In the matter of Suraj Vs. State; the Delhi High Court on 10.12.2021 observed that “the purpose of the POCSO Act is to treat minors as a class by itself and to treat them separately so that an attempt to sexually assault or harass or molest or abuse the minor entails graver and stricter consequences. The ultimate purpose of the law is the paramount well-being of the child and to protect minors from flagrant violence inflicted on them.”
The Prosecutrix stated that she was in the fifth standard when she developed a friendship with Suraj (Petitioner/Accused). But after 2-3 months, Suraj took her to the Inderpuri forest after school hours and raped her. He took explicit videos and photos of her and threatened to circulate and upload them on the internet if she did not have intercourse with four of Suraj’s friends. Thus began a series of exploitation as a result of which the prosecutrix got pregnant. The prosecutrix was 17 years old when the FIR was registered under Sections 376, 376D, 506 and 34 Indian Penal Code (“IPC”) read with Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (“POCSO Act”)
Observations of the Court:
- The Court took note of the horrific offence committed by the Petitioner (Suraj) and the other accused persons whereby the Prosecutrix was not only raped but was also subsequently blackmailed for a long period and compelled to have intercourse with the accused persons. This brutalization had generated a sense of fear in the victim’s mind, and as a result, she could not live a normal life for the past 4 years.
- Rape is an offence which not only violates the physical body of the survivor but is also capable of inflicting trauma on the mental psyche which can end up persisting for years.
- Charges have been framed against all the accused, including the Petitioners for offences under Sections 376(2), 376(D), 506(ii) read with Section 34 IPC and Section 6 of the POCSO Act. Punishment under Section 6 of the POCSO Act is imprisonment for a minimum period of 20 years which can extend up to life, which means the remainder life of the accused. The Petitioners are, therefore, accused of a very serious offence and the fact that they can threaten the prosecutrix cannot be ruled out
- Taking note of the seriousness of the offense, the High Court dismissed the Bail application of the Petitioners.
– Vaishali Jain, Advocate & Associate – POSH at Work