An octogenarian couple, who had earlier been sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for committing sexual offences and thereby inflicting harm on their four year old neighbour, has been granted bail by the Bombay High Court on the ground of “inconsistency in evidence.”
The punishment was sentenced to them under the provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was enacted in 2012 and the matter was heard by Justice Revati Mohite Dere, the case being Ashwin Parikh v. State of Maharashtra.
The judgement that was delivered by the Hon’ble Court on the 8th of April, 2021, released the couple with the terms:
(i) “The Applicants be released on cash bail in the sum of Rs.25,000/- each, for a period of six weeks;
(ii) The Applicants shall within the said period of six weeks, furnish P.R. Bond in the sum of Rs.25,000/- each, with one or more sureties in the like amount.”
A couple in Maharashtra, who are of the age 81 and 87 years, had been sentenced to a sentence of 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1,000 by a Special Judge under provisions of Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 vide an order dated 11th March, 2021.
The couple was also charged with offences under Section 354 read with Section 4 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4 of the POCSO Act, but they were acquitted for the same.
Also, even though the couple was proved to have committed the offences of rape under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, but vide the provisions of Section 42 of the POCSO Act, no separate sentence was awarded for such conviction.
The petitioner approached the High Court of Bombay in order to “seek suspension of their sentence and enlargement on bail, pending the hearing and final disposal of their appeal.”
The learned Advocate Dinesh Tiwari, representing the octogenarian couple who had been earlier convicted of sexually assaulting a four year old neighbour, stated that “the allegations against the applicants, aged 87 and 81 years respectively (husband and wife) are false and baseless. He submits that the evidence on record will show the falsity of the case.”
The Advocate also brought to the attention of the court that the charge of the offences of inappropriate touching brought against the elderly couple related to offences committed by the couple, were only brought against the husband Ashwin Kumar. There was reportedly no charge of such nature instituted against the 81 year old woman, Vimlaben.
The counsel for the applicants further contended that the false allegations with fabricated evidence was brought on the octogenarian couple so that the complainants could take over the house of such elderly couple.
The counsel for the octogenarian couple further pointed out the inconsistencies and omissions with respect to the evidences and witnesses in the instant case, and argued that the Hon’ble Court should consider granting of the prayer of releasing the couple on bail.
The counsel further cited earlier instances of conduct of the couple and argued that “The applicants, aged 87 and 81 years respectively were on bail pending trial and have not abused or misused the liberty granted to them. Prima facie, having considered the evidence on record, the applicants have made out a case for suspending their sentence and enlargement on bail.”
Considering the arguments and contentions of both the parties, the Hon’ble Court granted the bail of the couple and suspended the erstwhile sentence of the Special Judge under the provisions of POCSO Act, 2012.
The couple was released on bail on the deposit of a cash bail of Rs. 25,000 for a period of six weeks.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION REGARDING THE STANCE OF THE BOMBAY HIGH COURT REGARDING THE GRANT OF BAIL ON OFFENCE RELATED TO POCSO ACT? DO YOU THINK AGE SHOULD BE OF CONSIDERATION FOR THE DECISION OF THE COURT FOR SEXUAL OFFENCES? DO LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!