हिंदी

POCSO Case: K’taka HC Reduces Life Sentence of Accused Individual

POCSO Case

The Karnataka High Court has reduced the sentence of an accused in a POCSO Act case from life imprisonment to 10 years, stressing the importance of providing valid reasons for imposing the highest penalty.

A 27-year-old man from Chikkamagaluru saw his appeal partially accepted by a division bench comprising Justices Sreenivas Harish Kumar and C M Joshi. The court, however, raised his fine from Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000.

The case involved the defendant befriending and repeatedly sexually assaulting a minor girl in his neighborhood in June 2016. The girl’s mother lodged a complaint in December 2016 upon discovering her daughter’s pregnancy.

A DNA test confirmed the defendant as the biological father. Following an investigation, the police filed an FIR and a charge-sheet.

On June 11, 2018, a special court in Chikkamagaluru district headquarters sentenced the defendant to life imprisonment under Section 6 of the POCSO Act and imposed a Rs 5,000 fine after finding him guilty of criminal intimidation.

The defendant challenged the verdict in the High Court, arguing insufficient proof of the girl’s age through proper documents.

Upon reviewing the case, the division bench observed that oral testimony indicated the girl’s consent, though legally irrelevant due to her actual age of 12 during the incident.

The bench noted this apparent consent conflicted with the imposition of the maximum sentence under Section 6 of the POCSO Act.

It concluded that the special court had not furnished adequate reasons for awarding the maximum life sentence.

As per the law applicable at the time of the offense, Section 6 of the POCSO Act provided for a minimum sentence of 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment.

The court ruled that imposing the maximum sentence necessitated valid reasons, which were absent in the special court’s judgment. Consequently, in its recent order, the court modified the sentence to 10 years’ imprisonment.”

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte