A SPECIAL court in Mumbai has directed the family members of a seven-year-old boy to repay the compensation given to him in a child sexual abuse case, along with 10 per cent interest, as part of a government scheme, as they had turned hostile in court.
The 38-year-old accused, the boy’s father’s brother, was acquitted by the court last month. The child’s family was given Rs 1 lakh as compensation on July 21, 2017, under Manodhairya, the Maharashtra government’s scheme for victims of child sexual abuse, rape and acid attacks.
“The informant (victim’s mother) is to repay the compensation amount to the state by depositing it in the bank account… within two months, with interest at the rate of 10 per annum from the date of withdrawal. If the informant fails to pay the amount with the interest within two months, the state will recover it by taking legal steps,” the special court said. The revised Government Resolution of December 2017 has included provisions for recovery of compensation sum from the victims if they turn “deliberately hostile” before the court. The guidelines based on the GR state that the recovery of the amount can be made under the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code. Under it, the recovery can be made from victims or their guardians, if the victims are minor, through attachment of property, seizure or even arrest.
In this case, a complaint was filed in January 2015, by the boy’s mother, who stayed in a joint family, along with the accused. In the complaint, the child’s mother had claimed that she had seen the boy with the accused and thereafter, she began keeping a watch.
On January 11, 2015, the boy’s parents claimed that the child had gone to the accused person and when he returned, he was crying. The parents asked him what had happened. They told the police that the boy told them that the accused forced him into oral sex, at least on four occasions.
The parents then confronted the accused and he sought their forgiveness and promised that he would never repeat the act. The parents said they did not report the incident as the matter was within the family.
In February, 2015, the boy’s parents saw the accused calling the victim by certain gestures. They then filed a complaint.
During the trial, led by Special Public Prosecutor Geeta Sharma, however, the boy and his father, who deposed as witnesses, turned hostile. While the victim told the court that he did not remember any such incident, his father denied that a complaint had been filed with the police. The court acquitted the accused due to lack of evidence under all sections, including Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
Earlier, while deciding on the bail plea of the accused in 2015, the accused’s advocate had produced a copy of a notice issued by the accused person’s widowed mother to his brother (the seven-year-old child’s father), which referred to a dispute in the family over her maintenance. The advocate had claimed that the notice was sent before the complaint was filed and claimed that it raised doubts about the FIR. The court, agreeing with the submission, granted bail to the accused.