The Division Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundaresh issued notices on the special leave petition as well as the bail application.
POCSO Act – ‘The POCSO Act was created to protect children from sexual abuse. It assessed India’s legal framework to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation in all surveyed countries.’
The Supreme Court has issued notice on a petition by the Madras High Court.
This is the whole matter
Just a few days back an order was passed by the High Court wherein the appellant was convicted and sentenced for the offense of serious sexual harassment under Protection of Children from Sexual Abuse 2012 against his student. So the appellant approached the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court has issued a notice challenging the order of the Madras High Court.
A division bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh ordered that “a notice in the special leave petition as well as a demand for bail should be issued”.
On behalf of the appellant, it was contended that the victim has no concrete evidence and under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, mere statement of the victim cannot be taken as a convincing evidence. The counsel for the accused submitted that the appellant has been convicted under section 164 of the penal code 1973 by the trial court and later also by the Madras High Court.
When the matter went to the trial court, the trial court found the appellant guilty of offenses under section 10 of the POCSO Act 2012 and sections 9(f), (m), (i), (p) of the Indian Penal Code and the appellant was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for seven years and a fine of ten thousand rupees.
Now when the appellant appealed to the Madras High Court, the Madras High Court upheld the lower court’s decision.
The case began with a girl studying in Class IV in a school where the appellant was a teacher. During the lunch break in the school, the appellant seduced the girl and took her to a secluded street located near the school and then committed the offenses such as pinching the girl, repeatedly sucking her breast, smacking her and repeatedly sexually assaulting her.
Appellant’s counsel submitted that all the witnesses produced by the prosecution in the High Court turned hostile and did not support the case. The medical evidence was not supporting the prosecution’s case. The complaint was also filed late. The reason for which also the prosecution could not explain properly.
Despite all this, single-judge Justice P Velmurugan upheld the trial court’s decision.
The Court held that –
“It is not necessary in all the cases that the evidence of the victim should be corroborated with the medical evidence. In this case, the victim has given a statement that the appellant took her to a secluded street in the middle of the school building and sexually assaulted her. but did not assault her, which was not a penetrative sexual assault and therefore did not necessarily cause any injury to the body parts of the victim child. This is not the first such case which has been registered late. Though the reason for the delay has not been specifically stated by the prosecution, one cannot even expect that the family members of the victim child will approach the police immediately after the incident.”
And the High Court also said –
“Even though the other witnesses of the victim have turned hostile. But the victim has clearly stated by the prosecution that the accused has sexually assaulted her. The law stipulates that the evidence of a hostile witness cannot be dismissed outright. If the case is spoken in favour of the prosecution or a thorough investigation of the accused is required, that part of the evidence may be relied upon which is consistent with the case of the prosecution’s defence.”
Senior Advocate S Nagamuthu, Advocate-on-record MP Parthiban, Advocates AS Vairavan, R Sudhakaran, Shalini Mishra, T Hari Har Sudhan and Vikash GR were present during the hearing.
The appellant had in October last year convicted a teacher of sexual assault by the Madras High Court. The High Court had held in this case that a child victim of sexual assault cannot be expected to narrate the incident like a parrot.