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Mumbai Special Court: Pulling Girl’s Dupatta, Holding Her Hand with Sexual Intent Amounts to Offence u/s 354 IPC & POCSO Act

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POCSO Act Law Insider

Aastha Thakur

Published on: October 12, 2022 at 21:50 IST

In the POCSO case, Mumbai Special Court gave punishment to 23-year-old man sentencing him to 3 years of imprisonment for pulling dupatta and grasping hand of a minor girl with sexual intention.

The Special Judge Priya Bankar while awarding punishment observed that sexual offences against children are increasing and cause a very adverse impact on the victim, her family and on the society, leading them to believe that the house and nearby vicinity is not safe for children.

The court also added that, Definitely, such type of incident causes terror in the mind of people, victim and her family members and leave scar for longer time

The accused was convicted by the court under the Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC as well as Section 8 (Punishment for sexual assault) of the POCSO Act.

The court apart from sentence also charged him fine of Rs. 15,000 which will go as compensation to the victim girl u/s 357(1) of the Criminal Procedure of Code.

The case hereby was that the accused pulled the victim’s dupatta and also grasped her hand while she was going back home after purchasing household articles. The victim at the time of commission of offence was 15 years old and was studying in 10th standard.

The victim got frightened by accused action and warned him that she will inform her father about his action. On this, as per prosecution allegation the accused threatened that he will beat her father up. The victim’s father on having knowledge of it filed police complaint at Mahim police station.

The victim gave her testament during trial that the said person used to stalk her to school and also in habit to stand in front of her house. The parents of victim on numerous instances told the accused to back off but didn’t registered police complaint.

The court noted that the Section 30 of the POCSO Act provides for presumption of culpable mental state of the accused. The accused must demonstrate without a shadow of a doubt that he was not in such a mental state. The accused may provide a similar defence.

The defendant counsel presented the argument that the victim and accused were having affair with each other. The court was not ready to accept this argument as the victim was minor by age and the same allegations were declined by the minor girl and her father.

The victim’s evidence, according to the defence, is contradictory because she claimed her scarf was pulled in her statement to the magistrate. The court rejected this since there isn’t much distinction between a scarf and a dupatta. The court ruled that this discrepancy is not enough to call into question the entire episode.

Hence, the court concluded that, The accused was present on the spot and he has committed offence with the minor victim girl with sexual intent and had a physical contact with the victim girl and thereby committed offence of sexual assault

The court also observed that the evidence also points towards accused threatening to beat victim’s father after entering his house. This does makes him accuse for the criminal intimidation and the prosecution has been able to prove it beyond reasonable doubt under Section 506 of the IPC.

The court stated, “The prosecution has brought on record sufficient evidence to prove that the accused has committed offence punishable under Section 354 and 506 of Indian Penal Code and under Section 7 punishable under Section 8 of the POCSO Act”