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Delhi HC reverses acquittal of 'monster' father for raping minor daughter

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New Delhi, May 14 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday held guilty a father of repeatedly raping his minor daughter for two years, reversing a trial court decision that acquitted him of all charges on the basis of delay in reporting the matter.

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A bench headed by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait allowed appeals by the State as well as the victim along with her mother and brother against the acquittal, and remarked that instead of finding a "monastery" in her father's lap, the minor girl found a "monster".

Holding that every delay in reporting the matter cannot be branded fatal in a mechanical manner, the court noted that the victim, who was 10 years old at the time she was first raped, tolerated sexual assault by her father for approximately two years afterwards. She went to the police after noticing that her father had beaten her mother and brother instead of mending his ways, the court said.

It held that the testimony of the victim inspired full confidence and the trial court gave unwarranted weightage to superficial contradictions.

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"The wrongdoer was not any outsider or stranger. Victim must have thought that she would find a 'monastery' in the lap of her father. Little did she realise that he was rather a 'monster'," the bench, also comprising Justice Manoj Jain, said.

"In view of apparent compelling reason that the finding recorded in order of acquittal is contrary to the evidence, we have no hesitation in reversing the same. 106. Consequently, we hereby allow both the appeals and hold the respondent guilty for commission of offences punishable under Section 6 (Punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of POCSO Act and Sections 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) and 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) IPC," the court held.

The trial court had passed the order in June 2019 following the registration of FIR in 2013.

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The court directed that the matter be listed on May 24 for arguments on sentence.

In the order, the court observed that such incidents of sexual assault are often not reported because the victim and her family members feel that their image and repute would be tarnished and even in the present case, the victim claimed to have told her mother about the incidents but she was snubbed.

The court said it "strongly" felt and believed that the incident of the father beating up her mother and brother acted as catalyst and acted as a "saturation point" for the victim and her family and therefore the delay could not be said to be fatal.

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"We need not remind ourselves that we are dealing with a matter where a daughter has been raped by her own father inside her own house, not once but repeatedly... It is not difficult to understand the dilemma of such mother as well," the court stated.

"In a patriarchal set up, which is still very much predominant in our country, such matters are either not reported at all or reported when it is beyond the tolerance of the victim. Here, victim did not see any ray of hope as her father, despite being questioned, did not mend his ways and scolded not only his wife but also the victim and in such a peculiar situation, victim kept on tolerating such sexual assault for approximately two years," added the court.

The court remarked that had the parties immediately rushed to the police, the victim might have been saved from perpetual trauma and sought a report on the payment of compensation to her. PTI ADS ADS VN VN

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