29 March 2022 1:25 PM GMT
In a POCSO case where the petitioner man has been in incarceration for around 3 years, the Supreme Court on Monday suspended the execution of remaining part of sentence awarded to the him.While allowing the application seeking suspension of execution of sentence of petitioner who got married to the complainant before the Trial Court's conviction order, a bench comprising Justice...
In a POCSO case where the petitioner man has been in incarceration for around 3 years, the Supreme Court on Monday suspended the execution of remaining part of sentence awarded to the him.
While allowing the application seeking suspension of execution of sentence of petitioner who got married to the complainant before the Trial Court's conviction order, a bench comprising Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Aniruddha Bose has further observed that the petitioner may be released on bail on such terms and conditions as may be imposed by the Trial Court.
"Having regard to the totality of facts and circumstances, we are inclined to suspend the execution of remaining part of the sentence awarded to the appellant", the bench observed.
The petitioner has been in jail for around 2 years 11 months, after being convicted under Section 6 of the POCSO Act and being sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 10 years. Section 6 of the POCSO Act provides for the punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault.
The Bench was considering a special leave petition challenging Madras High upholding the conviction awarded to the petitioner by the Trial Court under section 6 of POCSO Act imposing a sentence of 10 years of Rigorous Imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs. 5000.
The present petition was filed raising a question of law as to "Whether the punishing of an adolescent boy who enters into a relationship with a minor girl by treating him as an offender is the objective of the POCSO Act and question of applicability of POCSO to consensual relationship not need an examination by Court in view of the conflicting opinions given by different High Courts on the ambit of POCSO to punish consensual relationship''.
The petitioner, aged around 25 years is who has been in jail for around 2 years 11 months, argued that the High Court passed the order without considering that it was a case of consensual love affair when they were minors and before pronouncement of the final judgment of the Trial Court, both the Victim and Petitioner got married.
According to the petitioner, the present case is one of a love affair between him and the complainant which started in 2012. The complainant, four years younger than the petitioner got pregnant in around April, 2014. FIR was lodged against the petitioner on 18.07.2014.
The petitioner stated that when he met the victim girl after her pregnancy, he assured to marry her and the aunt of Complainant had asked for Rs.25,000/- for medical and other expenses for the girl that he immediately accepted to pay.
The petitioner has submitted that on 28.11.2018, during the pendency of the trial i.e. before the pronouncement of final judgment, both the Complainant girl and the Petitioner got married in presence of their families after the girl had attained her marriageable age.
However, the Trial Court without appreciating the background of the case and the fact that they are married passed a judgment convicting the petitioner under section 6 of POCSO Act, 2012.
The petitioner has submitted that he is now suffering from depression and on numerous occasions has been taken to rehabilitation centre.
"The impact of such a harsh punishment in a case of consensual affair has severely impacted his mental health, his young life. Furthermore incarceration can prove fatal to his life as he is spending his days in jail with serious habitual criminals. The basis of filing the complaint was only apprehension of failure of marriage but the complainant is married to him for the last so many years still the petitioner is languishing in jail." the petition has stated.
Advocate-on-Record Rahul Shyam Bhandari appeared for the petitioner.
Case Title: Criminal Appeal No. 1380/2021
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