A special court designated under the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) on Wednesday sentenced a 28-year-old to five years of rigorous imprisonment for groping a minor in her building’s lift. The court also imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 on the man and ordered that of the amount, Rs. 8,000 be paid as compensation to the victim who was 11-years-old at the time of the incident. It also recommended the case for compensation under the Victim’s Compensation Scheme.
The case was presented in April 2019 and took the court exactly two years to conclude. As per the complaint registered at Antop Hill police station by the child’s mother, the child was returning from a birthday party on 18 January 2019 and had entered the building’s lift. The man had entered after her. He had pinched her cheeks and touched her breasts inside the lift. The child had raised an alarm and her father and other neighbours had caught him at the fourth floor. Then the police were called.
Appearing before the court the victim had deposed that having entered the lift she had pressed the button of the fourth floor and he had said he wanted to get down at the first floor. But he had stayed on in the lift and then molested her. She had further told the court that he was heavily drunk.
The youth had taken the defence that he was in an inebriated condition, was not aware of his acts and had been falsely implicated. He further contended that his acts did not have any sexual intention behind them.
Special judge Bharti Kale said in her judgment that the evidence on record reflects that the accused had told the victim he wanted to get down at the first floor and then intentionally stayed on in the lift and sexually assaulted her. Therefore, the court said, it cannot be said that he was unaware of the acts he committed. Further, it said that he had touched her cheeks and breasts and the acts show that he had sexual intention.
While deciding the quantum of sentence, judge Kale said that the child was 11-years-old at the time of the incident and that the acts of the accused created fear in her mind. Considering the nature of the offence, the court said the sentence will meet the ends of justice.