A special court, recently in its judgment while deciding the quantum of sentence for a 23-year-old ward boy who had spent three years in jail in a case of outraging the modesty of a 12-year-old at a public toilet, observed that the mindset of our society is such that nobody comes ahead to file such cases out of apprehension of humiliation in society. While deciding the quantum of punishment, the court has to think of the feelings of the victim.
Special judge under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act HC Shende said in her judgment while sentencing the youth to three years jail, “We know the mindset of our society. No one is coming ahead to file such cases because of apprehension of being humiliated in the society. The victim still came ahead, daringly gave FIR and stuck to her version till the end of the trial.”
The court also noted another case of sexual assault in which grave allegations were pending against the youth and said that it has to consider it while deciding the quantum of punishment.
Judge Shende said that the accused is in custody since August, 2017, is aged about 23 years only and has undergone maximum span of time in custody, calling these mitigating circumstances. The court has to look at the aggravating circumstances also, she said, and noted that the victim was aged about 13 years at the time and that the accused behaved very indecently with her in the public toilet. She was with her sister, which saved her from being harassed more at his hands, the court stated.
The defence had, during cross-examination, implied that the accused and the girl were known to each other. Since the girl’s mother, who is the complainant in the case, did not like their speaking, she had falsely implicated him. Regarding this, the court said that, even in a love affair, one cannot force the other for sex or sexual acts.
Elsewhere, in the order, it said, “Even if anybody is saying that there is a love relation between the accused and victim, still whether the accused has the authority to do such a thing... Certainly not. Nobody can compel a girl to keep sexual relations. Such an act, if committed, is an offence as per prevailing laws.”
As per the complaint filed at Kurar police station, the girl and her cousin sister had been to the public toilet. The youth had tried to push open the door of the toilet the girl’s sister was using, but it was locked and she pushed back. He had then got into one of the nearby toilets and pulled the minor into it when she was passing by while exiting. She had resisted. The sisters had raised an alarm and fled. The youth had touched the minor on her shoulder at a market a month before the incident too, but she had ignored it then.