Delhi High Court Upholds Acquittal in POCSO Case with Inconsistent Testimony 

Case Title: State v. Sunil & Ors. 

Date of Decision: September 11, 2023 

Case Number: CRL.L.P. 680/2019 

Coram: Hon’ble Mr. Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Hon’ble Ms. Justice Neena Bansal Krishna 


Factual Background 


The petitioner, the State, filed an appeal under Section 378 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) against the judgment dated August 7, 2019, issued by the trial court. The trial court had acquitted the respondents, Sunil and others, who were accused of various offenses under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act), based on the benefit of doubt.  


The case revolved around the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl in September 2014, and the subsequent allegations of sexual assault against Sunil. The victim girl was found and reported sexual assault on October 1, 2014. Charges were framed against the accused, including Sunil, and the trial court acquitted them due to insufficient evidence.  


During the pendency of the appeal, one of the respondents, Saroj, passed away. The appeal against Saroj was abated, and the petition was considered only against Respondents No. 1 and 3. 


Legal Issues 


The main legal issues revolved around the prosecution’s ability to prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. The age of the victim was a critical element in the case, and inconsistencies in her statements were raised as a concern. The defense argued that the prosecution had failed to establish the accused’s guilt, while the prosecution contended that the victim’s testimony and DNA evidence were sufficient. 




The prosecution argued that the trial court’s judgment was flawed, and that the accused should not have been acquitted, given the evidence on record. They emphasized the consistency of the victim’s testimony and the DNA report as proof of the accused’s guilt. The defense, on the other hand, maintained that the trial court’s decision was justified and should not be overturned. 


Observation and Analysis 


The court noted several inconsistencies in the victim’s statements, particularly regarding her age. The victim had provided varying ages in different statements. Additionally, her behavior, such as not seeking help despite the opportunity, raised doubts about her testimony. While a DNA report established sexual contact between the accused and the victim, it did not prove force or non-consensual activity. 


Decision and Conclusion 


The High Court found that the trial court had made a reasonable decision based on the evidence presented. It concluded that the prosecution had failed to establish the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt, particularly due to the inconsistencies in the victim’s statements and the lack of conclusive evidence of force or non-consensual activity. Therefore, the petition seeking leave to appeal was dismissed, affirming the trial court’s acquittal of the accused. 


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Written by – Ananya Chaudhary 

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In Most Cases, Women File False FIRs Under POCSO/SC-ST Act Using It As A Weapon To Grab Money From State: Allahabad HC

CASE TITLE: Ajay Yadav vs. State Of U.P. And 3 Others 2023 LiveLaw (AB) 254 [CRIMINAL MISC ANTICIPATORY BAIL APPLICATION U/S 438 CR.P.C. No. – 7907 of 2023]

DECIDED ON: 10.08.2023

CORAM: Hon’ble Shekhar Kumar Yadav,J.


The Allahabad High Court made a remark on Thursday stating that it is regrettable that currently, a significant number of cases involve women submitting untrue FIRs under the POCSO/SC-ST Act with the intention of exploiting it as a means to extract funds from the government. The Court emphasized the need to halt this trend.

The Court highlighted the trend of these baseless FIRs, which are primarily aimed at securing monetary gains from the government. This practice has the harmful consequence of tarnishing the reputation of innocent individuals within the community.


The recent statement from the Allahabad High Court lamented the unfortunate trend where a significant number of women are currently submitting false FIRs under the POCSO/SC-ST Act, utilizing it as a strategy to obtain financial gains from the government. The Court expressed its concern about this practice and emphasized the need for its cessation.

The Court observed that these fabricated FIRs are primarily aimed at extracting money from the government, leading to the detrimental consequence of tarnishing the reputation of innocent individuals within society.

Addressing the prevailing issue of increasing instances of sexual violence, the bench of Justice Shekhar Yadav further remarked, “Considering the widespread and consistently growing occurrences of such acts, I believe that it is essential for both the State of U.P. and the Union of India to recognize the gravity of this matter.” This observation was made while granting anticipatory bail to a rape accused.

The accused was alleged to have committed rape against the victim in 2011, yet the FIR was filed in March 2019, approximately 8 years after the purported incident. In his pursuit of anticipatory bail, the accused’s legal counsel argued that the victim had not provided a reasonable explanation for the significant delay in lodging the FIR. The defense contended that the accused had been falsely implicated in an attempt to harass him, asserting that the alleged incident never occurred as described in the FIR.

