Observing that the woman's testimony clearly revealed that she was in love with the 27-year-old accused and her mother opposed the relationship as he was from a different religion, a special court acquitted the man five years after he was booked for kidnapping and sexually assaulting the then 17-year-old. Charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act, he had been in prison for five months after his arrest, till he secured bail in May 2018.
Woman was declared hostile by prosecution
During the trial, the woman told the court that she had no complaint against the accused and affirmed that they had no physical relations in the period of 15 days when they lived together in December 2017.
The court underlined that the woman was declared hostile by the prosecution. It considered the deposition of the 'victim', in which she said that she had told her mother about her desire to marry the accused, but the latter didn't like it. “It's pertinent to note that the victim herself left by intimating her mother,” Special Judge Madhuri M Deshpande said, adding that the victim was aged 17 years and understood the facts.
As the events progressed
Before leaving with the accused in 2017, the woman had told her mother that she was going to her uncle’s place in Panvel. After being there till evening, she said she was going to the Mahim Dargah fair, but had not returned. The day after, she told her mother to come to Churchgate. There, the mother and her elder daughter saw the woman, who was a teen then, waving at them while sitting pillion with a man, after which the two-wheeler sped away.
Later, the woman phoned her mother, saying that she was with her friend and would come back home on her own. The mother then lodged a missing person’s complaint. After the duo was found two weeks later, provisions of the POCSO Act were added. The woman had refused to be medically examined.