The Bombay High Court Aurangabad Bench reiterated that the sole testimony of a minor victim is sufficient to hold that the accused was guilty of sexual assault.

The Bench of Justice Vibha Kankanwadi and Justice Abhay S. Waghwase observed that "Her sole testimony is sufficient to hold accused guilty. Therefore, the only inference that can be drawn is that accused had raped and forced himself upon the minor girl. Victim has described the act of accused which suggests that there was penetrative sexual assault and therefore, along with the provisions of IPC, the provisions of POCSO Act are also squarely attracted... with such quality of evidence, there is no hesitation to hold that accused is culprit and he has committed all offences for which he has been charged.”

Advocate V.R. Dhorde appeared for the appellant and APP A.M. Phule appeared for the respondent-State.

In this case, the appeal had been preferred against the judgment of the Sessions Court wherein the appellant had been convicted for offence punishable under Section 363, 366-A and 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and Sections 6 and 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).and, the appeal has been preferred by the State against the quantum of sentence awarded.

The Court re-appreciated and re-examined the evidence and noted that the evidence of victim clearly showed that the appellant lured her from the guardianship and lawful custody of her parents and took her to various places with evil intention of ravishing her and said that the very act of taking away the minor without the consent of her parents proved the charge of Section 363 of IPC.

The Court further noted that the accused made her wear mangalsutra to show that she was married to the appellant and the victim had categorically stated in her evidence that the appellant took her at various places and had sexual intercourse against her wish.

“With such version coming from minor, there is no further requirement of other evidence to hold that there was forcible sexual intercourse.” observed the Court.

Concludingly, the Court said that the required ingredients for attracting the charges were very much satisfied by the evidence of prosecution and therefore, there was no merit in the appeal. Further, the Court held that the quantum of sentence awarded by the Sessions Court would subserve the purpose of justice.

Accordingly, both appeals were dismissed.

Cause Title- Arvind S/o Sarjerao Devkar v. the State of Maharashtra

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