August 26, 2011



Relief for sex assault victim

Mumbai: The Bombay high court has said that it is normal if a victim of molestation files her complaint a few days after the crime has occurred and that it can't be considered a defence for the accused, as it is a very difficult decision for the victim to take the case to court. The court stated this while dismissing an appeal filed by an accused against the three months sentence he was handed for outraging the modesty of a child.

Single judge AP Bhangale, while dismissing the appeal of Vikas Motiram Ghodke, 29, observed: "It is a difficult decision to take such a matter to the court. Ordinarily, the victim's family would not like any stigma to be attached to her."

Justice Bhangale also rejected Ghodke's claim that he was being falsely implicated by the victim. The court said: "I find it difficult to digest that a school girl will put her character at stake in order to falsely implicate the accused."
According to the prosecution, the victim registered a complaint on February 16, 2006, stating that two days earlier when she had gone to Ghodke's shop, he outraged her modesty. The victim narrated the incident to her aunt and uncle.

The accused was arrested and charged under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code. During the trial, the court examined five witnesses. Considering the evidence, the magistrate sentenced the accused to imprisonment for three months and a fine of Rs 300. Ghodke challenged the sentence in sessions court which was rejected and he moved the high court.

Justice Bhangale, while rejecting the defence that no independent witnesses were examined, said: "Knowledge and intention cannot be demonstrated like physical objects. The existence of intention or knowledge has to be culled out from various circumstances. A victim of molestation and indignation is in the same position as an injured witness and her testimony should receive the same weight.

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