Three years after a five-year-old girl had, in court, described her sexual assault with the help of a doll, the Delhi High Court has upheld the trial court order sentencing the 23-year-old accused to five years’ imprisonment. The accused, Hunny, was charged under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 363 (kidnapping) of the IPC besides Section 10 (punishment for aggravated sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The incident occurred on July 21, 2014, when the accused sexually assaulted the five-year-old after kidnapping her. While recording her statement to the trial court, she did not answer “embarrassing questions” regarding the nature of the offence, but “categorically pointed out” what the accused had done to her by referring to a doll in her hand. When the trial court had asked what happened after the accused abducted her from near her school gate, she referred to the doll in her hand. The court had asked her, “Beta kya uss ladke ne aapke saath wahi kiya tha jo abhi aap doll ke saath kar rahe ho?” to which the child had said “Haan”.
Based on the testimony of the child, the trial court had sentenced the accused, following which he filed an appeal in the HC. “…Obviously the child was reluctant to answer embarrassing questions, which were derogatory in nature. The court can understand the shyness of a tender aged girl to answer such questions… She has conveyed as to what was done to her. Nothing more can be expected from a child aged around five…” Justice S P Garg said.
The child had also scratched a particular body part of the doll, after which she “turned numb” and did not respond to further questions. “Her testimony cannot be discarded merely because she, in express/specific words, did not tell that body part on which nails were used…,” said the judge, adding that “merely because no nail marks were found… it cannot be inferred that no such incident occurred.” Underscoring the testimonies of the witnesses, the court also said it was proven that the accused had kidnapped the child. Dismissing the appeal, Justice S P Garg said, “The court can well understand the trauma of the child where she suffered sexual abuse at such a young age… The trial court has already taken a lenient view… being a minimum sentence under Section 10 of the POCSO Act.”