Mumbai: A special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court has sentenced a 35-year-old taxi driver to one year’s imprisonment and a fine of ₹10,000 for allegedly flashing a 15-year-old girl in 2016.
“In cases where the children are victimised, the accused need to be dealt with stern hands. The accused cannot be shown much leniency for the reason that his family is dependent upon him,” said special POCSO judge Bharti Kale, sentencing the taxi driver, Sukhdev Tilak Sav, a resident of Grant Road.
Sav was sentenced under section 12 of the POCSO Act (punishment for sexual harassment) and section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.
The victim was 15-year-old student at the time of the incident.
“Young girls need to travel for pursuing their education. Such offences create fear and disgust in the minds of children for no fault of theirs. The victim has categorically stated that she felt ashamed and angry due to the acts committed by the accused,” the court added.
According to special public prosecutor Sulbha Joshi, the incident took place on December 15, 2016, when the girl had taken a taxi to travel to Charni Road for her tuition classes early in the morning.
When she was paying the taxi fare, the accused flashed her, following which she informed her parents about the incident and subsequently lodged a police complaint the next day.
Through CCTV, the accused was traced and later arrested in the case. Joshi said Sav had got bail on January 21, 2017.
The SPP further stated that the evidence on record reflected that the accused had caused sexual harassment to the victim and hence he is liable to be convicted.
The advocate for the accused claimed that he was falsely implicated in the case because there was a dispute between him and the victim over payment of fare and there was no evidence to show that the accused flashed at the victim, therefore he deserved to be acquitted.
The special court, however, believed the girl’s testimony and held that there was cogent evidence on record to show that the accused had sexually harassed her and the girl had immediately confided with her parents.
“I am not ready to accept that due to quarrel the accused has been falsely implicated. It is beyond the comprehension of a prudent man that a girl for such reason will go to the extent of falsely implicating an unknown person,” said the court, holding him guilty.