A special court in Mumbai has sentenced a 32-year-old man to three years in jail for sexually assaulting a student, also a Marathi serial actress, while she was boarding a local train in Dadar.
The court said these incidents showed girls were not safe "even when they are surrounded by many people".
Special Judge Priya Bankar found the man guilty under section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant provisions of the POCSO Act on Wednesday. The detailed order was made available on Thursday.
Noting the incident took place in a very crowded area, the judge in her order said, "There is a very adverse impact of the incident on the victim girl, on her family members and society. Such type of incident causes alarm in the minds of people and shows girls are not safe in society even when they are surrounded by many people." As per the prosecution, the incident took place in 2019 and the victim was 16 years old at the time and was studying in Class XII.
The victim told court she used to act in Marathi serials and would go to suburban Goregaon from Thane for shooting.
The incident took place when she was boarding a train for Thane from Dadar.
The accused strongly disputed the oral evidence of victim about sexual assault on various grounds, and even accused her of not producing an identity card needed to enter Film City in Goregaon.
The court, however, said there was no evidence to discard her oral testimony that she was an actress and used to go to Film City for shooting.
The court added it was a reason for her to travel by train at the relevant time and that it did not directly relate to the incident.
The accused also tried to dispute the entire incident on the ground there was no need for her to board the general compartment when there were coaches earmarked for women.
The judge said there were separate coaches for women but it did not restrict or prohibit their entry into general coaches like any other passenger.
Besides, at the relevant time, the victim was travelling with a male friend, and there was nothing abnormal about her boarding a general compartment, the court order observed.
The court held the prosecution had proved the accused has committed the offence of outraging her modesty and sexually assaulting her by making "physical contact with advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures".
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