MUMBAI: A 26-year-old religious teacher has been convicted and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for repeatedly sexually assaulting his eight-year-old student.
While the special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act court held that the accused deserved an adequate sentence as he had committed the act in a holy place, it also said that the accused was young, unmarried and could be “cured”.
“Still considering the nature of the crime committed by him upon the girl of tender age, to me, imposing a minimum sentence wouldn’t do justice. So, the sentence of six years with fine upon the accused would meet the ends of justice,” the POCSO court said.
The accused was also fined Rs 20,000.
Special public prosecutor Geeta Sharma cited the deposition of six witnesses, including the child and her uncle, to seek the conviction of the accused.
It was submitted that on August 29, 2018, the child’s uncle noticed some behavioural changes in her.
The child then confided in him that from August 27-29, 2018, the accused had been sexually assaulting her.
The following day the family complained to the cops.
The accused was arrested and subsequently granted bail.
The court held that the non-recording of statements of other students would at most be a setback to the investigations but the child will not be made to pay for it.
“It was for the investigating officer to record the statements of those students. Still, however, in absence of those students, there is no reason for me to disbelieve the prosecutrix (child), who testifies her ordeal before the court,” the court said.
(The victim’s identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme Court directives on cases related to sexual assault)