“When the victim is the child itself, they cannot be tutored to give evidence” Punishment imposed on accused by the Trial Court enhanced: Madras High Court

The Madras High Court passed a judgement on 3rd of April, 2023 in which it dismissed the appeal of the accused against the conviction by the Trial court for the rape of a minor child. This was seen in the case of A. Muthupandi v. The State (Crl.A.No.245 of 2016 & 154 of 2017) and the case was presided over by The Honourable Mr. Justice N. Anand Venkatesh


The appellant or accused, was convicted by the trial court for the rape of a minor child. He was the neighbour of the victim who was five years old at that time. The accused had then contended that the dates of the incident didn’t match during the course of the trial. Regardless, the doctors had confirmed in their report that the accused was indeed guilty. Thus, the court convicted him and he was sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs.10,000. Hence this appeal.


The learned single judge after listening to the contentions of both parties, dismissed the appeal. The appellant had appealed that the victim couldn’t give proper statements and match the timeline for the incident. Regarding the same, the court had clarified that with cases involving child witnesses, the witness can be of two types that is, the child is a witness to the incident or the child is the victim of the incident itself. In the first case, the child can be tutored to provide evidence but in the second case they cannot be. The child does not understand the sexual act in the first place.

The court dismissed the appeal and had enhanced the punishment from three years of imprisonment to seven years under Section 376(1) of the IPC,1860 as the POCSO Act had not been enacted then. The judge also voiced that in such cases the court cannot be lenient and should follow the provisions of the law and provide the accused with appropriate punishment for the offence committed.

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