MUMBAI: Observing that sexual assault isn't a physical injury but an injury to her soul, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday said that just because a girl had an intimacy with a boy, that doesn't give him any licence to sexually abuse her against her wish. The HC accordingly, upheld the conviction of a 26-year-old man from city's Borivali area, who had thrown acid on the victim after sexually abusing her.
A single-judge bench of Justice Sadhana Jadhav was hearing an appeal filed by one Jitendra Sapkal challenging the decision of a special POCSO court in 2016, which sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment of 10 years on two counts, five years on three counts, and three years on two counts.
As per the prosecution, the victim, who was 17 years old at the relevant time, had some intimacy with Sapkal. However, after intervention of her family, she distanced herself from him but he didn't stop there. He continued to harass the victim and she twice informed the police about it. The police each time warned him and left him.
Pissed off with the victim's family registering an FIR, Sapkal picked her up when she was on her way home and took her to Gorai beach. There, he threw acid on her face, with some of it entering her mouth, making her speechless for several months.
Taking note of the facts of the case, Justice Jadhav said, "There is no doubt that the victim had some intimacy for him in the beginning, but that by itself does not give licence to the appellant to sexually abuse her and act against her wish."
The bench noted that despite the horrific crime, the state hasn't filed any plea to enhance the sentence imposed on Sapkal.
"Sexual assault on a woman is not just physical injury, which can be cured. In fact, it is an injury to the soul of a woman as it ruins her womanhood," the judge observed.
"The act of the accused in the present case is such that he in fact wanted her to suffer from permanent or partial damage or deformity in such a manner that she would live with it for the whole life," Justice Jadhav said, adding, "Any amount of money in the form of compensation would not compensate for the damage and traumatizing memories of satanic act of the accused. It is a scar on her soul."
"However, only to secure the expenses for medical aid and to make good the expenses incurred towards medical treatment and as a solace to the father, she deserves compensation," the judge noted.
The judge further said that in fact, the fine awarded to the accused is not proportionate to the offence i.e. committed by him.
"However, the state has not filed an appeal for enhancement and neither notice of enhancement was issued before admitting the appeal. Hence, the sentence of fine deserves to be maintained," the judge added.
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