15 Oct 2022 3:16 AM GMT
More than 7 years after he was released on probation — even though he had spent just nine months in jail, the Delhi High Court has sentenced the man to five years rigorous imprisonment for sexually assaulting a four-year-old minor victim.The man was convicted for the offences under Section 363 (Punishment for kidnapping) of Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 10 (Punishment for...
More than 7 years after he was released on probation — even though he had spent just nine months in jail, the Delhi High Court has sentenced the man to five years rigorous imprisonment for sexually assaulting a four-year-old minor victim.
The man was convicted for the offences under Section 363 (Punishment for kidnapping) of Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 10 (Punishment for aggravated sexual assault) of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in 2015.
However, instead of sentencing him to imprisonment, the trial court on 10.02.2015 gave the convict the benefit of probation and released him for the period already undergone in custody. As per the nominal roll, he had undergone 9 months and 26 days in jail on the day of release.
Observing that it was his first offence and he is stated to "be having responsibility" of his family, the additional sessions judge had said the convict deserves to be given a chance for reformation by taking a lenient view.
The trial court had also observed that the conviction under Section 10 of POCSO Act entails a maximum punishment of five years of imprisonment with fine.
Dealing with the prosecution's appeal challenging the release, the division bench of Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Anish Dayal observed that the trial court "grossly erred" in releasing the convict.
"It is apparent that the learned Special Court grossly erred in noting the fundamental fact that the conviction under Section 10 of POCSO Act entails a maximum punishment of imprisonment for five years with fine whereas as per the Section 10 of POCSO Act, it entails a minimum punishment of imprisonment for five years with fine and a maximum punishment of imprisonment for seven years with fine," the bench said.
Though the man had not challenged the conviction, the court felt it necessary to go through the deposition of the minor victim. The same was duly proved and not disputed by the defence, said the court.
"Even in the cross-examination of this child victim, nothing has been elucidated to show that the respondent did not commit the offence punishable under Section 10 of the POCSO Act," it added.
Allowing the appeal, the court modified the sentence of the convict from the period already undergone to sentence of five years rigorous imprisonment.
"The appeal filed by the State is therefore, liable to be allowed. Considering the mitigating factors that the respondent has to look after the family, during the period from 11th February, 2015, the respondent is not involved in any other offence, the sentence of the respondent is modified ...," it said in the order.
After the order, the court directed the police officials to hand over custody of the convict to the Superintendent of Tihar Jail.
Title: STATE (GOVT OF NCT OF DELHI) v. Pappu
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 972
Click Here To Read Order