The Bombay High Court upholds POCSO’s conviction when a teacher rapes a student while forcing her to wear a “Mangalsutra”.
The Bombay High Court recently affirmed a man’s conviction for kidnapping and raping his young student, noting that rather than preparing kids to be good citizens, he tarnished the revered bond between a student and a teacher. The appeal against the conviction was dismissed by a division of Judge Vibha Kankanwadi and Justice Abhay S. Waghwase sitting in Nagpur, in the case of Arvind s/o Sarjerao Devkar v. State of Maharashtra( Criminal Appeal No. 852 of 2015 )
FACTS OF THE CASE :
The defendant appealed his conviction for rape, kidnapping, prostitution of a juvenile girl under section 366A, and aggravated penetrative sexual assault under sections 6 and 4 of the 2012 Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act. He received a ten-year term of strict incarceration. The state appealed in order to have the sentence lengthened.
The victim was a young girl enrolled in the seventh grade. One morning, according to her father, neither the house nor the village had his daughter. He complained after the child’s teacher, the appellant, called him to let him know he was taking the child on vacation and would be back in three to four days.
The appellant was raised at Trimbakeshwar, Nashik, along with the young girl. The girl had been sexually assaulted, a medical investigation indicated. The child told him she didn’t want to stay in the house and was planning to commit suicide, the appellant alleged, after a fight between her and her parents. He therefore brought her along to stop her from taking her own life.
The girl’s testimony against the appellant, according to the state, supported on cross-examination. It was contended that the trial judge failed by being too lenient to the appellant and should have sentenced him to life in prison.
The young girl claimed in her testimony that the appellant provided her with a cell phone. One evening, he called and asked her to meet him somewhere. After that, he led her to the Mahadev Temple in Konkani and bound her with a Mangalsutra by force, telling her they would have to act like a couple. She claimed that after that, they travelled to a number of locations before stopping for two nights at a lodge in Saputara (Gujarat), where the appellant sexually assaulted her twice.
As a teacher, the appellant can be assumed to have been aware of the age range of a pupil enrolled in the seventh grade, according to the court’s ruling. The appellant did not provide any proof to support his claim that he removed the girl from her home to stop her from committing suicide, the court noted. The court said, “In reality, with such a plea, in our judgement, he has conceded that he took the girl with the ulterior goal of developing relations with her.”
The court ruled that because the little girl clearly testified that the appellant committed the offence, more proof is not necessary. “Given such a minor’s perspective, there is no need for more proof to support the claim that there was forced sexual contact. Her testimony alone is enough to convict the defendant. Hence, the only conclusion that can be reached is that the accused pushed himself upon the little girl and committed a rape.
According to the court, the sentence imposed by the trial judge is adequate and there is no justification for increasing it. As a result, it also rejected the state’s appeal.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEW BY SREYA MARY.