Ten persons, accused of sexually harassing a minor, have been discharged under the stringent POCSO Act by a Delhi court which said the incident was that of a simple quarrel and there was no sexual intent.
The court said the allegations levelled by the minor girl, a student of class 9, and her sister were “vague and unspecific” and the act of the accused persons does not even point out that they had a sexual intent in touching the hand of the victim or beating her.
It noted that the police had not arrested any of the accused earlier as both the sides were relatives and around 20 cases instituted by the victim’s family and the accused persons against each other, are pending in various courts or being probed.
“Even in respect of the incidents of October 18, 2014 and November 21, 2014 regarding the quarrels taken place between both the parties, the act and conduct of the accused persons does not even point out that there was a sexual intent on their part in touching the hand of the victim or giving her beatings etc,” Additional Sessions Judge A K Sarpal said.
The court said the record showed that the incidents were of simple quarrel which cannot be stretched into sexual harassment and “even if, during quarrel any of the accused gave slaps to the victim or caught her by hairs or abused her, then that act will not amount to show any feeling or indication of sexual intent”.
The girl had alleged in her complaint that in November 2014, she and her sister, also a minor, were standing in front of their house in East Delhi when the accused came there and abused them.
The men, who were drunk, allegedly made obscene gestures, misbehaved with the two girls and tried to drag them out of their house, the complaint said, adding that the accused ran away when they raised an alarm.
The court said the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act cannot be invoked as the minor had not specified what type of words were uttered by the accused or how they had misbehaved.
It said if the statement of the minor, recorded by a magistrate, was read as a whole, it can be said that lot of improvements and inconsistency exists, which were not in the original complaint.
It also said that neither the girl, nor her sister and mother had specified the roles of the accused in their statements.
“Accordingly, after considering the charge sheet, I am of the opinion that no offence under the POCSO Act regarding commission of sexual harassment is made out,” the judge said.
The designated POCSO Act court transferred the matter to the court of chief metropolitan magistrate to decide whether any other offence was made out against the men.
( Source – PTI )