Delhi High Court on Friday suspended the sentence of the accused under the POCSO ACT based on the fact that the girl misrepresented her age while eloping voluntarily with the accused.
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The prosecutrix was 17 years 4 months when she eloped with the appellant and later they had a child, who is at present in custody and care of the prosecutrix.
The appellant was convicted for offences under Section 376(2)(n) of the Indian Penal Code 1860 and Section 6 of the POCSO Act for which he was sentenced to 12 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 10,000/-. The appellant has already undergone a sentence of 3 years and has filed an application to suspend the sentence.
Evidence considered by the Court
The Court considered the statement of the prosecutrix given under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and evidences given by her in which she stated that she ran away with the appellant out of her own free will and that she is in love with him and prayed that the appellant be released on bail.
The girl, in her cross-examination had specifically stated that she herself misrepresented her age to the appellant to make him believe that she was a major at the time they eloped.
Order and Conditions
Justice Jagjeet Singh granted bail to the accused and also acknowledged that even though the accused had not undergone 50% of his sentence, still the facts are enough to persuade that sentence be suspended.
The Court also observed that to set aside or uphold the judgement detailed hearing and appreciation of facts will be required, which shall be taken up when the appeal is finally heard.
Hence, the Court suspended the sentence during pendency of appeal on the term and conditions that appellant will furnish personal bond of Rs. 10,000/- ; until and unless the prosecutrix desires he will not interfere in the life of the prosecutrix and the minor child; that he shall try and contribute some amount towards the upbringing of the minor child.
The Court also directed the DSLSA to expeditiously pay a compensation of Rs. 4 lakhs to the prosecutrix in 2 weeks from the date of the order.
Counsel for Appellant: Mr. Nitin Saluja, Adv. DHCLSC along with Advocates Ms. Shivani Luthra Lohiya, Ms. Poonam Dangi and Mr. Saahil Mongia.
Counsel for the State: Mr. Ajay Vikram Singh, APP for State along with W/SI Deepika and PS Kotla Mubarakpur
Counsel for the prosecutrix: Ms. Aishwarya Rao, Adv. for prosecutrix
Case Title: Babloo v. State of NCT Delhi