The defense also highlighted that the victim herself had admitted to engaging in a physical relationship with the accused, indicating her consent and confirming her age as over 18 years. Additionally, it was brought to the court’s attention that a co-accused had already been granted anticipatory bail, prompting the defense to request the same relief for the accused in question.


After considering the content of the First Information Report (FIR) and the arguments presented by the accused’s legal representative, the Court made an observation that there exist significant inconsistencies in the victim’s statements recorded under Sections 161 and 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.).

The Court also highlighted that according to the details provided in the FIR, it was stated that the accused engaged in a physical relationship with the victim in 2012. However, in the statement given under Section 161 of the Cr.P.C., the victim asserted that the accused had such a relationship with her in 2013.

Given these circumstances, the Court issued a directive specifying that if it is determined that the FIR filed by the victim is unfounded, then a proper inquiry will be conducted and criminal proceedings under Section 344 of the Cr.P.C. will be initiated against the victim. Additionally, the Court mandated that any financial assistance provided to the victim by the State will be reclaimed from her.

In a recent incident last month, the Allahabad High Court imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 on a woman who openly admitted to submitting a false FIR against four men, falsely accusing them of rape and unnatural sexual acts against her.

The Court further emphasized that the act of filing FIRs containing fabricated and grave allegations of rape cannot be condoned. Such a practice must be handled with a firm approach, according to the Court’s statement, as it necessitates a severe response.

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Written by- Mansi Malpani


Karnataka High Court Upholds Denial of Bail to Government Teacher Accused Under POCSO Act: Ensuring Justice and Protection for Victims.

Karnataka High Court

Manjunath v. State of Karnataka



Decided On 11-05-2023

Facts of the case-

The petitioner, an assistant teacher at a government primary school in Boragunte village, is accused of sexually harassing minor girl students in grades IV to VI. The incident came to light when villagers informed the Block Education Officer (BEO) about the petitioner’s illegal acts.

The BEO, accompanied by the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO), visited the school and gathered statements from girl students who confirmed the petitioner’s inappropriate behavior, including touching their private body parts, engaging in obscene conversations, and coercing them to touch his private parts.

The BEO filed a written complaint, resulting in the registration of a case under relevant sections of the POCSO Act. The investigation, conducted by a Sub-Inspector, involved recording statements from witnesses, victims, and their guardians. The victims’ statements were recorded before the Senior Civil Judge and JMFC under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C. The investigating officer collected evidence, such as school admission records, to establish the victims’ enrollment.

Upon completing the investigation, the officer filed a charge sheet before the Special Court, namely the First Additional District and Sessions Judge of the FTSC-1 in Tumakuru. 

The accused was arrested and has since remained in judicial custody. A bail application was filed, but it was rejected by the learned Sessions Judge. Subsequently, the petitioner has approached the court with the present petition, seeking bail, based on the grounds outlined in the petition.

Relevant Provisions


Related to

Sec. 8

Punishment for sexual assault.

Sec. 12

Punishment for sexual harassment.


The court, while rejecting the petition, stated that the alleged offenses committed by the petitioner are of a heinous nature. Regardless of his status and position in society, he engaged in the sexual harassment of students in grades IV and V. Teachers, considered revered figures and respected like deities in this country, have had their reputations tarnished by the petitioner’s alleged behavior. Moreover, the actions of the petitioner have caused parents to hesitate in sending their daughters to the school, potentially damaging the students’ names, reputations, and futures. This crime is not just against individuals but against society as a whole. The alleged threats made by the petitioner to sabotage the students’ careers and coerce them into not reporting the incidents cannot be considered a valid reason for a delay in lodging a complaint or for denying bail.

The learned FTSC-I, Tumakuru, in Crl.Misc.No.398/2023, thoroughly deliberated on these matters, including the relevant legal aspects, and subsequently rejected the bail application. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the petitioner is not deserving of release on bail.


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According to the 2011 All India Census, children make up 39% of the population, however many of them are vulnerable to child sexual abuse (CSA). According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the rate of crime against children nationwide jumped from 21.1 in 2015 to 28.9 in 2017. Childhood is the formative stage and should be a time of safety, security, and joy, but for some kids, the reality of childhood is very different. Children look to adults to secure their safety and care, yet they frequently fall victim to the abuse known as CSA without even realising it.

They are the “most innocent and vulnerable casualties of exploitation” due to the major obstacles in their way of justice, which include poverty, violence, discrimination, conservative communal structures, and social prejudices. From the moment they are born, they are faced with a variety of difficulties and abused sexually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Child abuse is a violation of a child’s fundamental rights that has a negative impact on a child’s wellbeing.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development championed the passage of the “Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012” to effectively combat the horrendous crimes of child sexual abuse and exploitation through less unclear and more strict legislative requirements. To make the passage of laws protecting children from sexual offences easier, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act of 2012 was put into effect. The gender-neutral POCSO Act encourages victim-friendly prosecution. The provisions of this Act’s abetment provisions also apply to people who traffic children for sexual purposes.

