Delhi HC overturns acquittal in rape of minor girl
The Delhi high court criticised the logic behind the trial court treating the victim as an adult and not as a minor.india Updated: Mar 15, 2018 23:23 IST
The Delhi high court on Thursday sentenced to 10 years in jail a man accused of kidnapping and raping a minor girl, terming his acquittal by the trial court in January 2017 “shockingly absurd”.
A bench comprising justice Vipin Sanghi and justice PS Teji sentenced Sonu Kumar for the offence and also imposed a fine of R25,000 on him for raping the 10-year-old girl in 2010.
The case is one of over 40 Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act cases decided by trial court judge Sunil Chaudhary that are now being reviewed by the high court.
The high court criticised the logic behind the trial court treating the victim as an adult and not as a minor.
“The reasoning adopted by the trial court judge to conclude that the minority of the victim on the date of the incident was not established, to say the least, borders perversity,” it said.
“Reasoning adopted by the trial shocks the conscience of the court in the factual background of the case,” the court said.
The trial court reasoned that no birth certificate or other reliable document on the date of birth of the victim had been presented in evidence to establish the age of the victim. So the trial court held that it could not be accepted that she was below the age of 18 years on the date of the rape -- a stance the high court found to be “shockingly absurd”.
The high court also held that the testimony of the victim was believable. The trial court judge had raised doubts on the statement given by her.
“The prosecutrix was a small child...at the time of the incident. She has been subjected to physical abuse -- an experience that she could not have comprehended at her age. Not only would she have been traumatized, but she would have also experienced a sense of shame on account of her being subjected to rape and oral sex,” the high court said.
It also said that the lower court had completely ignored the medical examination report as well as the FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory) report.
“We find the approach of the court in dealing the matter is extremely casual,” the high court said and convicted Kumar under section 363 (kidnapping) and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code.
Last year, the Delhi high court had called for all case files of decisions delivered by additional sessions judge Chaudhary, citing “fundamental and serious error in the approach of the learned Judge in deciding the cases”.
First Published: Mar 15, 2018 23:23 IST