The Delhi High Court upheld the six-year jail term awarded to a Muslim cleric (Maulvi) who was convicted for sexually assaulting a six- years- old girl and further refused to reduce the sentence and observed that the accused held a position of great trust and faith which was breached by sexually assaulting a child.

The appellant/accused approached the High Court to set aside his conviction and prayed in alternative for reduction in sentence to the period already incarcerated i.e., two-and-a-half years.

The Bench of Justice Poonam A. Bamba observed that “the appellant/accused is a Maulvi/Hafiz, who taught Quaran Sharif and Kayda to the victim. A great faith and trust is reposed in the Maulvi/Hafiz, who teaches to others, the tenets of holy Quaran and is looked up to, with reverence. Thus, the appellant/accused held a position of great trust and faith, which he breached by sexually assaulting the victim, a gullible girl child of six years of age. Thus, the appellant/ accused does not deserve any indulgence in this regard.”

Advocate Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan appeared for the appellant and Additional PP Richa Dhawan appeared for the State.

In this case, minor girl was sexually assaulted by the Muslim Cleric and a complaint was filed by the minor girl’s family. FIR under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 8/10 of the POCSO Act was registered.

The Trial Court convicted the appellant/accused and was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years for the offence punishable under Section 354 IPC and to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of six years for the offence punishable under Section 10 of POCSO Act.

The victim, along with other children, used to go to the cleric house for learning Quran Sharif and Kayda. On returning home, she informed her mother that as she could not recite Kayda the appellant/accused sexually assaulted her by tickling on her private parts.

The appellant-accused denied the allegations and contended that he had been falsely implicated in the case as 15 days prior to the incident, an altercation took place between him and the victim’s father after some water got sprinkled on the latter’s coat when the appellant/accused was watering the plants.

The Court denied the appellant/accused contention and observed that it was established that he had sexually assaulted the victim, who was six years of age at the time of the incident.

“Thus, I find no infirmity in the judgment of Ld. Trial Court in concluding that the appellant/accused is guilty of aggravated sexual assault in terms of Section 9 (m) POCSO Act, which is punishable under Section 10 POCSO Act and convicting the appellant/accused under Section 354 IPC and Section 10 POCSO Act.” said the Court.

Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.

Cause Title- Mohd Abid Hussain v. The State (2023/DHC/000827)

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