New Delhi Aug 13(ILNS): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday has upheld the decision of the Trial Court convicting a person for sexually assaulting a three-and-a-half-year-old child while stating that the testimony of the child victim is trustworthy, reliable, and admissible.
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri said, “A perusal of the statements of the child victim recorded during the investigation as well as in trial would show that she had consistently stated that the appellant had removed her underwear as well as his own underwear and thereafter, put his penis in her mouth. This Court, in view of the analysis done hereinabove, is of the opinion that the testimony of the child victim is trustworthy, reliable, and admissible.”
The Court was hearing an appeal against the order of the Special Judge convicting the appellant for an offense punishable under Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
Reliance was placed on the various decisions of the Apex Court, wherein it has been held that if the testimony of the child victim inspires confidence and is reliable, it is sufficient to record the conviction.
The Bench dismissed the appeal of the appellant and directed the concerned Investigating Officer or the Station House Officer to make efforts to trace out the child victim and her family members and to apprise them about their right to approach the Delhi State Legal Services Authority for seeking compensation under the Victim Compensation Scheme.
In addition, the Bench directed the State to provide requisite compensation to the child victim, in accordance with the aforesaid Scheme, within a period of four weeks from their approaching DLSA.
The appellant was charge-sheeted under Section 6 of the POCSO Act in connection with an FIR registered against him by the mother of the child victim, alleging that the appellant took her daughter to his house and sexually assaulted her.
The Delhi High Court said, “As per Section 29 of the POCSO Act, there is a presumption regarding guilt of the accused. The burden of proof on the prosecution is not beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution has to lay down and prove the fundamental facts regarding the guilt of the accused. Once such facts are proved, the onus is upon the accused to lead evidence to rebut the presumption. The appellant has failed to dislodge the statutory presumption under Section 29 of the POCSO Act.”
The Trial Court, vide order date January 18, 2020, sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of fourteen years, along with payment of a fine of Rs. 10,000/-; and to further undergo simple imprisonment for a period of six months, in default whereof./ILNS/KR/SNG