This law protects children against sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornographic offences and works to protect their best interests throughout the entire legal process. All of this is made possible by adopting a child-friendly reporting, evidence-documentation, investigation, and trial process for offences through designated special courts (POCSO Act, 2012). The legislation defines and penalises six different sexual offences, including penetrative sexual assault, aggravated penetrative sexual assault, sexual assault, sexual assault with great bodily harm, sexual harassment, and using a child for pornographic purposes.


The Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act,2012 was passed in order to safeguard minors from exploitation and sexual abuse. Additionally, it allows for the creation of special courts to hear cases involving child sexual assault. It also specifies the use of child-friendly practises for gathering evidence, looking into the offence, and holding a trial for it. A “child” is defined by the POCSO Act of 2012 as a person who has not reached the age of 18.

The POCSO Act prescribes the following sexual offences against children: –

  1. penetrative sexual assault,
  2. trafficking of children for sexual abuse
  3. aggravated penetrative sexual assault,
  4. sexual assault,
  5. using a child for pornographic purposes

When a child who has been sexually assaulted is mentally ill or when the abuse was carried out by someone they trusted, the abuse is referred to as “aggravated.” Legislation under this Act is gender neutral. According to the Act, a “child” is any person who is less than 18 years old. Every child is protected against sexual abuse by it. Through all phases of the legal process, the Act provides for a child-friendly environment. The “best interest of the child” principle is given top priority by the Act.

The provisions of this Act offer a method for reporting, recording evidence, investigating the case, and completing crimes trials quickly. The Act without revealing the identity of the child handles the case through designated special court. The special court in this regard determines the amount of compensation to be paid to the child to cover the child’s medical treatment, rehabilitation and counselling.

Important provisions of POCSO Act, 2012

  1. Within 24 hours of receiving a report of child abuse or any case connected to it, a police officer shall bring the situation to the Child Welfare Committee’s notice.
  2. To prevent the youngster from being reprimanded, the police officers handling the case must be dressed appropriately when recording the child’s statement.
  3. In the presence of the person the child trusts, the child’s statement of the crime must be recorded.
  4. Only the lady doctor, present in the presence of a person the child trusts, should examine the child medically in order to gather forensic evidence.
  5. Special courts have been established under this Act to hold trials quickly.
  6. It is the responsibility of this court to keep the child’s identification a secret and to prevent the accused from seeing the youngster while the statement is being recorded.
  7. The child can offer their testimony through video as well, and they won’t have to repeat it over and over.
  8. It should be mentioned that the matter shouldn’t be delayed and should be resolved a year after it was reported.

Punishments under the Act

  1. Penetrative sexual assault

It may occur through the vagina, mouth, urethra, anal region, or by object. A fine and a sentence of at least 7 years in jail with a possible life sentence are both provided for in Section 4 of the law.

  1. A person of power or trust engaging in a particularly invasive sexual assault.

 In accordance with Section 6 of the Act, the penalty must be at least 10 years in jail and may include a fine in addition to strict life imprisonment.

  1. Non-penetrative sexual assault committed with a sexual intent.

Non-penetrative sexual assault involves touching a child’s vagina, penis, anus, or breast, asking a kid to touch the perpetrator’s vagina, penis, anus, or breast, or engaging in any other sexually explicit behaviour. In such circumstances, Section 10 calls for a fine in addition to a sentence of at least 3 years, with the potential for 5 years.

  1. Aggravated non-penetrative sexual assault done by a person of trust and authority.

Section 10 lays down the punishment which should not be less than 5 years and it may also extend to 7 years, and a fine (Section 10).

  1. Sexual Harassment.

Sexually explicit comments, emails, or phone calls; taunting, jeering, or making requests for sexual favours are all examples of sexual harassment. (Section 12) The penalty is three years in prison and a fine.

  1. Using a minor for pornographic purposes.

It involves creating and disseminating any print or digital pornographic material. In the event of a second conviction, the penalty would increase to 7 years in prison and a fine (Section 14 (1)).

  1. Attempt of offence

Section 18 of the act provides for 1 year punishment and fine.

  1. Abetment

 The definition of abetment is same as defied under Section 107 and 108 of the IPC. The punishment is same as that of the offence which is provided under Section 17 of the act.

