Mumbai: Man acquitted under POCSO for marrying victim

Mumbai: A special court earlier this week, acquitted a 24-year-old man under the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, as the court noted, the victim was not a minor. The three years during the time this case was going on, the victim had borne a child, due to which the two got married.

Shivaji Pandurang Gadde, a resident of Bhandup lived in the neighbourhood where the victim was working. They fell in love and began an affair in 2015. Gadde, on the pretext of promised of marriage began to have a sexual relationship with the girl, when she first conceived. After she shared the news with Gadde, he began to give excuses to back out of the marital commitment.

Interestingly, the prosecution had alleged the victim was a minor and her consent was obtained on the promise of marriage. However, the First Information Report (FIR) proved to be fatal for the prosecution. The victim had stated her age as 19 years, at the time of lodging the complaint. Later, as the case proceeded, Gadde married the victim, which the judge termed as ‘consensual sex.’

Meanwhile, even the victim and her father did not support the claims made by the prosecution, as both the girl and Gadde turned hostile and eventually got married. Three years after the case proceeded, the special Judge Dr C A Nathani acquitted Gadde with the opinion, “After observing all the evidence, he does not deserve to be booked under Section 376 for sexual assault or under any section of POCSO.” Gadde has to pay a surety of Rs 15,000 under section 437 (A) Code of Criminal Procedure.

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