Bombay HC convicts man let off in rape case 21 years ago

Updated: Dec 24, 2018, 17:39 IST | PTI |

The bench, in its judgment, said the trial court had erred and acted in a "casual or cavalier" manner, in determining the victim's age as that of being a major

Representational Image
Representational Image

The Bombay High Court has overturned a 1997 trial court order acquitting a 41-year-old man in a rape case of a minor girl in 1996. A division bench of Justices Indrajit Mahanty and V K Jadhav Saturday convicted Macchindra Sonawane (who was 19 years old at the time of the incident) and sentenced him to seven years in jail for raping the 11-year-old girl.

The bench, in its judgment, said the trial court had erred and acted in a "casual or cavalier" manner, in determining the victim's age as that of being a major.

The prosecution case is that on December 1, 1996, Sonwane allegedly raped the victim who had gone to his shop to buy medicines.

A sessions court in Nashik had in July 1997 acquitted Sonwane after determining the victim's age as 16 and not 11.

The court had taken into consideration the victim's X-ray ossification test that estimated her age as 14.

The trial court applied the plus two minus two margin of error and determined that victim was 16, which was the age of consent at that time.

The trial court had also disbelieved the victim's statement that she had resisted the rape after observing that there were no injuries on her body to show resistance.

Thereafter, the Maharashtra government approached the HC in appeal against the acquittal and said the trial court had erred in determining the victim's age and claimed that she had not even hit puberty at the time of the crime.

The HC, in its judgment, noted that the trial court had mechanically determined the age of the victim.

The bench also took note of the victim's statement to the police and her deposition before the trial court in which she had categorically denied having consented to the act.

"Lack of any resistance or absence of injury on the body of the victim are of no consequence vis a vis the issue of consent," the High Court said.
The bench, while convicting Sonwane, directed him to pay a fine of Rs one lakh as compensation to the victim.

It asked the Nashik District Legal Services Authority to locate the victim and get an application from her for consideration of payment of compensation under the government's scheme of financial assistance for women victims/ survivors for sexual assault and other crimes.

"We hope and trust that such application will be dealt with necessary sympathy that the case deserves," the HC said.

The bench refused to show leniency for the accused and said, "Even though the incident took place in 1996, we remain with fervent hope and confidence that protecting the confidence of the common man in the institution entrusted with the administration of justice is reaffirmed."

Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also, download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates

This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Except for the change in the headline, the story has been provided "AS-IS," "AS AVAILABLE, without any verification or editing from our side. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.com

Subscribe
Loading...

Maharashtra Elections 2019: Pankaja Munde and Dhananjay Munde battle it out for Parli

NEXT STORY
This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK