Mumbai

POSCO court convicts man for molesting teen

Ambiguity surrounds victim’s age

The special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act court recently convicted a 31-year-old domestic help for outraging the modesty of a teenager five years back.

The accused, Dinesh Sharma, used to work as a domestic help at a house neighbouring that of the victim in Kanjur Marg. On December 30, 2014, he lured the girl to visit him at his house on the pretext of returning something that belonged to her family where he tried to molest her. The incident was seen by a friend of the girl and on spotting her, Sharma let go of the victim. The victim was shocked and embarrassed and tried to commit suicide due to ordeal she went through. She later confided in her parents who lodged a police complaint on January 2, 2015.

As there was ambiguity regarding her age, the questions before the court were whether the victim would come under the ambit of being a minor under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and if her modesty was outraged by Sharma’s actions as per its provisions.

Special Judge Madhuri H. More held that, as per the provided evidence, Sharma cannot be held responsible under POCSO act as neither the parents nor the child herself know the exact date of birth. As per school records, the year of her birth would be 1999 and not 2002 as claimed by the girl.

However, the court held that physical injury was not an essential to constitute outraging the modesty and the use of force was enough. Moreover, there was an eye witness who corroborated the testimony provided by the victim and while she was a friend of the victim, there was nothing to discredit the witness.

The court found Sharma guilty of outraging the modesty of the young girl and convicted him for one year under section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the IPC.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 3:07:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/posco-court-convicts-man-for-molesting-teen/article27131294.ece

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