Refusing to show leniency to a rape accused only on the grounds of his advanced age, a special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act court on Friday sentenced a sixty-three-year-old city resident to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment for sexually assaulting the nine-year-old daughter of his neighbour.
Special POCSO judge Sanjashree J Gharat convicted the accused for rape under section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and penetrative sexual assault under section 4 of the POCSO Act and sentenced him to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment.
At the time of sentencing, the accused had prayed for leniency on the grounds of his advanced age.
The court, however, rejected the plea. The court said in such type of cases, maximum punishment should be awarded to the accused not only to deter him from committing such type of offence in future, but also to deter the public at large from indulging in such type of offences.
“If the accused is shown leniency then it will send a wrong message in the society,” said the court, adding that, “The offences proved against the accused are serious in nature.”
The court said the sufferings of the survivor cannot be ignored. “At the time when the offence happened (2015), the victim was just nine-years-old and now she will have to carry that mental trauma throughout her life,” said additional sessions judge Sanjashree Gharat.
The accused was a neighbour of the victim, she said, adding, therefore, the complainant showed trust in him and asked the elderly person to look after his minor niece when he was required to visit railway station to drop his relatives. The accused took advantage of it and sexually assaulted the minor girl and later threatened her not to tell anyone about it.