New Delhi: A 20-year-old youth, convicted for sexually harassing his 12-year-old relative, has been released on probation by a Delhi court which took a "lenient view" considering his young age.
"Having regard to the fact that convict is a young boy aged about 20 years, who is having a bright future, I take a lenient view and grant him the benefit of probation and release him on probation on furnishing bond in the sum of Rs 10,000 with one surety in the like amount for a period of one year," Additional Sessions Judge Illa Rawat said.
The court held Sultanpuri resident Arun guilty of the offence under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, even though the minor`s father had failed to support the prosecution`s version.
"Father of the victim has failed to support the case of the prosecution and the investigating officer (IO) too has failed to join public persons in investigation despite their availability, (even then) I am of the opinion that the prosecution has succeeded in proving its case," the judge said.
The court noted that the victim`s father had also admitted to have compromised the matter with the youth and his family to save Arun, who was their relative, from legal consequences.
While holding Arun guilty, the court relied on the girl`s statement in which she said he had made obscene gestures with his hand and also abused her.
It also noted that the girl had earlier changed her statement due to "tremendous pressure" from her family.
"From careful perusal of the testimony of the minor, it is apparent that the accused had in fact indulged in alleged acts and caused sexual harassment to the victim," the court held.
According to the prosecution, Arun, who was residing near the girl`s house, had used abusive language and made obscene gestures while the minor was on her way to the market from her residence and asked for her mobile number.
Later, the minor informed her parents about the incident, who had compromised the matter with Arun to save him from legal consequences, it said.
The youth was convicted under section 11(i) of the POCSO Act under which a person is said to have committed sexual harassment on a child if "he utters any word or makes any sound or makes gestures intentionally". The offence entails a maximum of three years imprisonment.
During the trial, Arun sought leniency from the court and claimed he was falsely implicated in the case.