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Non-compliance of mandate under POCSO Act does not prejudice rights of accused : Orissa High Court

Non-compliance of mandate under POCSO Act does not prejudice rights of accused : Orissa High Court

While highlighting the objective behind the incorporation of Section 27(2) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) the Single Judge Bench of Justice Sangam Kumar Sahoo said, non-compliance of mandate provision does not prejudice the rights of an accused.

The Court further observed, “The sanguine purpose is to safeguard the interest and well-being of the children at every stage of the judicial proceeding. Section 27(2) of the POCSO Act has been designed to protect the girl child from embarrassment and to ensure that she is comfortable, as it was thought to be in the best interest of the girl child. It is not meant to be a safeguard in favour of the accused.

In the said matter, an FIR has been lodged against the person by the father of the Victim in which he alleging that the appellant, who was his neighbour, inserted his fingers in the vagina of her daughter, who was about seven-year-old at the time of occurrence.

He is charged under Sections 376-AB/376(2)(n) of the Indian Penal Code read with section 6 of the POCSO Act.

The Trial Court took note of the injury noticed on the hymen of the victim and also considered the oral and documentary evidence on record to conclude that the prosecution proved its case beyond all reasonable doubts and accordingly, convicted the accused under Section 376(2)(n), IPC read with Section 6 of the POCSO Act.

The Court noted that the medical examination of the victim was conducted by the male doctor only after the father of the victim girl gave his consent for the same which is evident from the consent form for examination.

“There is nothing on record as to how the appellant was prejudiced due to such examination. There is no dispute that the purpose of POCSO Act is to treat the minors as a class by itself and treat them separately so that no offence is committed against them as regards sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual abuse”, it observed.

Further, the Court clarified that the said provision is not meant to be a safeguard in favour of the accused. Therefore, appellant was unable to show any prejudice which caused to him during an incident only because the victim was examined by a male doctor nor he challenged the veracity of the report,

The Court upheld the conviction of the appellant under Section 6 of the POCSO Act and the sentence of RI for a period of ten years. However, in view of the poor financial condition of the appellant, the fine amount of Rs. 10,000/- (rupees ten thousand) as awarded by the Trial Court was reduced to 1,000/- (rupees one thousand) and the default sentence of RI for a period of six months was reduced to RI for a period of one month.

Case Title: Barika Pradhan v. State of Odisha

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