A special court on Wednesday sentenced a 75-year-old man to three years in jail for molesting an 11-year-old schoolgirl when she was returning from school in Grant Road. The man had been in prison since his arrest in 2016 and hence will be eligible for release.
The child, who usually commuted using the school bus, had taken the taxi from outside her school as she was to visit a relative’s home where her parents had gone. Deposing before the court, the victim said she was sitting in the rear seat, but the man insisted she sit in the front seat and she did so. He then started touching her thighs and moving his hands over them. She was frightened and asked him to stop the vehicle but he did not. She then opened its door and jumped out of the running taxi. She sustained injuries on her knees and elbows and the taxi fled away.
While deciding on the quantum of sentence, the court said in its judgment, “..the victim was 11 years old at the time of the incident and while she was returning from school, the accused committed the act of inappropriately touching her thighs. Such an act created fear in her mind and she had no other option but to jump from the running taxi. Hence I do not find that the accused is entitled to much leniency.”
Special judge under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act Jayshri R. Pulate imposed a total fine of Rs. 10,000 on the man. Of the amount, it directed that Rs. 5,000 be given as compensation to the minor.
A passerby, whose daughter also went to the same school and had seen the girl falling off the taxi, also testified as a witness. The child had told him about her ordeal and he had taken her back to school where she had been administered first aid. The taxi driver was caught using CCTV footage in which the taxi’s number was visible.