Observing that there was no sexual intent in a then 23-year-old’s act of following a teen into her classroom in 2016, pulling her bag and asking her to come with him, a sessions court has acquitted him in the six-year-old case.
The girl, her mother, her college vice-principal and the institution’s watchman had all testified as witnesses in the case. The incident had taken place on Aug 8, 2016. The victim had narrated the incident in court. The watchman, who had been called by another student in the situation and had asked the accused to leave, had also deposed. The vice-principal too had identified the boy as the same youth who had come to the college that day.
The court, however, said in its judgment of last month that in order to hold the youth guilty of sexual harassment, it will have to be proved that with sexual intent he contantly and repeatedly followed the victim. Special Judge under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act SJ Ansari said there is “absolutely no evidence” that he had repeatedly followed the victim, except that one incident of Aug 8. Those facts by themselves, in the absence of any other evidence, do not prove that he had a sexual intent towards her in his act, the court stated.
The youth, a delivery boy by occupation, had been on bail. He had taken the defence that the girl and he were having an affair and that the victim’s family was opposed to it.
As per the police complaint filed at Malad police station by the girl, the youth had been following her since around 10 days before the incident. The complaint had come to be lodged as after the incident, the vice-principal had asked her to call her mother to the college and informed the parent of the incident.