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Father committing rape upon minor daughter is aggravated penetrative sexual assault under Section 5(n) of the POCSO Act, 2012: Tripura High Court

The accused has failed to establish the fact that he did not commit rape upon her daughter. Considering the overall evidence and materials on record, we find no reason to dislodge the finding of guilt of the accused recorded by the learned Special Judge in convicting the accused-appellant. This was said in the case of Sri Manik Bhakti vs The State Of Tripura [CRL A(J) 48 OF 2019] by Chief Justice Mr. Akil Kureshi Mr. Justice Arindam Lodh in the High Court of Tripura 

The facts of the case date back to 09.11.2017 when Special Judge convicted the appellant under Section 6 of (POCSO) Act and sentenced to suffer R.I. for life which shall mean remainder part of his life and to pay a fine of `10,000/- with default stipulation. Assailing the judgment of the Special Judge, the appellant filed an appeal.

The learned counsel on behalf of the appellant contended that the prosecution has miserably failed to substantiate the charges levelled against the accused-appellant. The version of the victim was not found to be trustworthy. Secondly, the prosecution has failed to produce the complainant, the mother of the victim to adduce evidence before the court though her name was shown as one of the witnesses to the case. Thirdly, it was contended that there were material contradictions between the statements made in the FIR and the testimonies of PW-1, PW-2 and PW- 3 (victim). It was further contended that Special Judge has committed an error of law and facts in believing the age of the prosecutrix below 18 years.

The respondent contended that the prosecution has been able to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. The discrepancies as surfaced in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses were to be treated in minor in nature but the factum of rape had been proved beyond reasonable doubt. According to learned Addl. P.P., the medical report clearly suggested that the victim was raped by the accused. Further, it was contended that the fact that at the time of commission of offence, the victim was below 18 years had been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

After analysing the submissions made by parties and perusing the evidence on record, the Court opined that “the victim is the minor daughter of the accused being her biological father. So, the accused being the father committed rape upon his minor daughter which comes within the definition of aggravated penetrative sexual assault and attracts the definition of Section 5(n) of the POCSO Act, 2012”.

Furthermore, the Court said that “we have taken note of the statements made by the victim girl recorded under  Section 164(5) of CrPC. However, the material part that her father put the pillow underneath of her waist and committed rape upon her are found to be stated and corroborated her statement she has made in her examination-in-chief. According to us, the accused has failed to establish the fact that he did not commit rape upon her daughter”. Considering the age of the accused, we are of the opinion that reasonable justice will be rendered if the accused-appellant is sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 14 years instead of imprisonment for life as under the statute. Hence, the appeal was partly allowed.

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