Karnataka High Court Criticizes Police for Inadequate Investigation in Case of Sexual Harassment of Minor Daughter by Father

Karnataka High Court Law InsiderKarnataka High Court Law Insider

LI Network

Published on:17 July 2023 at 16:50 IST

The Karnataka High Court recently expressed dissatisfaction with the Koramangala Police’s investigation into a case involving a man accused of sexually harassing and molesting his four-year-old daughter.

Justice M Nagaprasanna, in a ruling last month, granted a petition filed by the victim’s mother (wife of the accused) for further investigation in the case after identifying nine significant shortcomings in the chargesheet submitted by the police.

During the examination of the chargesheet, the High Court discovered several loopholes, including the failure to document statements made by the victim that incriminated the accused, the neglect to seize mobile devices and laptops believed to contain incriminating videos and photos, the omission of a report from a psychologist who examined the child, and the failure to obtain statements from relatives.

Justice Nagaprasanna commented, “All the nine vital pieces of evidence, in the considered view of the Court, have been deliberately omitted by the Investigating Officer. If this does not constitute a shoddy investigation, I fail to understand what would.”

The judge also expressed the view that the investigation seemed to have been conducted hastily by the police solely to meet the deadline for filing the chargesheet. Additionally, despite the serious nature of the allegations, the police did not request a custodial interrogation of the husband.

Based on the principles established by the Supreme Court and the shortcomings pointed out in the order, the High Court concluded that further investigation was necessary in the case. Justice Nagaprasanna directed that a different investigating officer be assigned to conduct the probe, as the earlier officer appeared to show favoritism toward the accused.

The Court specified that the assigned officer should conclude the investigation within three months and take into account the observations made in the order. The petitioner, the wife of the accused, had approached the High Court after her plea for further investigation was dismissed by a sessions court in January.

The complaint against her husband alleged that he had deviant sexual behavior, was addicted to pornography, and had been sexually harassing and molesting their four-year-old daughter. The accused had allegedly pressured his wife to engage in sexual relations in the presence of the child, resorting to physical assault and verbal abuse when she resisted.

In August of the previous year, the petitioner filed a complaint under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act). Her husband was arrested the following month but was later released on bail after the filing of the chargesheet, as the police did not insist on custody.

As the High Court has ordered further investigation in the case, the trial court was instructed not to proceed until the report on the additional investigation is submitted. The petitioner was represented by Senior Advocate Sandesh J Chouta and advocate Sampreeth V, while Advocate KP Yashodha represented the respondent.

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