Inserting finger into the vagina of a minor girl amounts to an offence of ‘penetrative sexual assault’ under the POCSO Act: SC

Inserting finger into the vagina of a minor girl amounts to an offence of 'penetrative sexual assault' under the POCSO Act: SC

The Supreme Court ruled that inserting finger into the vagina of a minor girl amounts to an offence of ‘penetrative sexual assault’ under the POCSO Act.

Background 

As per the case of the prosecution, the first informant had gone to fetch water and her husband was out for work. At that time, her daughter (victim girl) aged four years was all alone in the house. The accused – appellant who was a neighbour of informant, enticed and took the victim girl in   the   bushes   to   rape   her.  

However,   at   that   time   the accused   was   spotted   by   some   persons   naked   in   the process of raping the victim girl. The accused and the victim girl were disrobed. The people who had gathered around caught the accused red handed and handed him over to the police.

A first information report was lodged by the mother of the victim girl for the offenses punishable under Sections 376 read with 511 of IPC and Section 3/4 of the POCSO Act. The victim girl was medically examined by Dr. Vandana Sundriyal. During the course of investigation the statement of the victim girl as well as the witnesses were recorded.

Arguments 

Advocate Saju Jacob, appearing on behalf of the accused – appellant has contended that in the facts and circumstances of the case the High Court has committed a grave error in dismissing the appeal and confirming the judgment and order of conviction. He argued that in fact the witnesses   have not supported the case of the prosecution. The accused could not have been convicted on the sole testimony of Dr. Vandana Sundriyal.

Advocate Krishnam Mishara, appearing on behalf of the State of Uttarakhand, contended that this is a case of penetrative sexual assault as defined under Section 3(b) of the POCSO Act. As per Section 5(m) whoever commits penetrative sexual assault on a child below twelve years, it can be said to be an aggravated penetrative sexual assault punishable under Section 6 of the POCSO Act.

Decision 

The division bench of Justice M. R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna noted that the accused was aged   approximately   65   years   of   age   at   the   time   of commission of offense. He was a neighbour of the victim girl.  He  took  advantage of   the  absence  of  her  parents, when her mother went to fetch water and her father had gone to work. He is found to have committed aggravated penetrative sexual assault on a girl child aged four years, which demonstrates the mental state or mindset of the accused. 

The court said that it has been established and proved that the accused penetrated his finger in the vagina and because of that the victim girl felt pain and irritation in urination as well as pain on her body and there was redness and swelling around the vagina found by the doctor. 

The court opined that the case would fall under Section 3(b) of the POCSO Act and it can be said to be penetrative sexual assault and considering Section 5(m) of the POCSO Act as such penetrative sexual assault was committed on a girl child aged four years (below twelve years) the same can be said to be ‘aggravated penetrative sexual assault’ punishable under Section 6 of the POCSO Act.

However the court converted the sentence of life imprisonment to that of fifteen years RI with fine/compensation imposed by the Trial Court confirmed by the High Court.

Case title: Nawabuddin v/s State of Uttarakhand

Citation: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.144 OF 2022 

Click here to read the Order/Judgment

JurisHour
JurisHour
JurisHour is the fastest online portal for Indian legal news.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *