In the prosecution case of The State of Maharashtra vs P.M.V., a special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act [POCSO], 2012 court in Mumbai on 12th April 2022 sentenced a man to five years rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of ₹25,000 after it found him guilty of sexually assaulting his daughter, who was five years old at the time of the incident.
Facts leading to the case:
A complaint was filed in 2019 by the mother of the victim girl who was five years old at the time of the incident against her husband for committing sexual assault on their daughter. After investigation, the accused was charged under Section 354 (Assault of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of IPC, and Section 9(n) (whoever, being a relative of the child through blood or adoption or marriage or guardianship or in foster care, or having a domestic relationship with a parent of the child, or who is living in the same or shared a household with the child, commits sexual assault on such child) read with 10 (Punishment for aggravated sexual assault) of POCSO Act.
The Counsel for the State submitted that throughout her testimony, the victim made a clear declaration of being assaulted and received a threat from her own father, the accused, not to tell anyone about it.
The Counsel for the accused submitted that because the child has been in the custody of the informant-mother since the accused’s detention, there is a strong likelihood that she was tutored by her mother and thus the victim’s testimony cannot be trusted. The victim had never described the accused touching her by hand.
Observation of the Special Court:
- The Court did not find any possibility of personal false implication of the accused out of grudge by the informant because the acts of the victim were first noticed by her school teacher and then the mother came to know about it. Moreover, despite the fact that the informant was aware of the accused’s actions, she refrained from making any conclusion and sought confirmation from the victim and the babysitting aunty.
- The Court concluded that the accused had molested the victim girl with sexual intent as he threatened to punish her if she disclose it to anyone and outraged her modesty.
- The Court did not find any mitigating circumstances on record to justify the imposition of a lesser punishment than prescribed by the law keeping in view of the grievous crime by a father who is being considered as a fortress, trustee of his daughter.
Hence, the accused was convicted and punished for the said offence.
Vaishali Jain, Advocate & Associate – Child Safety at Work & Surbhi Singh