Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Times of India
The Times of India
Swati Deshpande | TNN

Looking at chargesheet, minor was capable of understanding consequences, says Bombay HC; grants bail to 22-year-old in Pocso case

MUMBAI: Observing that prima facie, a 15-year-old minor was capable of understanding the consequences of her act, Bombay high court granted bail to a 22-year-old man, arrested last year under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) for allegedly raping her.

The accused was 21 and she was 15 years and four month old when the alleged crime occurred. Her mother had lodged a complaint on April 6, 2021 after her daughter alleged that she accompanied him to his aunt’s house on the pretext of meeting her but forced himself on her when she was not at home. The minor in her statement on April 29 “admitted that she was known to the (accused) who was residing in their neighbourhood and for last two months, she was close to him and had developed a love relationship.’’

Justice Bharati Dangre who heard the matter went through the chargesheet too, filed by police after completing its probe, and said “Taking an overall view of the material compiled in the charge-sheet, it appears that the applicant though minor, was capable of understanding the consequences of her act and she voluntarily accompanied the applicant to her aunt’s place.’’

The HC said, “Though she is a minor and her consent become immaterial, in a case like this, where she voluntarily joined the company of the applicant, and she had categorically admitted that she was in love with (him), whether that she consented for the sexual intercourse or not, is the matter of evidence,’’ as is when exactly did she resist him. The HC also factored in her “silence’’ till her texts with him were objected to by family.

Given that the accused is also young, possibility of him being “smitten’ cannot be ruled out, and he need not be further incarcerated, given his arrest on April 29, 2021 and trial likely to take “considerable time’’.

The HC said its observations are “prima facie’’ and granted him bail of Rs 25000 surety with strict conditions not to contact physically or virtually, induce or threaten anyone connected with the case.

The Trial court will not be influenced by its prima facie observations, said the HC and conduct trial of the accused on merits.

(The victim's identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme Court directives on cases related to sexual assault)

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.