Madras High Court has acquitted an Army jawan who was convicted for penetrative sexual assault of a minor girl, finding that the charges were not proved with medical evidences and after the accused alleged that the victim's mother had tried to sexually exploit him.
Passing orders on a petition filed by the convict recently, Justices Sathi Kumar Sukumara Kurup, termed the order of the Mahila court as ‘perverse’.
The army jawan, staying at an apartment in Chennai, was accused by his colleague’s wife that he had sexually assaulted her 12 year old daughter on August, 28, 2014 when she had left the victim and her brother with him while she went out for shopping with the accused's wife.
Based on her complaint, the All Women Police registered an FIR under section 376 of IPC and 4 and 6 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and later altered to section 6 of POCSO Act. He was arrested by the police.
The trial court- Mahila Court for POCSO Act cases - convicted him with ten years imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 10,000 on February 27, 2018.
Challenging the conviction, he filed the criminal appeal petition in the High Court.
His counsel contended that the complaint of sexual assault was a fall-out of a tiff between the Army jawan and the victim’s mother as the latter tried to sexually exploit him.
To save herself, she pretended as if her daughter was sexually assaulted, he said.
After perusing the material evidences and statements, the judge found that the charge of penetrative sexual assault was not corroborated with the medical evidence.
Rejecting the prosecution’s contentions on the clause of presumption, he observed, “When there is lack of materials, the presumption will not come to the rescue of the prosecution. Therefore, the presumption under section 29 of POCSO Act, if mechanically applied under these circumstances, will result in miscarriage of justice.”
The judge set aside conviction order describing it as ‘perverse’.
He also ordered the release of the convict unless he was wanted in any other cases.
Similarly, Justice Kurup also set aside another order of conviction of a man in a POCSO Act case registered in Salem district.
The accused in this case was Raj Kannan. He was cohabitating with the victim girl’s mother who was stated to be a divorcee. The mother alleged that Kannan sexually abused her child on February 1, 2014 but she lodged the complaint only May 16, 2014.
He was sentenced to five years of imprisonment under section 10 of POCSO Act, six years on three counts of charges under the IPC in 2017.
Finding the evidence testified by the victim’s mother as ‘unbelievable’ and the trial judge ‘miserably failing’ to appreciate the available evidence, the judge held that the order of conviction was made mechanically and called it ‘perverse’.
He ordered the release of the petitioners of both cases unless they are wanted in any other cases.