The above-mentioned was opined by the Calcutta High Court in the case of Digantan Mukherjee v. Raju Roy and Anr, CRA 512 of 2018 before the Honourable Justice Siddhartha Roy Chowdhury on 23rd December 2022.
FACTS OF THE CASE
This is an appeal against an order of acquittal made by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, 2nd Court, Paschim Medinipur, in POCSO Case No. 24 of 2014 R. No. 77 of 2015 arising out of Kotwali P.S. Case No. 420 of 2014 on April 15, 2014, under Sections 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, 2012, and 354 B of the Indian Penal Code, finding the accused not guilty of the charges. Leave has been officially granted.
Digantan Mukherjee reported in writing to the Inspector-in-charge that when he returned home from his place of employment, he discovered his wife sobbing and his older daughter, who was around 7 years old and clearly frightened. He then learned that two days prior, Sri Raju Roy of his neighbourhood had physically snatched his older daughter from the road and taken her to a field’s edge, where he had stripped her naked, licked her genitalia, and attempted to push his genitalia into the girl’s vagina. After about an hour, the girl returned home and informed her mother about the agony. The victim girl recognised the suspect and informed her mother that Raju Roy was to blame for the suffering.
The victim was required to be inspected within 30 days of the day the offence was first recognised, but the testimony of the victim girl was recorded over 8 months later and there was no justification for the delay, which violated the law.
JUDGEMENT OF THE CASE
The Court stated that the verdict rendered by the competent Trial Court has flaws and that the decision of acquittal was unjustified, which justifies an order of reversion. The Court, therefore, leans towards allowing the appeal. The challenged verdict and acquittal judgement issued by the knowledgeable Trial Court are quashed. Raju Roy is found guilty of the accusation brought against him under Section 8 of the POCSO Act and Section 354B of the Indian Penal Code. As a result, the Court enters a conviction order. According to Section 8 of the POCSO Act and Section 354B of the I.P.C., the minimum sentence for both offences is three years, while the maximum sentence is seven years. He cannot, however, be penalised again.
However, in light of the prisoner’s right to an opinion on the matter of sentence, the Court felt inclined to return the record of the lower Court to the learned Trial court with the instruction that the learned Trial court will hear the convict on the matter of sentence and, after weighing the aggravating and mitigating factors, will determine the appropriate sentence for the convict. The convict is instructed to come before the knowledgeable Trial Court by January 31, 2023, to express his opinion on the issue of punishment.
The victim girl is entitled to compensation, and after taking into account the relevant facts and circumstances, r Rs. 1,000,000 is to be paid out within a month of this date.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY SAYANTANI RAKSHIT