KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that when a man abandons his wife and children, 'roving vultures' wait to prey on not only the abandoned woman but also the helpless children. A division bench comprising Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice Ziyad Rahman made the observation while considering an appeal filed by Madhu of Manjeri challenging the sentence awarded by a special court for raping a schoolgirl.
The bench observed, "In this case we have a 'poojari'/'komaram' (priest/oracle in a temple) taking the abandoned woman and the three children under his wing, only to repeatedly molest the elder girl child, that too in the presence of her siblings. We wonder which God would accept the obeisance and offerings of such a priest or make him a medium?"
The Circle Inspector of Malappuram was informed by Childline personnel that a woman and four children were wandering at Kunnummel in 2013. On enquiry, it was revealed that the woman showed signs of acute mental illness and displayed violent tendencies. The elder child was questioned when she revealed that the woman was her mother's sister and that they were staying along with the accused who was a 'komaram' (Oracle) in a temple. The child also revealed that the accused who was living along with the woman had sexually molested her for one year.
The court held that the evidence establishes that the victim was subjected to repeated rape by the accused, that too of the penetrative kind. Though the age of the victim was not proved, she was a school-going child, temporarily kept away from her studies. She, along with her mother and siblings, was sheltered by the accused, who stands in the status of her guardian. On the question of the charge, under the POCSO Act, the age of the victim having not been proved, the accused has to be acquitted of the charges under the POCSO Act. But the HC ordered to convict him under section 376 (1) and sentence him to life imprisonment.