High Court reverses Headmaster’s acquittal in POCSO Act case, sentences him to 3 yrs RI

Gangtok, 01 Oct:

The High Court of Sikkim has reversed the acquittal of pedophile Headmaster of a Government Primary School and convicted him for offences committed under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and sentenced him to 3 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 25,000.

While delivering the judgment on an appeal by the State against the acquittal, the division bench of the High Court headed by Acting Chief Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai and Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan directed the convicted Headmaster to surrender before the Special Judge by 11AM on 01 Oct and undergo the sentence imposed on him by the High Court.

The bench cancelled all the bail-bonds of the Headmaster and directed that ‘should the accused fail to surrender, the Special Judge shall initiate necessary steps.’

The Headmaster has been found guilty for offences under Section 9(c), 9(l), 9(m) and 9(o), punishable under Section 10 of the POCSO Act.

The appeal against the acquittal argued that prosecution witnesses, including the victim, had presented sufficient materials to establish guilt but these had not been taken into consideration.

The defendant’s lawyers meanwhile had argued that there was delay in the lodging of the FIR and the evidence on record indicated discrepancies in the statements of the Prosecution Witnesses and the Medical Report.

The High Court bench, in its judgment observed, “…there is also no reason to doubt the statement of the victim whose evidence of sexual assault by the respondent on her has been cogent and consistent. True it is therefore that no penetrative sexual assault has been established, yet, the fact of sexual assault on the victim is proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”