NEW DELHI: A man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl has been convicted by a Delhi court which relied on her testimony despite her varied statements, saying her conduct was "highly natural" as any child who has undergone such a trauma would not like to recall the incident.
"The plight and the mental trauma which the victim must have faced can be well understood considering her tender age. It was only in the end that she reasoned as to why she was giving varied answers i.e. she never wanted to remember the incident," Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Sharma said.
The court said the victim's conduct was "highly natural" and not unnatural during examination.
"Any child who has undergone such a traumatic experience would not like to recapitulate the incident as it would be much more traumatic and can even go a step forward to damage her psyche in future. Thus, her conduct during examination was not unnatural but highly natural," it said.
The court, which is yet to pronounce order on sentence, held Ashok Jha, the victim's neighbour, guilty of offences under sections 376(2)(f)(raping a woman who is under 12 years of age), 451(house-trespass) and 506(criminal intimidation) of IPC and section 4 (sexual assault) of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The court's verdict came in a case of rape of a minor girl while she was sleeping in her house on the afternoon of December 14, 2012.
The complaint lodged by the victim's mother had alleged that the girl was in her shanty with her two siblings when Jha, their neighbour, raped and threatened to kill her.
It further said the incident took place when her mother was not at home and when she returned, the victim told her about the same and the accused was arrested.
The court, while convicting Jha, also relied on the medical report of the victim which proved penetrative sexual assault was committed.
It also noted that during examination the girl made inconsistent statements which conclude that "an attempt was made to make her hostile initially, but with the sustained and positive questioning by the prosecutor and the court, the truth was extracted from her."
It said the possibility of her being tutored to mitigate the act of the accused cannot be ruled out.
During the trial, the accused had pleaded innocence and claimed he was falsely implicated.
However, the court rejected his claim, saying he could not attribute any ulterior motive upon the victim or her parents for this implication.