A special court Tuesday convicted and sentenced a 41-year-old man to 20-year rigorous imprisonment for repeatedly raping his 16-year-old stepdaughter since 2019 and impregnating her. The Court held that despite the victim and her mother turning hostile and not supporting the prosecution’s case, the DNA report was conclusive to convict the accused.
Judge Anis Khan of the special court under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, in the order relied on the DNA report submitted by the police. “DNA report clearly indicates that the accused is biological father of fetus of victim girl, who committed repeated rape on victim girl, stepdaughter of accused,” the Court said.
“Offence is heinous, a stepfather who committed repeated rape on victim girl who is child below 18 years. A DNA report established that the victim girl was carrying a pregnancy and the accused was the biological father of the victim fetus… Though the mother of the victim and the victim girl have chosen not to support the prosecution case and they have turned hostile. But scientific evidence in the form of a DNA test report on record proved the guilt of the accused beyond all reasonable doubt,” it added.
The prosecution submitted that the accused repeatedly raped the girl from October 2019. The girl informed her mother about the incidents in June 2020, after which the complaint was lodged. The medical examination of the victim revealed that she was 16-week pregnant and, thereafter, the pregnancy was terminated. The victim and the mother did not support the prosecution and were declared hostile during the trial.
The victim and the mother had said in their statements that the accused was the only earning member of the family and they wanted to forgive him and bring him out of jail.
Advocate Gaurav Bhawnani sought leniency in the order by awarding a minimum sentence. However, special public prosecutor Pranali Joshi submitted that the offence was serious and maximum punishment be awarded.
The Court observed that the procedure for the collection of blood samples, their submission to the lab, and further analysis were done properly and, therefore, the final DNA report has to be accepted.
“Admission given by victim in her cross-examination is sufficient to prove that the victim is under emotional pressure from the mother and hence has denied the incident to release her father from jail on the say of mother… In this peculiar circumstances, DNA test is an effective tool of investigation and proof of guilt of accused and it has now been accepted with advancement of scientific technology due to accuracy of the test. In the present case, the DNA test has proved that the accused and the victim were the biological parents of the fetus,” the Court held.
Convicting the accused, the bench held the offence to be “heinous” and ordered a 20-year jail term to “meet the end of justice”.