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Acquittal set aside, Puducherry teacher gets 20 years RI for sexually assaulting UKG student

The teacher, Earlam Periera, has been sentenced on two counts under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Published: 20th October 2021 05:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th October 2021 05:24 AM   |  A+A-

POCSO, Sexual Assault

Image for representational purpose only. ( Express Illustration)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: In a case pertaining to the sexual assault of a four-year-old UKG girl in Puducherry, the Madras High Court has sentenced her teacher to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment, setting aside the judgement of a special court that acquitted him. The teacher, Earlam Periera, has been sentenced on two counts under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Besides convicting him under Sections 5 (f) and (m) of the POCSO Act, Justice P Velumurugan exonerated Periera from offences under Section 506 (ii) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The teacher was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and a `10,000 fine for the offence under Section 5 (f), and another 10 years and a Rs 10,000 fine under Section 5 (m) of the POCSO Act, the judgment said.

If the convict defaults in paying the fine, he would have to undergo a further imprisonment of one year for each fine, and the sentence may be served concurrently, it added. As per a complaint filed by the victim’s mother, the four-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by her teacher at a private school in Puducherry on March 27, 2018. The police registered a case under Sections 6 and 10 of the POCSO Act, and 506 (ii) of the IPC and a trial was held before a special court for POCSO cases.

The special judge found the accused not guilty of any of the charges and acquitted him on 6 October, 2020. The police then filed an appeal before the Madras High Court challenging the order of the special judge.
The public prosecutor submitted that the special judge failed to appreciate the evidence and erroneously acquitted the respondent. Since the victim was only four years old, one cannot expect her to speak about the occurrence, and the intention of the culprit should be considered, he pointed out.

Justice Velmurugan observed that there was sufficient circumstantial evidence pointing to sexual assault, which the impugned judgement failed to consider, and said the trial court’s order is liable to be set aside. He further rejected the contention of the accused’s counsel that there was no sexual assault since there were no injuries on the child.

Justice Velmurugan also noted that culprits are escaping due to technical reasons, and the investigation wing is also not up to the mark. Due to this, the culprits in most cases are escaping, he said, adding that mere technicalities shouldn’t be allowed to stand in the way of administration of justice.

Four new judges to take oath today
Four newly-appointed additional judges will be sworn in at the Madras High Court on Wednesday. The new judges are Sundaram Srimathy, D Bharatha Chakravarthy, R Vijayakumar and Mohammed Shaffiq. Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee will administer the oath of office at a function on the court premises. With the appointment of the four new judges, the strength of the Madras High Court will rise to 59



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