Absence of infant’s statement not to benefit accused in sexual assault case: Court

A special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) court while rejecting the bail plea of a 36-year-old man booked for sexually assaulting a two-year-old toddler, who is his neighbour, said that the accused cannot get benefit by the absence of the statement of the child before a magistrate.

The advocate for the accused had pointed out that the police had not filed the statement under Section 164 of the CrPC. Such a statement is considered of more value as evidence as it is recorded by a judicial magistrate while making sure that it is voluntary.

The court said to his argument that the child is just two-years-old and will not be able to speak and is in the state of grasping words. Hence, it said, accused cannot get benefit of absence of such a statement.

The man's advocate had also sought bail on the grounds that his client had been falsely implicated and there had been a misunderstanding.

The child has an older sibling and a twin. On the day of the incident, her mother noticed that she was not around and went looking for her. She got suspicious as she saw the accused’s main door was closed and felt her daughter might be in the house. As per the police complaint, when she opened the sliding window of his home, she saw the toddler lying without clothes on the cot and the man lying upon her half undressed and sexually assaulting her. She also saw him showing obscene videos on his mobile to her. The mother then raised an alarm and the police were called.

The prosecution had opposed his bail plea stating that there was an eye-witness to the incident and the child being as young as two-years-old, the offence is heinous.

Special judge under POCSO Act Priti Kumar Ghule said that taking into consideration the allegations, the offence is very serious. The court also noted that the toddler’s mother is an eye-witness and that the child’s presence in his house is clearly seen. Further it said that prima-facie there is direct involvement of the accused in the heinous offence and hence it is not fit to grant bail.

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