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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Plea of man convicted of raping minor step-daughter rejected

The HC held that though there was no other evidence except for the statement of the minor to implicate the man, the DNA test report, which matched that of the aborted foetus of the girl, was sufficient to prove the guilt of the man.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
March 11, 2021 1:35:59 am
Bombay HC slams IO who shielded cop accused in woman’s deathOn March 19, the counsel for the police also submitted that the probe was handed over to the assistant commissioner of police and a chargesheet filed. (File photo)

Relying upon a DNA test report, the Bombay High Court recently rejected the appeal of a man who was sentenced by the trial court for raping his then minor step-daughter for two years under POCSO Act.

The HC held that though there was no other evidence except for the statement of the minor to implicate the man, the DNA test report, which matched that of the aborted foetus of the girl, was sufficient to prove the guilt of the man. The HC also held that in a criminal trial, a scientific expert’s report can be admitted as evidence and used to convict the accused without examining its author or the defence admitting it.

A single judge bench of Justice Sandeep K Shinde on March 9 passed the judgment on an appeal filed by the 36-year-old man from Thane district – currently lodged in Nashik central prison – who was convicted by the trial court for offences punishable under sections 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and sections 4 (penetrative sexual assault) and 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO Act. The mother of the girl had turn hostile.

Advocates Anjali Patil and Arun Rajput, appearing for the man, challenged the DNA report on the ground that there was no assurance that the blood samples of the accused, the victim and the fetus had not been tampered with. The lawyers, therefore, said the DNA report ought not to have been admitted in evidence without examining the expert who examined the samples.

The bench, however, rejected the claim while noting that while no application moved by the accused to summon the expert, he did not also demonstrate why the report was deficient.

The girl had lost her father in 2000. Her mother, who worked as a domestic help, remarried 10 years later. The girl had deposed that while she remained alone at home after her mother left for work, her step-father sexually assaulted her multiple times for two years. In 2014, when she was 14, she found herself pregnant.

Before terminating her pregnancy, the mother lodged a report with the police in April 2014, against an unknown person. The doctors had collected the girl’s blood samples and fetal cells for DNA examination.

While the girl initially told her mother that she was raped by someone else, when it was found that no such person existed, she revealed her step-father’s name to the prosecution.

Justice Shinde said, “In my view, the sampling was done properly and there is no material indicating any tampering of samples.

Thus, in my view, the DNA report has been rightly relied on by the trial court judge and it cannot be faulted with.”

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