A special court on Tuesday acquitted a city-based architect who was accused of raping his 15-year-old step-daughter. This is yet another case, where a man is accused merely on the word of a woman.
- The accused, who is 43 years old, was charged under IPC section 376 (rape) and provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act
- Special judge for POCSO cases S J Gharat acquitted the accused (name not disclosed to protect the girl’s identity as per Supreme Court instructions), saying the prosecution failed to prove its case
- Defence lawyer Raja Thakre had argued that the girl’s mother cooked up the case to grab his client’s property
- Medical examination of the girl nowhere suggested rape, the lawyer told the court
- As per the prosecution, the girl’s mother married the accused after her divorce in 2008
- She alleged that in 2014 her daughter, born from her first marriage, confided in her that the accused was sexually harassing her
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Several courts have noted how misuse of POCSO law can ruin a Man’s life for good. Coming done heavily on making false sexual abuse complaints against a person to wreak vengeance, the Kerala High Court, last July, had held that any attempt to misuse the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) to settle scores with the opponent need to be nipped in the bud. The court observation came out when a POCSO case against a person was found a fictitious one.
The court also directed to inquire whether prosecution steps can be taken under section 22 of the POCSO Act and if so, police should take necessary steps against those who made false complaints.
According to the court, the allegation of sexual abuse of a child was a matter of very serious concern and one affecting public conscience. POCSO Act provides for very deterrent punishment to the guilty. It observed,
Hence, a false case of sexual abuse on a child has also to be treated very seriously and any attempt to implicate a person falsely in an offence under the provisions of POCSO Act has also to be seriously dealt with.
During the argument of the said case, the counsel for the mother requested for withdrawing the petition, but considering the nature of the allegation, the court declined the plea.