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Mumbai: Special court acquits father of molestation charges

12:05 AM Oct 20, 2021 | Urvi Mahajani

A special court hearing case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) on Tuesday acquitted a father accused of sexually assaulting his 11-year-old daughter in January 2018.

It said: “In a domestic dispute between parents, the children are intentionally kept away from the other spouse for harassment and that is what has come on record in the present case.”

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Judge Bharti Kale acquitted the 44-year-old father observing that the evidence of the daughter and the estranged wife did not inspire confidence.

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The court observed: “After giving my thoughtful consideration to the evidence on record I find that the evidence of the informant (mother) and the victim (daughter) does not inspire confidence to come to the conclusion that the accused has committed a sexual assault upon the victim and caused sexual harassment to her and that he has breached her modesty.”

According to the prosecution, the father had allegedly molested the daughter in January 2018. However, the complaint was lodged in March 2018.

The estranged wife alleged that she didn’t allow their daughter to be alone with her father due to his bad character. However, during cross-examination, it was revealed that she had separated five years before the alleged incident. And the daughter used to stay with the mother.

The father was staying at his brother’s place.

Due to marital discord, the couple had filed various complaints against each other at Santacruz police station. The mother repeatedly sought divorce which the father refused.

Ramprasad Gupta, father’s advocate, pointed out that the victim girl has said during her cross-examination that her parents would quarrel frequently. She even said that her mother would say it would be good if her father were dead as she hated him.

During the cross-examination, the mother revealed that she would visit one ‘guru’ who had suggested to her some ways to get a divorce. Besides, she said that she would not allow the daughter to reside with her father as he didn’t provide monetary help and also that he would beat them.

The mother’s proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act were dismissed since she did not pursue the same.

The mother had claimed that since the girl started staying quiet after the alleged incident, she had taken her to the school counsellor. However, there are no details as to when the victim was keeping quiet because the alleged act of sexual assault has firstly occurred in January 2018 and the informant has deposed that the victim was regularly going to school. The informant has also stated that no complaints were received from the school that the victim was not talking to anyone and was keeping quiet.

The court observed, “Therefore, the evidence about the victim keeping quiet and therefore she being taken to counsellor is also shaky and does not inspire confidence.”

The girl had deposed before the court that she hated her father. “I find it highly improbable that the victim (girl) has not stated about the said act (of molestation) to the informant (mother) with whom she was present all the time.”

Special public prosecutor Geeta Sharma raised questions over the father’s character. However, no evidence was put forth in this regard.

Acquitting the father, the court observed, “Hence, in this background, the contention of the SPP about the character of the accused is falsified. In the cases where there is a domestic dispute between the parents, the children are intentionally kept away from the other spouse for harassment and that is what has come on record in the present case.”

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