The Bombay High Court has upheld the conviction of a man under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and dismissed his defence that the relationship was consensual. The court observed that the survivor has deposed that the physical relations were kept under threats and, therefore, there was no consent.
The HC was hearing an appeal filed by the man challenging his conviction by a special court in Ratnagiri. On March 25, 2021, the court sentenced him to 10 years in prisons and imposed a fine of Rs35,000 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act. The fine amount was to be given to the survivor.
According to the prosecution, the survivor, who was studying in Class 12, got acquainted with the accused in 2017. One day in June 2018, on her way to school, she was taken by the accused to a secluded place and allegedly raped after threats to kill her parents. When she got pregnant, she asked for his help. Instead of helping her, he raped her and kidnapped her to a neighbouring village, said additional public prosecutor SR Agarkar.
To prove that the survivor was a minor, the prosecution produced her birth certificate. The father of the accused who learnt about their whereabouts and produced them before the police on Aug 28, 2018. The accused was arrested after three days by the police.
The girl’s pregnancy was medically terminated and the samples of the foetus were also sent for DNA profiling, which showed that the accused was the father.
The court noted that the girl was minor and her consent was immaterial even if it is assumed that it was there. The court also found the DNA report as “seriously incriminating” piece of evidence.
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