Sentencing a youth to 10-years jail for repeated sexual assault on a six-year-old child in his neighbourhood, a special court countered the defence advocate’s contention that the child had not narrated the incidents in his statement recorded before a magistrate, stating in its judgment that children of a tender age had a limited vocabulary and to put such acts with precision is difficult for a child.
The victim’s statement is recorded before a magistrate under Sec 164 of the CrPC, to act as corroborative evidence in trial. The special court designated under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) noted in its order that the record discloses the child was five years old at the relevant time in 2019.
Children of small age have difficulty in explaining their ordeal
The court said, “The children of such a tender age have very limited vocabulary and thus may find it difficult to express themselves precisely and effectively. Special Judge SC Jadhav stated that in the case of sexual assault, such communication become more difficult for the children.” The judgment added that this is because children could hardly understand the purport of such acts and its severity, although they may find it weird and at the same time painful. “To put such acts with precision is a difficult task for a child,” Judge Jadhav stated, remarking that even adults may find it difficult to narrate the act of sexual assault with clarity.
Children need to explain such acts in a cohesive way
Prosecutor Veena Shelar said the incident came to light in May 2019 when the child’s aunt told her sister that the child plays often with the then 20-year-old. The child was initially hesitant to reveal anything when his father asked him about it. The father, during his testimony in court, said that he had promised his son to get a flying bicycle that he saw in a cartoon for him, if he told him what he plays with the youth. His son then narrated the acts of sexual abuse and assault. The father then approached the police. The youth was in prison since his arrest immediately after the incident. The time spent as an undertrial will be deducted from his sentence.
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