her and had also given the same amount to her father. The court found her statements with “consistent version”. “There cannot be any bar to base the conviction on the testimony of a victim of sexual assault in the event her testimony inspires confidence and is found to be reliable,” the bench said, adding that if the child had the intellectual capacity to understand the questions and give rational answers, her testimony can be accepted.
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