In the case of The State of Maharashtra vs R.C.J., the Special Court in Mumbai on 28th April 2022, convicted a man for sexually assaulting and impregnating a 15-year-old minor girl.
Facts leading to the case:
A police report was filed by a minor girl against the accused alleging that the accused expressed his desire to marry the victim and forcibly had sexual intercourse with the victim two times when she was alone at her home. He had threatened the victim from disclosing the incident to anyone. Thereafter, she was taken to the hospital with her grandmother where the doctors informed her that she was pregnant.
The accused was arrested, and was charged under Section 376 (1) (Whoever, except in the cases provided for in subsection (2), commits rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine) of the IPC and Section 6 (Punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act [POCSO], 2012.
The Counsel for the accused submitted that the accused was unaware of the victim’s background because the victim told him she had left the school before four years and was a major. Furthermore, the victim and the accused had a romantic relationship. Consensual sexual relations existed between the victim and the accused as admitted by the victim in the cross-examination. The accused was also said to be willing to marry the victim, but the victim’s family was against it. As a result, the Counsel argued that the accused deserved to be acquitted because he had committed no crime and was the family’s sole earner.
The Counsel for the State claimed that the foetus’ DNA proved that the accused is the biological father. The accused has also stated that they had a love affair, and the accused has not denied penetrative sexual assault. Because of the nature of the offence and the fact that the victim was a minor at the time of the incident, she was defrauded by the accused, who committed sexual assault on her by assuring her of marriage, the maximum penalty should be imposed on the accused.
Observation of the Court:
- The Court observed that because the victim was under the age of 18 at the time of sexual intercourse, the victim’s consent was irrelevant and that the evidence and cross-examination of the prosecution revealed that the accused and the victim had a love affair and wanted to marry each other, but that there was no fruitful discussion about their marriage. The victim’s unwillingness to make a complaint against the accused was established. To save the accused, the victim had previously given the erroneous name.
- The DNA report confirms that the accused committed penetrative sexual assault on the juvenile victim, as the prosecution has established. Since the accused bears the burden of proof, he has failed to present any evidence or a convincing explanation to refute the presumption. Hence, the Court concluded that the accused had committed aggravated penetrative sexual assault upon a minor girl.
- The Court convicted him for the offence punishable under Section 376(1) of IPC and under Section 6 of the POCSO Act, 2012, and sentenced him to 10 years of imprisonment.
– Vaishali Jain, Advocate & Associate – POSH at Work & Surbhi Singh