Kerala Court Sentences 48 Year-Old-Man Accused To 40 Years Imprisonment For Sexually Assaulting Minor Boy
The Fast Track Special Court (POCSO) at Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday, sentenced a 48-year-old man to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 40 years, and imposed a fine of Rs. 60,000/- on him for sexually assaulting a 11 year old boy in the year 2020.
"Sexual abuse or sexual harassment is never contained to a present moment. It lingers across a person’s lifetime and has pervasive long-term ramifications. From the facts and circumstances of this case, it is found that it is not a fit case to invoke the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958. The object of imposing sentence to an accused is also to be seen as a deterrence to the society. It should also send a message across the society that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence and the shame is always on the aggressor. Sentencing the accused in this case is based on the evidence adduced and the gravity of the offence committed by him on a boy from his neighbourhood whose family was known to him along with the factors concerning him," the Special Judge Aaj Sudarsan observed.
The prosecution case, as submitted by Public Prosecutor Vijay Mohan R.S. was that the accused had carnal intercourse against the order of nature with a 11 year old boy. He was accordingly charged with offences under Sections 377 IPC, 3(a) r/w 4(2), 5(l)(m) r/w 6(l) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).
It was argued by Advocate A. Sabeer on behalf of the accused that the prosecution case was false, and that he was falsely implicated since the mother of the minor victim sought to take revenge against him as she thought that he was the reason for her enmity with her in-laws. It was also contended that his name was wrongly given as Balan, and that he was actually named 'Madhu'. It was further submitted that no specific date of occurrence nor place of occurrence had been mentioned by the prosecution. Additionally, it was submitted that there had been an inordinate delay of 2 years in registering the crime, and that the victim, who has been on liquor, cigar and ganja has a tendency to lie, because of which his statements could not be relied upon.
The Court in this case ascertained that as regards the first issue regarding the establishing the identity of the deceased, a person could be known in his locality by his 'pet name' than his official name. The Court noted that since the victim had categorically pointed out that the accused was a person known to him by his alternate name 'Balan', and the accused himself had admitted to striking off the name ‘Balan’ from the acknowledgment cards he had received from the postal department on service of 2 complaints he had preferred before the DGP and the District Police Chief after he had been released on bail in this case, and concluded that the contention was thus untenable.
As regards the contention that the prosecution had not mentioned a specific date as the date of commission, but only that it took place in 2020, thus violating the mandating of Section 212 Cr.P.C., the Court observed that the provision only requires the charge to contain such particulars of time and place of the alleged offence as are reasonably sufficient to give the accused notice of the matter with which he is charged, which does not require it to be precise as to the hour or even the day on which the offence was committed.
"In the instant case, it is a boy aged 11 years who was subjected to penetrative sexual assault over a period of time by numerous persons at different places. It is difficult to expect that he would speak of the specific dates of penetrative sexual assault by each accused. What can be expected from such a witness (victim) is an approximation of the period in which various incidents of sexual assault was committed on him," the Court observed while rejecting the said argument.
The Court also dismissed the argument regarding non-specification of the place of occurrence of the incident.
The Court took note that the 11-year-old victim boy in this case had had a long history of sexual assault committed against him by several persons either after intoxicating him with liquor, cigar or ganja or on offer to provide him with food. It was during a counselling session with a psychologist that the child opened up about the incidents.
The Court also found no merit in the argument regarding false implication by the mother of the victim boy. "She had seen him doing his job at the house of her in-laws and thus knows him. She has no ill feelings towards him. Further, it is highly improbable for a mother to lodge a false complaint using her child stating that her child is sexually assaulted in order to take revenge on anyone else," the Court reasoned.
The Court thus found the accused guilty of offences punishable under Sections 377 IPC, 3(a) r/w 4(2), 5(l) r/w 6, 5(m) r/w 6 of the POCSO Act, 2012.
The Court thus declared the punishment to be imposed on the accused as follows:
1. Rigorous imprisonment for a period of 20 years and fine of Rs. 30,000/- for the offence punishable under Section 5(l) r/w 6 of the POCSO Act, 2012. In default of payment of the fine amount, the accused shall undergo rigorous imprisonment for a term of 1 year.
2. Rigorous imprisonment for a period of 20 years and fine of Rs.30,000/- for the offence punishable under Section 5(m) r/w 6 of the POCSO Act, 2012. In default of payment of the fine amount, the accused shall undergo rigorous imprisonment for a term of 1 year.
The Court added that in case of realization of the total fine amount of Rs.60,000/-, the entire amount ought to be given to the victim as compensation under Section 357(1)(b) Cr.PC. The Court clarified that the accused was entitled to get set off on the substantive sentence for the period from January 18, 2022 till April 20, 2022, which is the period he had undergone detention as an under trial prisoner. The Court further added that all sentences were to run concurrently.
Case Title: State v. Madhu @ Balan