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"May Inhibit Child From Developing Healthy Interpersonal Relationships In Future": Delhi HC Denies Bail To Basketball Coach Allegedly Sexually Assaulting 13 Yr-Old

Nupur Thapliyal
19 Aug 2021 6:54 AM GMT
May Inhibit Child From Developing Healthy Interpersonal Relationships In Future: Delhi HC Denies Bail To Basketball Coach Allegedly Sexually Assaulting 13 Yr-Old
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The Delhi High Court recently refused to grant bail to a 57-year old basketball coach accused of allegedly sexually assaulting a 13-year old girl after observing that the act of betrayal of trust at an early stage of life may inhibit the child from developing healthy interpersonal relationships in future.Justice Subramonium Prasad observed:"Paramount consideration is to be given to the...

The Delhi High Court recently refused to grant bail to a 57-year old basketball coach accused of allegedly sexually assaulting a 13-year old girl after observing that the act of betrayal of trust at an early stage of life may inhibit the child from developing healthy interpersonal relationships in future.

Justice Subramonium Prasad observed:

"Paramount consideration is to be given to the well-being of the child whose mental psyche is vulnerable, impressionable and in a developing stage. The long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse are, at many times, insurmountable."
"An act of sexual assault or sexual harassment, therefore, has the potential to cause mental trauma to the child and may dictate their thought process for the years to come. It may hinder the normal social growth of the child and lead to various psychosocial problems which could require psychological intervention."

The petitioner seeking regular bail was accused for offences punishable under sec. 354-B of IPC and sec. 10 of POCSO Act.

It was alleged that the petitioner had wrapped his arms around prosecutrix's stomach and touched her inappropriately while she was exercising.

On being uncomfortable, she asked him to stop. Later, the incident was narrated by her to her parents after which a complaint was lodged by them.

It was submitted on behalf of the petitioner that he was employed as Chief Coach Basketball and was a Group-A rank officer working with the Sports Authority of India, Government of India. Citing many health impediments, it was also submitted that he fell within the category of high-risk persons, vulnerable to getting infected with the COVID-19 virus.

Furthermore, it was submitted that the allegations recorded in the FIR and the charge-sheet were false, frivolous and a figment of the Prosecutrix's imagination and that the FIR was malafide as a means to play out a personal vendetta against him.

On the other hand, the Prosecution submitted that the petitioner was present in a fiduciary capacity when the alleged incident occurred, and that there is a possibility of the Prosecutrix being influenced or the matter being delayed if he absconds on being granted bail.

"The Petitioner, being the Basketball Coach of the prosecutrix and also known to the parents of the prosecutrix, can be stated to be in a position of trust or authority of a child, as per Section 9(p) of the POCSO Act. The relationship between the Prosecutrix and the Petitioner is, therefore fiduciary in nature," the Court observed.

While rejecting the bail plea, the Court directed the Trial Court to proceed further with the framing of charges within one month from the date of the order. It also clarified that if charges are framed, then the Court shall examine the victim within one month.

"Liberty is granted to the petitioner to approach the Court for grant of bail after two months irrespective of whether victim has been examined or not," the Court added.

Title: PRAFULLA KUMAR SAHU v. STATE OF NCT OF DELHI

Click Here To Read Order

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