Detention of pastor for sexual harassment of mentally and physically challenged minor girl upheld: Madras High Court

The Madras High Court passed a judgement on 31st of March, 2023 in which it upheld the Detention of pastor for sexual harassment of mentally and physically challenged minor girl. This was seen in the case of Susamma Baby v. State of Tamil Nadu and Ors. (H.C.P.(MD)No.1389 of 2022) and the case was presided over by R. Suresh Kumar and K.K. Ramakrishnan


The petitioner, the wife of the pastor, filed a Habeas Corpus Petition on behalf of the detenu. The victim was a physically challenged and partially mentally retarded 17 years old girl. The accused sexually assaulted the victim and was filed under Sections 5(k) 5(f) r/w 6 of POCSO Act, 2012. The accused was thus, detained. Hence, this petition.


The counsel for petitioner argued that it was a single incident and was not habitual. The AR copy was unclear and that there was delay in representation. Thus, the detention was invalid.

The court after hearing the contentions of both parties, dismissed the habeas corpus petition. It established that the word habitually was removed from the Act long ago and thus, the argument advanced by the petitioner is not valid. The court while referring to precedents set by the Supreme Court also expressed that just because there was a delay in the order for detention does not lead to its quashing automatically.

The court also voiced the case ‘shocked the judicial conscience’ due to the horrendous nature of a pastor who is supposed to be taking care of all indeed committed such atrocious acts.

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