A special POCSO court convicted a 40-year-old man of raping his 14-year-old stepdaughter repeatedly and sentenced him to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment.
The 40-year-old was booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The survivor is 14 years old and studying in Class IX. Her biological father was an alcohol addict, due to which her mother divorced him and remarried.
It was alleged that in October 2019, when the victim was sleeping on the floor beside her sisters, she felt hands on her body and, when she woke up, she found that her stepfather was sleeping beside her. When she tried stopping him, the man clamped her mouth and had forced sexual intercourse with her and threatened her with her life if she disclosed it.
When her mother went home to her native place, the man once again had forced sexual intercourse with the girl. When the mother returned from her trip, the girl told her everything. The woman took her daughter to a hospital, where they found out that she was 16 weeks’ pregnant. An FIR was filed and charges framed against the stepfather.
During the trial, the man’s lawyer told the court that the girl and her mother had turned hostile. The court will now have to rely on DNA reports.
“The victim girl has admitted that her stepfather is in jail and the only earning member of the family. The mother is not willing to keep him behind bars. She has stated that whatever wrong was done by her stepfather, she wants to excuse him and does not want to keep him behind bars.”
The special court, however, convicted the stepfather based on DNA reports. “The offence is heinous, a stepfather who committed repeated rape on victim girl, who is child below 18 years. The DNA report has established that the victim girl was pregnant and the accused is the biological father… It is indeed sad, very serious and heinous act committed by the accused,” the court said.
While noting that the prosecution had proved reasonable doubt through scientific evidence, the court said, “Though the mother of the victim and girl have chosen not to support the prosecution case and have turned hostile, scientific evidence in the form of DNA test report on record proves the guilt of the accused beyond all reasonable doubt.”
“The evidence and material on record clearly demonstrate that despite the material prosecution witness turning hostile, the prosecution conclusively proved its case beyond reasonable doubt against the accused,” the bench further noted.
The special court then passed its order and convicted the stepfather while sentencing him to rigorous imprisonment of 20 years. The court also imposed a fine on the man and said if the fine is recovered, a sum of Rs 34,000 should be paid to the survivor.
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