  1. Failure to report an offence.

The punishment is six months and a fine provided under Section 21 of the act.



Union of India v. Sakshi

An NGO by the name of “Sakshi” brought this lawsuit, expressing concern over the substantial rise in sexual abuse against women and children and the application of IPC articles 377, 375/376, and 354. Because it violated Article 21 of the Constitution, the petitioners brought up the issue of limiting rape cases to penile-vaginal penetration, which has since been changed by the 2013 Criminal Law revision. Numerous statistical studies have shown that abuse of minors that does not include penile or vaginal penetration frequently occurs. It frequently involves the use of a penile/anal, penile/oral, finger/vaginal, or object/vaginal penetration. Additionally, it would be incredibly unfair to include these situations under Section 377. Petitioners had put emphasis on Article 15 (3) of the Constitution which provides for special provisions for women and children which necessarily implies ‘adequate provisions.

India v. Bachpan Bachao Andolan

The Supreme Court received a PIL in response to grave abuses of children’s rights. The petition was especially filed to deter child trafficking from Indian circuses. These locations commonly harbour children who have been sexually assaulted, which is against the Juvenile Justice Act and other international treaties and agreements.

Independent Thought v. Union of India

On October 11, 2017, the Indian Supreme Court rendered a significant decision in the case of Independent Thought v. Union of India (W.P. (c) No. 382 of 2013), in which it read down Exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Because a child will always be a child regardless of whether they are married or not, the Supreme Court has declared that having sex with a minor wife who is between the ages of 15 and 18 is illegal. The Indian Constitution’s Articles 14, 15, and 21 allow for intrusive sexual contact with girls who are underage, and the Court concluded that Section 375 Exception 2 violates those Articles.


A law imposing the death sentence on rapists of girls under 12 years old was passed in April 2018.

IPC, CrPC, IEA, and POCSO Act have been modified by the establishment of age restrictions and other draconian rape laws. The following are the primary modifications that the Ordinance brings about:

  1. The minimum sentence for rape was set at ten years.
  2. A person who rapes a lady under the age of 16 must face a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.
  3. The maximum penalty for raping a girl under the age of 12 is the death penalty, with a minimum sentence of 20 years in jail.
  4. The fine levied must be fair and reasonable to cover the victim’s medical costs and rehabilitation costs.
  5. A police officer who commits rape anywhere faces a minimum ten-year sentence in jail.
  6. Rape case investigations must be finished in two months.
  7. A person accused of raping a minor under the age of sixteen cannot be given an anticipatory bail.
  8. Rape appeals must be resolved within six months.


The following conclusions are drawn from an examination of all POCSO Act provisions and a statistical analysis of the Act’s effects on Indian society:

  1. The POCSO Act is a legitimate piece of legislation that has been put into existence to protect children’s rights from sexual abuse and to carry out agreements to which India is a party.
  2. The POCSO Act has a real benefit for Indian society.
  3. Increased reporting of child sexual abuse cases and an actual increase in the conduct of criminal offences, as is explicit, are to blame for the spike in the rate of crime against children across all of India.
  4. The Central Government has made commendable efforts to implement the Act’s provisions through the policies it has developed, but the gap between de jure and de facto policy implementation has not yet been closed. Although the Central Government has worked hard to raise public awareness, the necessity for an effective execution strategy cannot be denied.
  5. The POCSO Act has been referred to as a “weapon of harassment.”


  1. Public Awareness is Needed

No man can avoid following the law by claiming ignorance of it. Thus, ignorance of the law is a sin because it prevents a citizen from stopping oneself from engaging in illegal action or enforcing his legal rights in court. It is often claimed that a citizen who is informed is a resource for the country, whereas a citizen who is uninformed is a burden. The POCSO Act and its legitimate provisions are largely unknown to the majority of Indians. Even if “Child Line” has come a long way in attaining this objective, there is still a need to educate the younger generation and their guardians about their rights and the ways in which they can be upheld.

  1. Need for Uniform Efficacious Implementation Policy

In order to combat India’s rising crime rate, the central government must come up with some novel solutions that target the underlying factors that lead to crime, such as increased exposure to pornographic material on the Internet, social stigmas and prejudices, poverty, indigence, corruption, traditional community structures, and ignorance of legal requirements. It could be done in conjunction with private businesses that can make it effective, by providing an online redressal mechanism, by introducing a no-cost prosecution system if the case is not baseless, vexatious, or the result of mala fides, or by any of these methods.





 THE INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860 (60 of 1860)




Written by Harshit Jain

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