5 Sep 2023 11:30 AM GMT
The Calcutta High Court has dismissed the appeal preferred by a man convicted under Section 9 of the POCSO Act, for committing rape on a 9-year-old girl at her school.In holding that the testimony of the minor, as well as medical evidence regarding the accused’s stable mental state could not be ignored merely because appellant was referred to as ‘pagol’/’mad’ by local persons,...
The Calcutta High Court has dismissed the appeal preferred by a man convicted under Section 9 of the POCSO Act, for committing rape on a 9-year-old girl at her school.
In holding that the testimony of the minor, as well as medical evidence regarding the accused’s stable mental state could not be ignored merely because appellant was referred to as ‘pagol’/’mad’ by local persons, a single-bench of Justice Bibhas Ranjan De held:
On overall evaluation of the evidence, I find that consistent evidence of victim was supported by her parents and also by the Doctor of Nadia Sadar Hospital. I cannot disbelieve the evidence of victim, a nine-year-old girl only on the plea of defence that accused was called as ‘Pagol’ in the locality ignoring the evidence of Dr. Poulami Ray Chowdhury as well as a report of Medical Board. From the evidence of Dr Chowdhury, called for at the instance of this Court, we cannot, in any manner, suggest that at the time of incident accused was insane or abnormal. To show such abnormality/insanity defence did not adduce any evidence in spite of having enough opportunity to rebut the presumption under Section 29 of the POCSO Act. This Court thus upheld the conviction and dismissed the appeal.
The victim, a student of class 3, had been allegedly taken to a vacant room in her school by the appellant and raped there, until her screaming and shouting alerted other students. Upon receipt of the complaint, the police visited the school and took 161 CrPC statements from other students, as well as a 164 CrPC statement from the victim.
At trial, the Sessions judge was of the opinion that the victim’s evidence in this case ‘passed the test of sterling character’, and proved the offence of sexual assault on her by the accused, thereby sentencing the accused to suffer imprisonment of 5 years under Section 10 of the POCSO Act.
In the present appeal, counsel for the appellant argued that the victim's case was not supported by any teachers or staff at the place of occurrence, and that none of the students of the school had been examined by the police, particularly one who entered the vacant room upon hearing the minor’s screaming.
Alternatively, counsel argued that the appellant was insane and suffered from poor vision, thereby not being mentally sound to understand or commit such acts.
In reply, counsel for the State relied on the statement of the minor girl, which was corroborated by the Doctor, as well as medical examination reports of the accused, which showed that the appellant was “fully alert” during his examination u/s 313 CrPC.
In taking into note the evidence furnished by the various prosecution witnesses, such as the victim, complainant as well as other witnesses including the various medical examiners, the Court concluded that while it may be true that the appellant was routinely referred to as pagol/mad by locals in the area, the same could not rule out the account of the victim, who understood the questions posed to her and answered them rationally, or the reports of the medical examinations conducted on the accused, which showed that “he was mentally completely stable on date.”
Accordingly, the conviction was upheld and the appellant was directed to surrender before the Trial Court to serve his sentence.
Case: Animesh Biswas Vs. State of West Bengal
Coram: Justice Bibhas Ranjan De
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Cal) 271
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