A Delhi court recently acquitted a man accused of sexually assaulting four minors in the city and observed he was “falsely framed due to prejudicial disposition of the parents towards the accused, who belongs to the Dalit community”.
Principal District and Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma acquitted the accused, who was facing a trial under the provisions of the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
He was accused by the prosecution as a “serial sexual” offender for allegedly committing repeated acts of aggravated penetrative assault on four minor girls. He has been in jail since May 18, 2015, when the incident allegedly took place.
The court has also, in a rare instance, granted a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to be paid by the state to the accused within two months. The court said this was a “symbolic amount and without prejudice to his legal rights and contentions.”
During the trial, the accused told the court that he has been falsely implicated in this case by the complainant as he is a Dalit and the complainant belongs to the upper caste. He told the court that they had quarrelled on multiple occasions over the complainant’s dog repeatedly defecating outside his home.
The court said that the “testimony of the victim girls examined vis-a-vis their parents makes the case of prosecution highly improbable and there is ample evidence to suggest that the accused has been falsely framed due to prejudicial disposition of the parents towards the accused, who belongs to the Dalit community (and) who was resenting defecation… by the dogs…”
The court said that it is “unable to persuade itself to believe the version of the incident as testified by the child victims examined in the instant case that clearly appears to be a result of heavy tutoring to implicate the accused with repeated acts of sexual assaults at the behest of their parents.”
The court said, “Parents of the victim girls indulged in sinister act of tutoring their daughters in a most brazen and shameless manner and merely because accusations or charges against the accused are grave, severe or despicable.”
The court also pulled up police and called the investigation “absolutely lackadaisical and lacking objectivity.” The court said that the testimony of the IO reveals that he completely failed in the discharge of his duties to show fairness in his investigation against the accused.
Advocate Abhijeet Ashok Bhagat, who is the Amicus Curiae in the case, told the court, “The accused was framed by the upper caste complainant party for the accused belonging to the Dalit community and daring to challenge their acts or omissions in not taming their dogs.”
Atul Kumar Srivastava, the Additional Public Prosecutor argued, “Not a single question was put to any of the witnesses regarding any malicious complaint or prosecution due to caste factor of the accused; and it was strenuously urged that the statement of each of the victim girls was a natural version of the acts of sexual assault committed upon them by the accused.”
On Srivastava’s argument that it was “not conceivable that the parents of the victim girls would fabricate the entire saga and tutor their children over a petty dispute”, the court said, “In our society there is constant fight between the good and the evil and we are living in an age where the moral values in the society are degenerating…everything is possible.”
“It is our experience in manning criminal justice delivery system that people level false accusations for myriad reasons, one of which is caste hatred as exemplified in appreciation of evidence in this case and they do so without sensitivity about the honour, dignity, life and liberty of their opponents,” the court said.