MP High Court

Prahalad Gujar v. The State Of Madhya Pradesh Station House Officer

Criminal Appeal 5599/2022

The Madhya Pradesh High Court observed that taking a 6-year-old girl to a closed room and rubbing her thigh is an act that is sufficient to gather the sexual intention of an accused. The Court dismissed the Appeal filed by an accused who was convicted under Section 363 of the IPC and Section 9(M)/10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).

The victim’s parents had lodged a report stating that their daughter was abducted by the accused from her school’s courtyard after which he took her to his home and touched the victim illegally to outrage her modesty. The victim during the deposition of her testimony had stated that the accused had rubbed his hand on her thigh, but this was not substantiated by any of the witnesses.

To this effect, the accused had argued that only on account of touching or rubbing the thigh, the presumption of sexual intention cannot be established.

A Single Bench of Justice Prem Narayan Singh observed, “In this case, the appellant took the prosecutrix and went to his closed room, therein, he took the prosecutrix in his lap and wanted to give her a bite, during that time, he was rubbing in her thigh. This act of appellant is sufficient to gather his sexual intention, hence, the contention of learned counsel for appellant regarding sexual intention is found unsubstantial.” Advocate Ritu Raj Bhatnagar represented the appellant, while GA Surendra Gupta appeared for the respondent. The appellant had further argued that the trial court had erred in passing the order of conviction and sentencing based on the contradictory evidence of prosecution. Moreover, he argued that he was falsely implicated in the case on the basis of some old animosity.

The trial court had relied on the scholar register and admission card of the school and had determined the age of the victim to be only six years. Therefore, the High Court held that the scholar register as well as admission card are sufficient to prove the age of the victim.

Secondly, the High Court stated that the appellant was “not able to controvert the aforesaid statement regarding rubbing hands on prosecutrix’s thigh.” Subsequently, the Court held, “Virtually, what constitutes to outrage female modesty is nowhere defined. The essence of a woman’s modesty is her sex. However, the culpable intention of the appellant is the crux of the matter.

The reaction of the woman is certainly relevant but its absence is not always decisive. Here, is the case of 6 years old child, hence, in order to gather the intention of the accused to outrage the modesty, the act and conduct of the appellant would be relevant.”

The Court remarked that the act and conduct of the accused were sufficient to prove the intention regarding outraging the modesty of the victim punishable under Section 354 IPC. Accordingly, the High Court affirmed the order of the trial court and dismissed the appeal.

Adv. Khanak Sharma

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