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50-yr-old man jailed for 5 yrs for sexually assaulting minor

PTI | Last Updated: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 13:46

New Delhi: A 50-year-old man has been jailed for five years by a Delhi court for sexually assaulting a minor after taking her to his house on the pretext of giving her some eatables.

Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain awarded the minimum jail term to Delhi resident Tola Ram prescribed under Section 10 (aggravated sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

The court said that to award appropriate sentence after considering all the facts, some discretion should be given to the courts while determining the quantum of punishment, particularly when the scope of sexual assault is so large.

"To my mind, same minimum sentence for touching of more sensitive parts such as private parts of a child and for touching of non-sensitive or less sensitive parts of body is not in the interest of justice. But courts are bound to perform their duty and to award sentence in accordance with the existing provisions of law unless and until the provisions are amended suitably either by the legislature or clarified by the higher courts.

"Under Section 10 of the POCSO Act, court has no option except to award minimum sentence of imprisonment of five years, thus, this court has no other option except to award the minimum sentence," the judge said.

The victim`s mother had lodged a complaint alleging that on March 23, her five-year-old daughter came home crying. When asked, she told her mother that a man met her near a gurudwara and asked her to accompany him to his house on the pretext of giving her eatables.

The woman said the man sexually assaulted her daughter in his house and also bit her and when the child started crying, he left her. When the woman took the girl near the gurudwara, she identified the man and he was arrested by the police.

During the trial, Ram claimed that he was implicated by the complainant as her family wanted to grab his property.

He contended that he had kissed the child out of love and affection and there was no sexual intention behind it.

The court rejected his contention and said from the testimony of the child, it is established that the accused had touched her with sexual intent, thus, he had committed the offence of aggravated sexual assault.

Ram sought leniency citing his age and said he was a first-time offender and belonged to lower strata of society.

The judge, however, said age of the convict and the fact that he was a first offender having no criminal antecedent are mitigating factors in his favour, but in view of provisions of Section 10 of the Act, the court was unable to give due weightage to these mitigating factors.

First Published: Monday, November 11, 2013 - 13:46

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