Doubt over age of Unnao rape victim; Will charges under POCSO Act against accused hold?
By Namita Bajpai | Express News Service | Published: 15th April 2018 10:27 PM |
LUCKNOW: While BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar has been booked under Pocso Act-2102 in Unnao rape case, will the charge of outraging the modesty of a minor will hold against him? This is a big question in
the light of new revelations that say that the victim could not be a minor when she was allegedly raped in June, last year.
TNIE is in the possession of a copy of the medical report that was prepared after her age-determination test in June 2017, when, she has alleged, that she was raped on June 11, 2017. The report, signed by the Unnao CMO, says that she was 19 and a half years of age then.
However, besides various Sections of IPC pertaining to rape, kidnapping, intimidation and assault slapped on Sengar, he has also been booked under Section 3/4 Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act-2012 on complaint of the mother of victim who, as is being claimed, was minor when the
incident took place in June, 2017.
In cases of rape, it is a medico-legal requirement to get the age of the victim determined by a medical authority. In Unnao rape case too, the age determination test was done on the victim at USD District hospital on June 22, 2017 after she was recovered by the Unnao police on June 20, 2017. As per the claims of the victim herself she was raped by the accused MLA on June 4, 2017.
Deputed at Unnao district hospital, Dr SK Johri, who conducted the age determination test on the victim said that she was brought to him on June 22, 2017 by constable Ruby Singh with report number 996/17. “I conducted the x-ray test of victim’s right knee, right elbow and right wrist and I found her joints fused,” said Dr Johri adding that on the basis of the growth of bone and the fused joints, he inferred that the victim was over 19 years of age.
The final age document issued under the signatures of Unnao CMO, however, certified victim’s age as 19 and a half years on June 24, 2017. This raises doubts over the claims made by victim’s family regarding her age at the time of incident and the sections of POCSO invoked against the accused. In fact, the POCSO Act, in case of aggravated penetrative sexual assault on a minor prescribes stringent punishment according to the gravity of the offence and prescribes rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than
ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and also fine as punishment.
However, the Act also provides provisions for punishment for false complaint or false information.