A 10-year-old mentally challenged girl was having lunch in her hut near Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology, Guindy, at 4 pm on May 20, 2013.
A 55-year-old man, working as a chef in a canteen, gained entry into the hut and attempted to misbehave with the girl, who was studying class 6. Covering her mouth with his hand, C. Karuppiah, the accused, forcefully laid himself on her. Unable to withstand the pain and agony, she raised alarm and screamed for help. Barely a year-and-a-half later, Karuppiah has been convicted to five years of rigorous imprisonment and told to pay a fine of Rs 7,000.
Based on the complaint of the girl’s father, the police registered a case against Karuppiah under section 354 (assault/criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of IPC and sections 7 and 8 (whoever commits sexual assault against child, shall be punished with imprisonment of either for a term not less than three years to five years and shall be liable to fine) of Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act). He was arrested and detained in prison.
The father of the victim, a mason, left his two daughters and a son with a relative in his native village. As the victim has been mentally affected, her parents kept along with them in the hut. They had been residing in the place for nearly two decades.
The case was transferred to mahila court from IX metropolitan magistrate court, Saidapet. As many as 15 persons deposed before the mahila court which perused over nine documents.
Deposing before the court, witness Sankar submitted that he was sitting under a tree near the house along with the victim’s father. As they were thirsty, they went towards the house and found Karuppiah emerge from the hut. Hearing the girl scream, a local rushed and caught Karuppiah.
Sessions judge Meena Sathish said the prosecution proved the case beyond doubt. Hence, the court sentenced the accused to one year for committing offence under section 354 IPC and five years RI under sections 7 and 8 of POCSO Act.
Special public prosecutor Gowri Asokan said for the first time in Chennai, the court had convicted a person under POCSO Act.
She said the Act prescribes stringent punishment graded as per the gravity of the offence - with a maximum term of RI for life, and fine.
In this, case, the victim, a mentally retarded minor girl, appeared before the court and identified the accused by pointing her finger at him.
Source : Deccan Chronicle , 28th Nov 2014