A Special POCSO Court in Mumbai acquitted a 24 years old Nashik resident from the charges of kidnapping and rape and directed his forthwith release from jail, after the prosecutrix stated that she had never met the accused.
The prosecutrix denied all allegations recoded under Section 164 of CrPC and informed the Court that she was made to sign on a statement recorded in Marathi language, whereas she only understood English/ Urdu.
Special Judge Priti Kumar (Ghule) noted that the prosecutrix, who was now a major, had voluntarily stated that she was alone and there was no question of anything wrong happening with her.
"It is seen that prosecutrix is now completed 18 years and she is aware of deposition before Court. The prosecutrix has confidentiality refuted the allegations against the accused as mentioned in the police statement…She has totally refused connection of accused with her. She does not know any such person…It is seen that she is in the age of maturity and understanding. Her evidence does not establish any foundational facts for raising presumption u/s. 29 of the Pocso Act against the accused," the Court thus held.
The accused in this case had been in custody for almost a year, based on the allegations levelled by the prosecutrix's brother. It was alleged that the accused met the 17 years old prosecutrix on a bus to Pune in January 2020 and later, developed a sexual relationship with her.
Accordingly, a case was registered by the Nirmal Nagar Police Station under Sections 363 (Kidnapping) and 376 (Rape) of IPC and other relevant provisions of the POCSO Act.
Allegedly, the prosecutrix's statement under Section 164 of CrPC also implicated the accused of the said offences. However, during deposition in the Court, the prosecutrix denied all allegations.
She submitted that no untoward incident occurred with her. According to her, she left her house after a quarrel with her sister, to meet a friend in Pune but when she went to the washroom, she lost the address of her friend. Hence, she took a lodge for herself at Pune. She was alone in the lodge, where she watched TV and slept and after her money got over, she returned.
She categorically submitted that She never met any boy in the bus and she never met accused or anybody even at Pune.
Moreover, when her statement under Section 164 of the CrPC was pointed to her, she admitted her signature on it but deposed that she did not state everything to the Magistrate. She told the Court that the statement was in Marathi and she understand only Urdu and English. According to her, she was made to sign on Marathi Statement, which was not explained to her.
In these circumstances, the Court held,
"It is seen that she is in the age of maturity and understanding. Her evidence do not establish any foundational facts for raising presumption u/s. 29 of the Pocso Act against the accused. The evidence of WPSI becomes formal in nature. The ingredients of offence not established."
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