Child Sexual Assault Convict, Out On Probation, Sent To Jail 7 Years Later

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The Delhi High Court has sent behind bars a man, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl but was released on probation by a trial court in 2015.

The high court said the trial court has “grossly erred” in releasing the convict on the period undergone by him in jail, that is, nine months and 26 days.

The trial court, while granting the benefit of probation to the man, had noted that it was his first offence under the provision of POCSO Act which was punishable with a maximum imprisonment of five years with a fine.

However, in the high court, a bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and Anish Dayal said that section 10 (punishment for aggravated sexual assault) of the POCSO Act entails a minimum punishment of five years jail and a maximum sentence of seven years.

“It is apparent that the special court grossly erred in noting the fundamental fact that the conviction under Section 10 of POCSO Act entails a maximum punishment of imprisonment for five years with a fine whereas as per the Section 10 of POCSO Act, it entails a minimum punishment of imprisonment for five years with fine and a maximum punishment of imprisonment for seven years with fine,” the bench said.

The high court’s verdict came while allowing an appeal filed by the state challenging the trial court’s February 2015 judgement releasing the convict on probation.

The man was convicted for the offences of kidnapping and sexually assaulting the minor.

Though the man has not challenged his conviction, to satisfy themselves, the high court judges went through the deposition of the minor victim who was four at the time of the alleged incident which has been proved.

The child, in her testimony, gave details of the incident and also identified the man present in the trial court.

“Even in the cross-examination of this child victim, nothing has been elucidated to show that the respondent did not commit the offence punishable under Section 10 of the POCSO Act,” the high court said.

The bench said, “considering the mitigating factors that the respondent (man) has to look after the family, during the period from February 11, 2015, the respondent is not involved in any other offence, the sentence of the respondent is modified from the period already undergone to sentence of rigorous imprisonment for a period of five years and to pay a fine of ₹ 25,000…The compensation amount as directed by the special court for a sum of ₹ 50,000 to be paid by the secretary, DLSA North-West District would remain the same”.

The high court asked the police personnel to hand over the custody of the convict, who was present in the court, to the Tihar Jail superintendent for serving his remaining sentence. 

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