The Bombay High Court recently granted bail to an octogenarian couple sentenced by a special court last month to 10 years in jail for sexually assaulting their 4-year old neighbour.
A single-judge bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere passed this order while hearing a criminal appeal filed by Ashwin Mohanlal Parikh and others.
The applicants were convicted on March 11, 2021 by the special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act Court in Mumbai and sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment.
Dinesh Tiwari, counsel for the applicants, submitted that the allegations against his clients, aged 87 and 81, are false and baseless, with several inconsistencies in the evidence of witnesses and material omissions.
The Counsel further submitted the main reason to falsely implicate the applicants was for taking over their residential home. Considering the age of the applicants and the fact that they were on bail, Tiwari submitted that their sentence be suspended.
After hearing submissions and perusing evidence, the Court observed, “Prima facie, there are certain inconsistencies that have come on record in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses.”
The Court noted that, “It appears that initially when the FIR was lodged, the same was lodged for the offence punishable under Section 354 r/w Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code and subsequently Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of POCSO were added.”
The Court held that the applicants, aged 87 and 81 years respectively, were on bail pending trial and have not abused or misused the liberty granted to them. Prima facie, having considered the evidence on record, the applicants have made out a case for suspending their sentence and enlargement on bail.
The court ordered the couple to be released on a personal bond of Rs 25,000 each.