In cases booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act of 2012, the minor victim’s deposition is sufficient to convict the accused and there is no need for corroboration by an independent witness if the trial court is convinced that the child is speaking the truth and does not appear to have been tutored by her parents or others, the Madras High Court has held.
Justice P. Velmurugan ruled so while confirming the conviction and five-year imprisonment imposed on Venkatesan of Chennai for having molested a 11-year-old daughter of his neighbour when she was alone at home and her family had gone to a nearby supermarket. The convict had challenged his conviction on the ground that there was no independent witness or corroborative evidence.
However, the judge wrote: “In a case like this, this court cannot expect any eyewitness or independent witness. This type of accused will always wait for a chance to take advantage of the loneliness of minor girls to commit this type of offence. The evidence of the victim regarding sexual assault is enough for conviction and it does not require any corroborative evidence unless there are compelling reasons seeking for corroboration.”
According to the prosecution case, the victim’s parents had left her alone at home on the day of the incident and gone to the supermarket along with her younger sister. Taking advantage of her being alone at home, the convict came to her house in the guise of playing with her. When he suddenly attempted to assault her sexually, the girl resisted forcing him to leave the house. Thereafter, she called her parents on phone and asked them to return home immediately.
After their return, she narrated the incident leading to a police complaint lodged by her father a day later. If the incident was true, the girl would have narrated it to her parents on the phone itself and the complaint would have been lodged early, the convict claimed. Nevertheless, the judge rejected the contention and said that a victim, under shock, could not be expected to reveal all details on the phone and therefore it could not be a ground to doubt the prosecution case.
On the other contention that the doctor, who examined the victim, had not found any injury, the judge said the victim might not have suffered any injury but it was on record that she had clearly narrated the entire incident to the doctor and that was sufficient to convict the appellant under Section 10 (aggravated sexual assault which provides for imprisonment between five to seven years) of the POCSO Act, the judge observed.