Mumbai Court sentences 41-yr-old to 5 years in jail for hugging and touching minor's buttocks

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The incident took place in a nearby vicinity, where normally people know each other and feel secure, court underscored.

A Special POCSO Court in Mumbai has convicted 41-year-old Santosh Jadhav under the POCSO Act and sentenced him to 5 years of imprisonment for hugging and touching the buttocks of an 8-year-old minor girl.

Special Judge Priya P Bankar while authoring the judgment noted that children are easy prey due to their tender age, physical vulnerabilities, and inexperience in life and society.

“There is increase in the cases of sexual offences against the child. The child sexual abuse cases demonstrating the inhumane mind- set of the accused. The children are easy prey, due to their tender age, physical vulnerabilities and inexperience of life and society. The incident has taken place in a nearby vicinity, where normally people knows each other and feel secured” the order read.

The court also observed that there are adverse impacts of such incidents on the victim and family members.

“The parents of the minor victim has also allowed her to play in nearby vicinity, only with same feeling and trust. There is very adverse impact of the incident on victim girl, on her family members and society. They are under impression that nearby vicinity is not safe for children. Definitely, such type of incident causes terror in the mind of people and leave scar for longer time” the order stated.

The case pertains to an FIR that was registered in 2017 by the mother of the victim after the minor girl returned back to the house crying and informed her mother that when she was playing outside the house along with other children, one person took her at a nearby building and he touched her buttocks and body. After She shouted loudly, the person showed his hand intending to slap her after which she ran towards the house.

After hearing both sides the court passed the order convicting the 41-year-old.

The court in its order said that there was clear evidence of the minor victim girl that the accused hugged her and touched her buttocks and the said act itself shows, the culpable mental state of the accused. Further, it noted that there was absolutely no reason to disbelieve the evidence on record.

The court relied on Sections 29 and 30 of the POCSO Act and said that the prosecution had bought sufficient evidence on record to prove that the accused had committed the offence

“In the present matter, there is absolutely no evidence on record to rehur the said presumption under section 29 and 30 of POCSO Act Considering the evidence on record, it is sufficient to come to the conclusion that the accused was present on the spot and he has hugged minor victim girl and touched her buttocks, with sexual intent and had a physical contact with the victim girl and thereby committed offence of sexual assault. The prosecution has brought on record sufficient evidence to prove that the accused has committed offence punishable under section 354 and 354-A of Indian Penal Code” the order stated.

The advocate for the accused had pleaded for leniency in punishment while submitting that the accused had the responsibility of his family and was in a poor financial condition as he sold toothbrushes.

On the other hand, the Special Public Prosecutor had submitted that the offence was of serious nature and therefore maximum punishment should be imposed.

After considering all the arguments, court sentenced the accused to 5 years in prison while allowing the period that he had spent in jail during investigation to be set off.

Case Title: State of Maharashtra vs Santosh Gunaji Jadhav