Meghalaya HC Criticizes State Government for Not Appealing Against Rape Convict's Acquittal
After being accused of raping his stepdaughter, the father was held in accordance with Sections 5 and 6 of the POCSO Act.
GUWAHATI: The Meghalaya high court censured the state government on October 27 for failing to appeal the acquittal of a man who was charged with raping and impregnating his young stepdaughter.
The purported survivor is now 21 years old and admittedly an adult. However, she hasn't expressed a preference for an appeal. The alleged survivor's declaration must be regarded at face value because the law forbids speculation or conjecture, the Court said.
Sources said a division bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Wanlura Diengdoh criticized the state government for neglecting to file an appeal after a trial court cleared the man of the charges against him for raping and impregnating his stepdaughter.
The state government was pulled up for its negligence in failing to conduct a DNA test to determine the father of the child the minor girl gave birth to. "It is remarkable that the State did not prefer an appeal or try to get to the bottom of the situation by insisting on a DNA test to be undertaken," the bench said. Children being sexually abused is a widespread social issue, and if the State doesn't take it seriously and only plays the prosecutor role that is required by law, the bigger threat might not be stopped, the judges maintained.
The victim's aunt filed an instant application for permission to file an appeal against the October 31, 2019, acquittal order, which led to the discovery of the situation. However, the Court rejected the plea because the putative survivor's total denial of the incident constituted the basis for the ruling of acquittal.
After being accused of raping his stepdaughter, the father was held in accordance with Sections 5 and 6 of the POCSO Act. The trial court cleared the offender because the victim testified that he had not raped her.
The Court also noted that even stepchildren who are abused are reluctant to report their abusers because they might not have another way to support themselves. This is in addition to the fact that wives of sexual offenders are frequently reluctant to depose against their husbands due to the fear of being abandoned.
The Court urged, "The State commission for women may also have a role to play in such cases. These are matters where the State should be alert and when there is a slight hint of coercion or threat on the victim, the State should step in to make sure that justice is served either through offering security to the victim or by contacting the victim as well as their relatives."
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