The Karnataka High Court has quashed the acquittal order of a rape accused father by the Belagavi POCSO court and awarded him 10 years of imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 50,000.
A man had been accused of sexually assaulting his 14-year-old daughter continuously in 2015 and keeping her under house arrest. The minor girl had opened up about it when she visited her grandparent’s home. She had told her ordeal to grandmother and refused to go back to her house.
The grandmother then lodged a complaint with police in this regard at the Belagavi police station. However, on February 3, 2017, the POCSO court had acquitted the accused stating that the statements of the victim, her grandmother and other witnesses are unreliable.
The prosecution had questioned the acquittal in the higher court.
Karnataka High Court
The High Court slammed the biased approach of the lower court towards the victim.
A division bench headed by Justices H.T. Narendra Prasad and Rajendra Badamikar passed their verdict on Wednesday after the prosecution had submitted an appeal to the High Court questioning the order of acquittal of the accused by the Special POCSO court.
The bench observed that the POCSO court had failed to consider the trauma that the minor girl has suffered due to sexual assault. It further noted that the lower court has seen the case with biased mindset in a case where the daughter was made victim of rape by the father.
The high court added,
There is no reason for the girl to give false statements against her father. In cases where the victim’s evidence is considerate and reliable, the courts have to be sensible. The proceedings of the trial court have been tainted and peculiar which is not acceptable.
The court rejected the plea of the counsel appearing for the accused father, that he is an auto driver and his family members depended on him for livelihood. The court stated that there was no reason for the reduction of punishment.
- Such cases are tricky where the sympathy of courts largely lie with the minor victim
- Question here remains, whether a trial court after conducting a trial erred acquitting the man purely on facts, or whether the high court has given more weightage to the word of the victim, irrespective of evidence
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