The Bombay High Court recently refused to grant bail to a man who was accused of sexually assaulting a minor girl studying in a premier school in suburban Mumbai. The court pointed that in such cases, evidence of prosecution is required to be considered with broader perspective and court is not required to sway itself with minor contradictions and omissions. The accused was working as a sweeper in the school.
Referring to the cross-examination, Justice A M Badar said that though the minor girl has stated that she had been brought to the court by her parents and her parents had told her the purpose of coming to the court and had further disclosed which questions will be asked and what answers were supposed to be given, “half-hearted cross-examination does not pin point the fact that it was not the accused who had committed the crime in question.”
“In case of penetrative sexual assault of minor female victim, evidence of prosecution is required to be considered with broader perspective and court is not required to sway itself with minor contradictions and omissions. Medical evidence is supporting the version of the victim. Evidence of the mother of the victim is corroborating the version of the victim and has also proved the former statement of the victim,” added Justice Badar.
The accused was booked under Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and was sentenced for ten years. The advocate appearing for the accused argued that he had been in custody right from 2014, and has undergone major part of the sentence imposed on him, adding that the evidence of the mother in the case was “hearsay”. The incident took place in the bathroom of the school premises in 2014, when the girl was four years and nine months old.
The court said that Evidence Act made the mother’s evidence relevant and it cannot be treated as hearsay evidence. “Recitals of the minor female victim of the crime in question are duly proved by the mother. That apart she has seen her condition on the date of the incident itself,” said the court.