The Delhi High Court has upheld the judgement of Additional Sessions Judge-1 (POCSO), Shahdara district, Karkardooma Courts, Delhi, whereby a man was convicted for the rape of his eight-year-old daughter.
Justice Manoj Kumar Okhri was on Friday hearing a criminal appeal filed by the accused, challenging conviction under Sections 376/506 IPC and Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
District Court had awarded more than 15 years sentence to the man for raping minor daughter
The accused had been sentenced to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for 15 years with fine of Rs 20,000 in default whereof to undergo Simple Imprisonment for 6 months for the offence punishable under Section 376(2)(f)(i) IPC. He was also sentenced to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for 6 months with fine of Rs 3,000 in default whereof to undergo Simple Imprisonment for one month for the offence punishable under Section 506 IPC. All the sentences were directed to run concurrently.
The Trial Court had also directed that the child victim be provided a compensation of Rs 7,50,000 by Delhi Legal Services Authority.
As per the complaint registered by the mother of the victim on July 20, 2014, her husband had committed rape on his own daughter more than once in her absence, when she had gone to her native village. The victim told her mother about the incident on her return, who approached the police station and filed a complaint.
Onus on accused to prove himself not guilty: Delhi High Court
The Court relied on Dattu Ramrao Sakhare and Others vs State of Maharashtra, (1997) 5 SCC 341, where the apex court had held that conviction on the evidence of child witness is permissible, if the witness is found competent and the testimony is trustworthy.
The Court rejected the argument of counsel for the appellant that the victim was a tutored witness as there was no evidence on record to prove this averment. On the question of reliability of the child’s testimony, the court stated that there are no material contradictions in the statements of the victim made during investigation and in trial.
The Court also highlighted the presumption regarding the guilt of an accused under POSCO:
“Once the facts are proved, the onus is on the accused to lead evidence to rebut the presumption raised under Section 29 of the POCSO Act.”