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Saturday, January 23, 2021

‘Aghast’ at handling of POCSO case, HC seeks all judgments of trial court judge

The order was passed Monday in a leave petition filed by Delhi Police in February against the trial court’s December 2019 judgment in a case pertaining to the rape of a minor.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi | December 23, 2020 4:29:21 am
Right to Information, RTI law, Delhi HC, Delhi HC on RTI applicant, delhi news, Indian expressDelhi High Court. (File)

Taking strong note of a judgment passed by an Additional Sessions Judge in a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, the Delhi High Court has called for all judgments rendered by her while handling her assignments as a POCSO court, and said the verdict does not exhibit due application of mind.

“We are aghast at the manner in which the trial court has dealt with this case. Irrespective of whether she is right in her conclusion with regard to guilt or innocence of accused, we have serious reservation with regard to the manner in which trial court has proceeded to deal with evidence in the case. In fact, it has not dealt with the evidence,” the division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar said in its order.

The order was passed Monday in a leave petition filed by Delhi Police in February against the trial court’s December 2019 judgment in a case pertaining to the rape of a minor. The case was registered under Section 506 IPC and Section 6 of POCSO Act in a West district police station. The lone accused was acquitted by the trial court.

Noting that the trial court’s judgment is “all of 7-and-a-half pages”, the bench in its order observed the purpose of writing a judgment by the trial court is to render a judgment that is comprehensive and should display application of mind to evidence.

“The impugned judgment does not exhibit due application of mind by trial court, and compels us to not only issue notice in this matter, but also to require the learned Additional Sessions Judge concerned to send to this court all her judgments that she may have rendered while handling her assignment as a POCSO court. A copy of this order shall be communicated to District and Sessions Judge concerned to ensure compliance,” it further said.

Among other things noted in the order regarding the judgment, the division bench said the trial court in para 14 recorded that two eyewitnesses denied having witnessed the offence but stated they were playing on the roof of the accused’s place and “upon hearing the ruckus, rushed down and saw the victim’s elder sister shouting and accused locked inside”. “They did not see minor victim ‘P’ there. They stated they were under a lot of pressure when they made their statement under Section 164 CrPC. Para 15 records that FSL report confirms a condom was recovered from bedroom of accused, which had DNA of the accused. The trial court, however, records ‘there was, however, nothing in testimony of victim that would connect this condom with the offence alleged against him’. However, victim’s statement has not been either reproduced or dealt with,” it said further.

Additional Public Prosecutor Ashish Dutta also pointed to the victim’s MLC which contains the history and also refers to use of condom by the accused. The court issued notice to the person previously accused in the case for January 12.

 

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