Mumbai: A special court designated under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act on Wednesday sentenced a 20-year-old to one year of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on him for winking and giving a flying kiss to a 14-year-old girl of his neighbourhood.
Special Judge Bharti Kale said in her judgment that the acts of the accused of winking and giving flying kisses constitute a sexual gesture, thereby causing sexual harassment to the victim.
The court ordered that of the fine amount, Rs 10,000 be given to the victim as compensation. The youth has been in prison since 1 March last year. The court noted this and said he is entitled to a set off for the period already undergone in custody, as per provisions of the CrPC.
According to the complaint filed by the mother of the teen, on 29 February last year, her daughter informed her that the youth winked and gave a flying kiss to her when she was sitting with her sister and that he had done so earlier too. The mother first confronted him and then lodged the police complaint. He had then come to be arrested.
The accused’s advocate had argued that the nature of the acts did not have any sexual intention and hence that he be acquitted. The defence had also contended that the report was lodged by the mother as she did not like the youth being of a particular religion and speaking with her daughter. It also suggested that there was a bet between the cousin brother of the victim and the accused and that the cousin brother had asked him to pursue the girl.
While deciding the quantum of sentence, the court considered that the victim was 14-years and the accused was 19-years-old at the time of the incident. “Considering the nature of the offence, I find that some leniency can be shown to the accused to extend him an opportunity to lead a good life,” the court said.