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Bombay HC grants bail to octogenarian couple convicted for sexually assaulting minor, suspends sentence

The victim had visited the couple’s house in September 2013, while returning home from school, and the couple had allegedly sexually assaulted the child.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: April 12, 2021 10:35:50 pm
SIMI activists, Surat, Chief Judicial Magistrate court, Amitkumar Dave, UAPA law, Surat news, Surat latest news, Gujarat news, indian expressThe court found that initially, an FIR was lodged for offence punishable under IPC section 354 (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and subsequently Section 376 (rape) was added.

The Bombay High Court recently granted bail to and suspended the sentence of an octogenarian couple accused of sexually assaulting a minor from their building in 2013. The court observed inconsistencies in evidence of witnesses produced before it.

A single-judge bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere, on April 8, passed an order on the interim application in criminal appeal filed by the elderly husband and wife, who were convicted on March 11 by special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act Court in Mumbai and sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment. The couple had challenged the order before the HC.

The victim had visited the couple’s house in September 2013, while returning home from school, and the couple had allegedly sexually assaulted the child.

Advocate Dinesh Tiwari, appearing 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.

He submitted that while the mother of the victim stated both the applicants had inserted a finger in the private parts of the victim, the victim had stated that only the man had touched her inappropriately, and no such allegations were made against the 81-year-old wife.

Tiwari 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.

Additional Public Prosecutor S V Sonawane for police and advocate Ameeta Kuttikrishnan, the court-appointed counsel for the victim, opposed the application.

After hearing submissions and perusing evidence, the bench observed, “Prima facie, there are certain inconsistencies that have come on record in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses.”

The court found that initially, an FIR was lodged for offence punishable under IPC section 354 (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and subsequently Section 376 (rape) was added.

Justice Mohite-Dere observed, “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.”

In light of this, the court allowed the couple’s application and suspended their sentence, pending hearing and final disposal of their appeal. The court enlarged them on bail after furnishing personal bond of Rs 25,000 each with one or more sureties.

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