A special court of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act recently acquitted a hearing and speech impaired man, now aged 23, four years after he was arrested for allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting his then “15-year-old” schoolmate.
- Dinesh and Jyoti (names changed), both were students at the same hearing and speech impaired school in Mumbai
- The dup had eloped together with each other’s consent in October 2014
- The couple who was based in Mumbai decided to flee away to Tirupati, where they began cohabiting together
- Dinesh also took up a job at a local restaurant for Rs 120 per day
- The duo deposed in sign language interpreted by teachers from their special school
- However, on the complaint of girl’s mother, the police brought back both of them to Mumbai in January 2015
- Soon after returning to her home city, Jyoti had recorded her statement with the magistrate that she had eloped with Dinesh willingly and that their relationship was very much consensual
- It is only later during the trial in court that the girl changed her statement alleging Dinesh had forced her into sexual relations
- On the other hand, Dinesh expressed in sign language to the court that he should not be punished for loving the girl and also that he had married her without any ill intentions
Observations of the Court
This judgement is being hailed as one of the most compassionate judgements recently from a POCSO court. In its order the court observed that the intention of suspect is not lust but for starting a family. The court also said that the victim herself took the initiative of joining the alleged accused and well understood the meaning of man-woman relationship and marriage. It noted,
She had willingly travelled with him in public transport. She never objected when he introduced her as his wife for procuring residence.
This is a case the where a differently abled boy and girl who were in love chose to live together without parents’ consent.
- The crux of the case begins with whether the girl was a minor or not
- The same has been negated by the POCSO court
- Therefore as consenting adults, both Dinesh and Jyoti were not wrong in taking a mutual decision of getting married
- Yes, one may emotionally counter the fears or worries of the girl’s mother, where she would have felt that commencing a marital life in the given condition at such an early stage could be difficult for her daughter
- However, alleging sexual assault charges on Dinesh, merely because she wanted to get rid of him or something else, is extremely incorrect
- There are several examples where parents of a girl have used rape/sexual harassment as a tool just to ensure the boy is away and out of their daughter’s life
- The court in the above case has evaluated all practical aspects in detail and though it took five long years, have given an honourable acquittal to the man