A special court in Thane sentenced a 20-year-old man to one-year imprisonment for sexually harassing a Class IX student. The special designated court, under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, also found the accused guilty of causing hurt to the girl and criminal intimidation.
According to the prosecution, in 2014, the victim was studying in a school in Thane district. The victim said in her deposition that the accused, Santosh Dalvi, would follow her whenever she went to school and had told her, “I love you, I am not looking at any other girl”. The victim told the court that she had resisted his advances and told him that he should stop following her. The accused, however, persisted. Further, the accused followed the victim and pulled her behind the bushes near her school. When she began shouting, the accused gagged her by putting his hand on her mouth. The victim sustained injury below her eye.
The victim’s friend also tried to intervene after which the accused ran away. The victim and her friend then went towards their school but the accused followed them on a motorcycle and threatened them against telling anyone about the incident. The victim went to school and after returning home that day informed her parents about it. An FIR was then registered against the accused. While the defence advocate for Dalvi argued that the complaint was made due to a prior enmity between the accused and the victim, the court said that “there is no reason to disbelieve the evidence of the victim”.
“The accused with sexual intent pulled the victim near the bushes and put his hands on her mouth and touched her with sexual intent. The victim was minor below 18 years at that time. So prosecution has also proved offence under Section 7 punishable under Section 8 of POCSO Act, 2012,” the court ruled.