17 Feb 2023 2:11 PM GMT
The Bombay High Court recently upheld a man’s conviction for kidnapping and raping his minor student observing that instead of grooming students to become responsible citizens, he created a blot on the pious relationship of a student and a teacher.A division Justice Vibha Kankanwadi and Justice Abhay S. Waghwase sitting at Nagpur dismissed the appeal against conviction observing – “In...
The Bombay High Court recently upheld a man’s conviction for kidnapping and raping his minor student observing that instead of grooming students to become responsible citizens, he created a blot on the pious relationship of a student and a teacher.
A division Justice Vibha Kankanwadi and Justice Abhay S. Waghwase sitting at Nagpur dismissed the appeal against conviction observing –
“In fact being teacher, he ought to have groomed his students to become responsible citizens of the Nation and was expected to educate his students from all angles and to make them good citizens of the society, but he seems to have victimized his own student, who infact, in our opinion, was her guardian while she was taking education in the school. He seems to have utterly failed in doing so and has rather created a blot on the student-teacher relationship which is considered to be pious”.
The court further observed that appellant forcibly made the minor girl wear a mangalsutra in order to not get caught.
“Further, from the evidence of victim it is emerging that accused made her wear mangalsutra to show that she was married to him. She has also narrated where such event took place. The person from whom mangalsutra was purchased has also been examined by prosecution and he has supported prosecution”.
The appellant appealed his conviction under sections 363 (kidnapping), 366A (procuration of minor girl), 376 (rape) as well as sections 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) and 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. He was sentenced for rigorous imprisonment for ten years. The state filed an appeal seeking enhancement of sentence.
The victim was a minor girl studying in the 7th standard. Her father alleged that one morning his daughter was nowhere to be found in the house or the village. He filed a complaint after the appellant, who was the teacher of the child, called him and informed that he was travelling with the child and will return after 3-4 days.
The appellant along with the minor girl were raised at Trimbakeshwar, Nashik. Medical examination revealed that the girl had been sexually assaulted. The trial court convicted the appellant.
The appellant claimed that there was a quarrel between the girl and her parents and she disclosed to him that she did not want to stay in the house and intended to commit suicide. Thus, he took her with him to prevent her from committing suicide.
The state contended that the girl’s testimony against the appellant remained unshaken in cross-examination. The trial judge should have awarded life imprisonment but showed undue leniency to the appellant, it was argued.
The minor girl testified that the appellant gave her a mobile phone. He called her one night asking her to meet at a certain place. From there, he took her to Mahadev Temple at Kokani and, claiming that they will have to pretend to be a couple, forcibly tied Mangalsutra. From there, she testified, they went to several places and halted at a lodge in Saputara (Gujarat) for two nights where the appellant raped her twice. Then, they stayed at a lodge in Trimbakeshwar for 4-5 days where he again raped her twice.
The court held that being a teacher, the appellant can be presumed to have known her age as he should be aware of the age group of a student studying in the 7th class.
The court observed that the appellant did not give any evidence to prove that he took the girl away to prevent her from committing suicide. “Infact, with such plea, in our opinion, he has accepted that he has taken away the girl with ulterior motive of developing intimacy with her”, the court added.
The court opined that appellant’s act of winning over her affection, giving her a mobile phone and inducing her to leave her house shows that he planned everything.
The court held that there is no further requirement of other evidence as the minor girl categorically testified that the appellant committed the offence. “With such version coming from minor, there is no further requirement of other evidence to hold that there was forcible sexual intercourse. Her sole testimony is sufficient to hold accused guilty. Therefore, the only inference that can be drawn is that accused had raped and forced himself upon the minor girl.”
The court opined that the sentence awarded by the trial judge is sufficient and there is no reason to enhance it. Hence, it dismissed the state’s appeal as well.
Advocate V. R. Dhorde represented the Appellant while APP A. M. Phule represented the state.
Case no. – Criminal Appeal No. 852 of 2015
Case Title – Arvind S/o Sarjerao Devkar v. State of Maharashtra
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Bom) 107
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment