Old Age No Ground For Token Sentence In Sexual Offence: Delhi Court

The court, which was dealing with a case where a six-year-old girl was molested by her 61-year-old neighbour.

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Old Age No Ground For Token Sentence In Sexual Offence: Delhi Court

The man was sentenced to six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 30,000.

New Delhi:  Old age cannot be a factor for awarding token jail sentence in a sexual offence case, a Delhi court has said. The court, which was dealing with a case where a six-year-old girl was molested by her 61-year-old neighbour, said a token sentence, which is awarded just for the sake of punishment, will not fit in the offence of sexual assault.

Old age and clean antecedents can, at the best, be relevant for reducing the punishment but not a ground to allow a convict walk free after serving a token punishment, like sentenced till the rising of the court or the end of the day's working hours, the judge said.

"No doubt, the old age and clean antecedents of the appellant are relevant factors to determine the quantum of sentence, but considering the fact that the appellant had outraged the modesty of a minor child, I am of the considered opinion that the plea is not sufficient to impose the token sentence, but certainly relevant to reduce the sentence," Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain said.

The judge upheld the conviction of Anil Prakash, a resident of northwest Delhi, on the testimony of the mother.

"I am of the considered opinion that the testimony of the mother is sufficient to bring home the guilt of appellant for the offence punishable under IPC," the court said.

The court, however, reduced his sentence from two years to six months of rigorous imprisonment considering the fact that the convict had been facing trial for seven years. It also directed him to pay Rs 30,000 to the child.

According to the prosecution, the child went missing from her home on August 12, 2010. While looking for the child, her mother went to her neighbour Prakash's house where she said that she found the man inappropriately touching her daughter. The man fled the spot and the woman lodged a complaint with the police, following which he was apprehended.

The man claimed in his appeal that he was falsely implicated in the case as the child's father allegedly owed him Rs 10,000. The magisterial court, after considering the evidence and the deposition of the child, had convicted the man to two years of jail and a fine of Rs 40,000.

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