Mumbai News: POCSO Court Sentences Man To 10 Years Imprisonment For Sexually Assaulting Minor On Pretext Of Marriage

Mumbai News: POCSO Court Sentences Man To 10 Years Imprisonment For Sexually Assaulting Minor On Pretext Of Marriage

The man argued that they were in a consensual relationship and that the girl had falsely stated her age to be of 18 years.

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Sunday, April 14, 2024, 12:56 AM IST
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In a significant ruling, a special POCSO court awarded ten years of imprisonment to a 31-year-old man, who sexually exploited a minor on the promise of marriage. The court rejected the convict's argument that his religion permits him to have four wives and to marry a 15-year-old girl. Brushing aside the argument, special judge Chhaya V Patil pointed out that the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act has an overriding effect on all the personal laws and customs. Notably, the girl specified that the convict hid the fact that he was married and even had kids.

As per the prosecution, the victim came in contact with the man in January 2018. He was acquainted with her family. Later, the duo started interacting on the phone and soon she fell for him. Since the girl's elder sister was hospitalised, the mother would often have to spend a lot of time there. Taking advantage of this, the man started visiting the victim's house and established a physical relationship.

Victim's Testimony Contradicts Accused's Claims Of Consent And Age Misrepresentation

In her testimony, the victim said that she refused to have sexual intercourse initially, but he promised to marry her. In July, a medical examination revealed that she was 18 months pregnant. However, the girl refused to approach the police due to “society's fear”. Later, her kin got her pregnancy terminated and the incident came to light when the police visited the girl.

The man argued that they were in a consensual relationship and that the girl had falsely stated her age to be of 18 years. He further claimed that his religion allows to have four wives, besides tying a nuptial knot with a teen. The victim denied to have told the convict that she was 18 years old. She also pointed out that she was unaware that he was already married. She said that she came to know about the shocking fact through her mother.

Court Emphasises Consent And Age In Deciding Sexual Assault Case

Special judge Patil said, “Though the religious law would have allowed four wives, it is the question of will and not mandatory. If any woman willingly gets married with an already married man then it is her personal will. It cannot be imposed on society.”

The judge continued, “If it is the defence of the accused that he had already disclosed his marital status to the victim and even then she was ready to marry him. In such circumstances, it was necessary for the accused to wait till the victim attained majority and then he would have married her without establishing physical relation.”

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