Supreme Court suspends sentence of a convict under POCSO Act

Supreme Court suspends sentence of a convict under POCSO Act

Supreme Court suspends sentence of a convict under POCSO Act

Considers the fact that the convict and the victim are now married

New Delhi, March 29 (Delhi Crown): The Supreme Court has suspended the sentence of a convict undergoing incarceration in Tamil Nadu for impregnating a minor girl eight years ago when the convict too was a minor.

Both the victim and the convict got married to each other in November 2018, before the trial court had pronounced its judgement holding him guilty under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.

A love affair between the duo began in 2012, and the sexual relationship was consensual. The Apex Court in its order suspended the sentence of 10 years, even as the convict has already been behind the bars for almost three years.

At present the convict is 25 years old, while the victim (now his wife) is 21 years old.

“Having regard to the totality of facts and circumstances, we are inclined to suspend the execution of remaining part of the sentence awarded to the appellant,” the bench observed in its order.

The convict had argued that the High Court passed the order without considering that it was a “case of consensual love affair” when they were minors and that they got married before the pronouncement of the final judgment of the trial court.

According to the petitioner (convict), the present case is one of a love-affair between him and the complainant which started in 2012. The complainant, four years younger than the petitioner got pregnant in around April, 2014. An FIR was lodged against the petitioner in July 2014.

The petitioner stated that when he met the victim girl after her pregnancy, he assured to marry her and the aunt of complainant had asked for Rs. 25,000 for medical and other expenses for the girl that he immediately readied to pay.

The petitioner has submitted that in November 2018, during the pendency of the trial i.e. before the pronouncement of final judgment, both the complainant girl and the petitioner got married in the presence of their families.

However, without appreciating the background of the case and the fact that they are married the trial court passed a judgment convicting the petitioner under Section 6 of POCSO Act, 2012.

The POCSO Act is a comprehensive law enacted with the objective of protecting children from a slew of sexual offences like sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography while safeguarding the interests of the child at every stage of the judicial process.

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