Court convicts man for 'aggravated sexual assault' of 3-year-old girl in 2022

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New Delhi, Jul 11 (PTI) A court here has convicted a man for committing aggravated sexual assault of a three-year-old girl in 2022, observing that sexual abuse of children is seldom reported because of shame, guilt and family honour.

The arguments on sentencing will be heard later.

Additional Sessions Judge Susheel Bala Dagar of the Rohini District Court was hearing a case against the accused, who was charged under penal provisions for rape and under Section 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

According to the victim's testimony, the accused touched her private parts on June 17, 2022.

The court said merely touching the private parts of the child with sexual intent would be an offence under Section 10 (punishment for aggravated sexual assault) of the POCSO Act along with the Indian Penal Code (IPC) offences for outraging the modesty of the victim by physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures and compelling her to be naked.

"The testimony of prosecution witnesses are found to be trustworthy and reliable, and the prosecution has succeeded in proving the guilt of the accused and thus the accused is found to have committed the offence," the court said.

In an order passed on July 9, the court rejected the arguments of the defence counsel about the delay in registration of the FIR and said, "It is common knowledge that sexual abuse of children remains shrouded in shame, guilt, family honour and hence is seldom reported. More than that when the abuser is a known person, it is very difficult to report the matter." "The normalisation of abuse in society has become so endemic that it is only when the abuse is perceived to be gruesome and serious, involving penetration or bad touch, that both children and families pay attention and speak up or report," it added.

The court said in such a scenario it would have been difficult for the victim's mother to report the incident immediately against the accused, who was a distant relative and a tenant.

"The mother of the victim must have been under shock. The prosecution's case cannot be discarded or disbelieved merely on the grounds of delay in FIR and delay in filing of FIR cannot be used as a ritualistic formula to doubt the authenticity of the prosecution evidence," it said.

Regarding the child's statements, the court said, "The contents of deposition of the child witness as recorded above clearly show that no tutoring was done. There is no reason for a 3 years and 11 months old child to falsely implicate the accused." Dismissing the arguments of the accused that the child's medical examination was not conducted, it said merely because the mother did not agree to conduct her child's medical examination, it did not mean that the incident did not occur.

"Moreover, her testimony categorically explains the reasons for her such refusal that she did not see any injury on the private part of her daughter," the court said, adding, "It is not necessary that in every case or aggravated sexual assault, there would be an injury on the private parts." PTI MNR `1MNR KSS KSS