A special court has sentenced a 64-year-old man to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment for raping a nine-year-old child whom her uncle had asked his neighbour to keep an eye on while the child and her younger sister were left alone at home.
The uncle had requested the man as the elders would not be home. He was going to the railway station to drop off the sibling’s father and their grandmother who were headed to their native place.
The man had sought leniency on the grounds of his age after being found guilty under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act . Special Judge Sanjashree J. Gharat said in her judgment that considering the offence had been proven, he is not entitled to leniency. Further, the court said that in such offences maximum punishment should be imposed not only to deter the person in future, but to deter those in the public who indulge in such abuse. “If such accused are shown leniency, then it will not send a good message to the society; rather, such offences will increase day by day,” Judge Gharat said and added that age alone is not a dominant factor while deciding the sentence.
“The accused was a neighbour of the victim. Therefore, the complainant showed trust in the accused, him being an elderly person and requested him to look after the minor victim in his absence. The accused took advantage of the absence of elderly members of the family and committed penetrative sexual assault,” the order stated.
Prosecutor Sanjana Sharma said the victim’s sister, who was an eye-witness, was also examined by the court. The accused had taken the defence that he was falsely implicated as the uncle of the siblings had taken a Rs. 25,000 loan from him and did not want to pay it back.
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