Madras High Court
The Madras High Court passed a Judgement on 18.11.2022, in a case in which there was upholding of a conviction of a man was convicted for 10 years sentence in a POCSO Act case by the learned sessions Judge , Mahalir Neethimandram (Fast Track Mahila Court) Tiruppur in Spl.S.C.No.14 of 2017 .The case was Ravi @ Virumandi v/s (i) State represented by The assistant commissioner of police , North Range , Tiruppur (ii) State represented by The inspector of Police , Tiruppur Crime No. 624 of 2014 and the case was presided by The Honourable Mr. Justice P. Velmurugan .
FACTS OF THE CASES
- The case was that the victim whose age was 17 years at the time when the incident was happened was working in Anitha Stitching Centre as a tailor .The accused was also working in there. On 05.05.2014 the minor girl after saying that she was not doing well went out from the stitching centre and the same time accused also went out from the stitching centre.
- The accused kidnapped the victim from her lawful guardianship from Tiruppur to Amurdhahalli, Bangalore in train and forcefully married her. The both were residing in a rented house at Banglore from 05.05.2014 to 19.07.2014 and the time when they were residing there the accused forcefully had a sexual intercourse with the victim several times.
- The section on the accused was Section 366 of IPC(allegedly abducting a minor girl), Section 5(1) of the POCSO Act (Aggravated penetrative sexual assault) and Section 3(1)(w)(i) r/w 3(2)(Va) of the SC/ST Act as the girl was from SC/ST tribe and the boy was not from the SC/ST caste.
- The accused was convicted from the learned session court as follows:-
- For the conviction under section 366 he was convicted for 7 years rigorous imprisonment and pay of Rs.1,000/- .
- For the conviction under Section 5(1) of POCSO Act which is punishable under Section 6 of POCSO Act he was sentenced for 10 years rigorous imprisonment and pay fine of Rs.10,000/- .
- For the conviction under section stated above of the SC/ST Act he was sentenced for 5 year rigorous and to pay the fine of Rs. 5,000/- .
- Challenging the said conviction appellant is before the court. The criminal appeal has been filed against the jugdment and the conviction .
- The counsel for the appellant said that prosecution has not proved the age of victim. Actually at the time of when the incident was happened , the victim has completed 18 years , but , the document which was submitted in court by the prosecution was created which shows that victim was less then 18 years . the case was originally registered as “Girl Missing”. On the date of registering the case , no document was provided which shows that the girl was of 17 years. Once the age of victim has not been proved , then the offence under PACSO Act would not attract. The counsel also submitted the evidence which shows that the victim voluntarily went along with the appellant. During trial the girl had testify that the appellant married her and they stayed in Bangalore as a husband and wife for 2 ½ Months. Therefore, section 366 of IPC would not get attracted. The also submitted the medical report which shows no sign of external injuries found on victim body. Therefore, from the evidence of the the victim and medical report it was revealed that victim had given her consent for the marriage and therefore, section of SC/ST Act stated above would not get attracted.
- The learned Additional PP appearing for the respondent submitted the evidence which was the Birth Certificate of the victim which stated the DOB of 10.05.1997,and the incident was occur on 05.05.2014 and the case was registered on 10.05.2014. Therefore, at the time of occurrence , the victim was of 17 years and she was a child. On the date of occurrence , the appellant took the victim forcefully and married her and also had a physical relationship with her.
- Heard the learned counsel for the appellant and the learned Additional Public Prosecutor appearing for the respondent and also persued the materials available on record.
The learned counsel argued by giving the reference of the case Vijayalakshmi and Anr. Vs State by Inspector wherein the court had observed that the legislature related to the relationship of the adolescents needs a necessary amendments under PACSO Act. Dealing with the case justice if Madras HC observed that “though this court has expressed the view that the teenage persons who have completed the age of 17 but not 18 years may not be punished under PACSO Act , with the great respect to the learned brother judges , that it is the opinion of the particular judge and it may not be a finding in all cases.” .
The court refused to grant any relief to the convict and said that it is eagerly waiting for the amendment in the legislature in PACSO Act .
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NAMRATA SINGH