19 Oct 2022 3:45 AM GMT
Observing that offences against minors, especially sexual assault, are increasing alarmingly, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday stressed that it is necessary for the courts to "imbibe the legislative wisdom" behind enactment of the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Observing that rape is a heinous crime which is abhorrent not only as against the victim but also...
Observing that offences against minors, especially sexual assault, are increasing alarmingly, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday stressed that it is necessary for the courts to "imbibe the legislative wisdom" behind enactment of the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Observing that rape is a heinous crime which is abhorrent not only as against the victim but also against society at large, a division bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup J. Bhambhani observed:
"The plight of a victim and the shock suffered can be felt instinctively; as the victim of rape is left devastated by the traumatic experience, as well as an unforgettable shame; being haunted by the memory of the horrific experience forcing her into a state of terrifying melancholia."
The bench also stressed that it is the duty of the courts to consider the special legislation "in the circumstances to which they owe their origin" to ensure coherence and also to avoid any unintended and undesirable consequences.
"The torment on the victim has the potential to corrode the poise and equanimity of any civilized society. It has been correctly said that whereas a murderer destroys the physical frame of a victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female," the court said.
The court made the observations while upholding the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment awarded to a man for raping his niece, a one-year-old infant girl, in 2012.
The appellant was convicted under section 376(2)(f) of IPC and Section 6 read with section 5 and 3 of POCSO Act. On October 31, 2019, he was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life.
In his appeal before the High Court, it was the appellant's case that apart from the testimonies of the victim's parents, there was no other public witness which was examined by the prosecution to prove his guilt.
It was also contended that the testimonies of the parents were unreliable for the reason of their relationship with the victim. The testimony is uncorroborated, it was argued.
The court rejected the contention by observing that the two witnesses cannot be characterised as interested witnesses simply because they are parents of the prosecutrix, adding that there was nothing to suggest that they had any motive in framing the appellant for the commission of a heinous crime.
The parents' testimony is credible and inspires confidence as they were witnesses to the commission of the offence being present at the relevant time, the court said.
On the argument that there were discrepancies in the testimonies of the parents, the court was of the view that normal discrepancies do occur in the depositions of the witnesses owing to their mental disposition such as shock and horror at the time of the incident.
"There is no gainsaying the position of law and there can be no quarrel with the proposition that when the testimony of the prosecution witnesses is creditworthy, trustworthy, unimpeached and inspires confidence; the conviction of the appellant can be sustained," the court said.
The court also noted that the victim's MLC confirmed that her hymen was torn and that the appellant's semen was found on her undergarments at the time of the commission of the offence.
"Let it also not be forgotten that the present is a case of rape on a girl child, only 01 years old, at the time of commission of the offence. Nothing can be more heinous than a crime committed on a child," the court said.
It added "It is trite to state that it is necessary for the Courts to have a sensitive approach when dealing with cases of child rape. The effect of such a crime on the mind of the child is likely to be lifelong."
Title: ABC v. State
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 984
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