Bombay High Court Acquits Man of Rape Charges, Says 'Victim Is Tutored Witness'

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Mumbai, September 8: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday acquitted a man convicted of raping a minor girl in Thane. The man had been sentenced to seven years in prison by the lower court which delivered its verdict in May 2019. Observing that the victim is a tutored witness, the Bombay High Court set aside a lower court's verdict. The High Court further said that a minor victim's testimony should scrutinized and cast doubt on the child's mother's deposition. Touching Kid's Cheeks Without Sexual Intent Does Not Attract Offence of Sexual Assault: Bombay High Court.

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"It is well known that minor witnesses, by reason of their tender age, are pliable witnesses. They are amenable to tutoring and inducement and are often prone to telling imaginative and exaggerated stories. Hence, the evidence of a child witness needs to be scrutinized with extreme care and caution," Justice Anuja Prabhudesai was quoted by Live Law as saying. The judge underlined that the victim had admitted to being a tutored witness. Man's Second Marriage Not Domestic Violence Against Divorced First Wife, Says Bombay High Court.

"She (the victim) has admitted in her cross examination that her parents were present at the time of recording her statement under Section 164 of CrPC.. She has stated that her parents had told her how to give the statement. She has further stated that she was questioned by the police about the incident and that her mother had given the answers, which were taken down in writing. She has admitted that her parents had told her how to depose before the Court," said Justice Prabhudesai.

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The petitioner was booked and convicted under sections 376 (punishment for rape) and 354 (A) (1) (i) (for physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 4 (punishment for penetrative sexual assault) and 8 (punishment for sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. He challenged conviction in the High Court.

What Is the Case?

Both the accused and the complainant live in the same building. According to the girl's mother, her daughter woke up crying in the middle of the night on December 12, 2017. She had injuries on her genitals. Asked about what had happened with her, the mother said, her daughter told her that their neighbour touched her inappropriately. The accused man, however, told the court that he was framed and there was a dispute between him and the girl's mother over leakage from his toilet.

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