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POCSO : UP Court Convicts Accused Within 9 Days Of Filing Chargesheet [Read Judgment]

Akshita Saxena
30 Aug 2019 4:58 PM GMT
POCSO : UP Court Convicts Accused Within 9 Days Of Filing Chargesheet  [Read Judgment]
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Setting a record,  a special Court at Auraiya (Uttar Pradesh) passed an order of conviction under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, within 9 days of filing of charge sheet. The police had submitted chargesheet within twenty days of the offence.

The Act gives an outer limit of one year from the date of taking cognizance for completing trial. Last month, taking note of the acute delay in disposal of POCSO cases, the Supreme Court had passed directions to increase the number of special courts in states.

Background of case

An FIR under Section 376 of IPC and Sections 5 and 6 of POCSO was lodged on 01.08.2019 against one, Shyamveer, aged 19 years, who was accused of having trapped a 4 years old girl in his house and having violated her. The FIR disclosed that he penetrated his fingers into her private parts which resulted in severe bleeding. The victim informed the incident to her mother who later informed the victim's father, the complainant in the case.

On receiving the complaint, the police immediately arrested the accused and recorded the victim's statement under Section 161 CrPC. The medical examination of the victim was conducted by Dr. Seema Gupta on 02.08.2019. After completing the investigation within 20 days, the charge sheet was filed before the special POCSO Court on 20.08.19 in the case captioned "State of Uttar Pradesh v. Shyamveer".

The court framed charges under the aforementioned provisions on 21.08.2019 and wrapping up the trial expediently in just 8 days, Addl. District & Sessions Judge Sh. Rajesh Chaudhary, passed the order of conviction on 29.08.2019.

Arguments

A statement of the accused was recorded under Section 313 CrPC wherein he denied all charges. The accused said that the FIR was inspired by a personal vendetta of the complainant. Further he contended that the victim was merely a 4 years old child and her statements could not be relied upon by the court.

Findings

Rejecting the arguments made by the accused, the court observed the following:

  1. Firstly, the court proceeded with a presumption of guilt of the accused under Section 29 of POCSO. The provision prescribes that when a person is accused of committing an offence under Sections 3, 5, 7 and 9 of POCSO, the court shall presume that the accused had committed the offence until the contrary is proved.
  2. Thereafter, the court noted that the accused did not produce any witness to testify regarding the animosity between him and the complainant.
  3. Since one of the prosecution witnesses had deposed to have seen the accused with the victim before the alleged time of commission of offence, the suspicion of his guilt was aggravated and the court treated it as an incriminating factor in view of Vijay Raikwar v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2019) 4 SCC 210.
  4. Rejecting the second contention raised by the accused, the court said that as per Section 118 of the Evidence Act, a child witness could be a competent witness. Reliance was placed on Gul Singh v.State of MP, 2015 (88) ACC 358 (SC).
  5. The court observed that the statements given by the victim/child witness in the court were well corroborated with her statements before the police. In this regard, the court said that if the statement of child witness, after due scrutiny, inspires confidence of the court, the conviction can be based on such statement. Reliance was placed upon Sudip Kumar Sen v. State of W.B., (2016) 3 SCC 26.
  6. The court also held in view of Ganga Singh v. State of MP, AIR 2013 SC 3008 that merely because no other person had witnessed the commission of the offence, the credit-worthiness of a prosecutrix could not be challenged. The court also suggested that no other person had witnessed the offence certainly because it was committed inside the house of the accused.
  7. The court examined the statements of all witnesses including Dr. Gupta who confirmed that the nature of injuries was similar to the allegations made in the FIR.
  8. The court was the opinion that the subsequent conduct of the victim of informing her mother about the incident immediately was relevant under Section 8 of the Evidence Act, 1872. Reliance was also placed on State of Assam v. Ramen Dowarah, (2016) 3 SCC 19.

While passing the order of sentence, the court relied on Deepak Rai, etc. v. State of Bihar, (2013) 10 SCC 421, wherein it was held that young age of the accused could not be a mitigating factor during passing the sentence. The court also noted that in Satya Narayan Tiwari @ Jolly & Ors. v. State of U.P., (2010) 13 SCC 689, the Supreme Court had held that "Crimes against women are not ordinary crimes committed in a fit of anger or for property. They are social crimes. They disrupt the entire social fabric. Hence, they call for harsh punishment".

Based on the aforesaid materials and observations, the court convicted the accused under the said provisions and sentenced him to life imprisonment and fine of Rs. 2,00,000/-.

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