New Delhi: A man`s year-long jail term for molesting a seven-year old girl 16 years ago has been upheld by a Delhi court, which said cases of sexual abuse of women and children cannot be treated with kid gloves.
District Judge and Additional Sessions Judge R K Gauba refused to grant leniency to South Delhi resident Jeetu Parihar, convicted for assaulting his minor neighbour with intention to outrage her modesty.
"It does appear the appellant does not have any past criminal record. But then, a case of such nature as at hand cannot be allowed to get away without substantive punishment.
"There is a need to send out a strong message that the justice delivery system would not treat cases of sexual abuse of women and children with kid gloves," the court said.
Parihar had moved the sessions court against a magisterial court order sentencing him to a year in jail and a fine of Rs 5,000.
In his appeal, Parihar had said he had been falsely implicated by the girl`s parents as they wanted to grab his hutment and that he was held guilty even as the girl was tutored before her deposition in the court.
The court, however, rejected his contentions and plea for leniency saying "under section 354 IPC (assault on woman to outrage her modesty) attracts a maximum imprisonment for 2 years. The magistrate has taken a balanced view by awarding rigorous imprisonment for one year only."
"In these circumstances, there is no scope for any further lenient view," it added.
As per the prosecution case, the minor girl was residing in Andrews Gunj slums and was sleeping outside her dwelling unit on May 20-21, 1996 night when when Parihar came and molested her.
The girl rushed to her mother, who was sleeping inside, and told her about the incident. Parihar had been arrested the same day, but was given bail the next day.