A 56-year-old man has been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a 11-year-old girl. The convict is a distant relative of the victim. The girl, from a village, was sent to Mumbai for treatment in 2014 by her family, who believed she was possessed by ‘evil spirits’. But only a month after moving into the house of the convict and his family, she was sexually assaulted by the 56-year-old.
The victim was then shifted to an orphanage, where she continues to live as her parents didn’t take her back. According to the prosecution, the convict’s other family members had gone on a trip outside the city for a few days, leaving the victim with him alone at home.
On October 26, 2014, the victim, crying, approached a neighbour and told her the man had been behaving inappropriately with her. She told her she had been abused four times after the other family members went out of town. She managed to escape when the man was taking a bath.
The neighbour sheltered her in her house for the night and approached police the next day. An FIR was registered and he was arrested. The prosecution, led by special public prosecutor Usha Jadhav, examined nine witnesses, including the victim and the neighbour. The court noted that it was a ‘distinct’ case where the victim’s parents did not depose in court and the prosecution had not chosen to examine them.
“Generally, parents are the first persons to raise voice for the cause of their child but here is a case where parents have not turned up for the cause of their child. There is material on record to the extent that the victim’s parents and relatives of the man visited the victim’s shelter home.
So it is apparent the prosecution has not examined them as witnesses as they might have not supported the prosecution…,” Special Judge Rekha Pandhare observed. It was also submitted before the court that the victim herself too did not want to go back to her home as she will not be able to study “as her home is (in) a village”.
The convict claimed a false case was lodged at the behest of a former employee of the family, who took ‘advantage’ of the victim’s mental condition to implicate him. He said since he would take the victim to places of worship for her ‘treatment’, the victim was angry and wanted to falsely implicate him.
He also submitted the chemical analysis report did not support the prosecution. The court, however, relied on medical experts who said there was a possibility of no injury in cases of digital penetration.
The court found the man guilty under Sections 6 and 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. He was acquitted under Sections 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC. The court directed him to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to the victim within a month. It directed the orphanage where the child is lodged to deposit the amount in her name in a fixed deposit till she turns 18.