Updated: October 13, 2021 7:06:30 am
After a minor girl, who had complained of being raped by two men, turned hostile in court, a special court in a recent order directed her to return any monetary compensation she had received from the state government, calling it “misappropriation of public money by an unscrupulous person”.
The special court last week acquitted two men, who were booked on charges including gangrape, kidnapping and relevant provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act after they spent five years in jail. During the trial, the minor told the court that she did not know the accused and no such incident took place.
The complaint was filed in 2016 against the two men, who were in their early 20s, after the minor alleged that she was kidnapped by the two, made to consume alcohol and then raped. The minor’s statement was recorded before a magistrate and a chargesheet was filed against the two men.
“It is not clear as to whether PW 1 victim received any exgratia monetary aid from the State Government. If she has received any such aid, it becomes the duty of this court to appraise the Government of the fact that the FIR itself appears to have been falsely lodged by the informant, as appears from her own testimony. Thus, if any monetary benefit has been received by her from the State Government, the same deserves to be recovered back from her, by taking necessary actions, in the nature of recovery of land revenue, for the simple reason that it would otherwise amount to misappropriation of public money by an unscrupulous person,” the special court said.
In Maharashtra, the state government has a compensation scheme called Manodhairya for victims of rape, child sexual abuse and acid attacks. In 2018, changes were made to the scheme with new provisions added to recover money given to victims if they turn ‘deliberately hostile’. The recovery was stated to be under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, from victims or their guardians through attachment of property, seizure or even arrest.
The court asked the senior police inspector to take necessary steps to inform the government regarding the case.
During the trial, the victim told the court that on the day of the incident she had attended a birthday party and returned to her house. Her mother later woke her up, took her to the police station and her signature was obtained on a statement. She also said that she gave her statement before the magistrate as per her mother’s instructions. Four other witnesses including the investigators were examined but the court said that in the absence of the victim supporting the case, the testimony of the other witnesses cannot be of any help.
Further, while the prosecution sought action under perjury for lying on oath before the court, the special court did not order initiating action.
“Regarding the submission to take action for perjury, it does not appear to be expedient in the interest of justice, looking to the age of the victim, at the time of the lodging of the FIR as well as at the time of her deposition,” the court said.
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