A delay of two days in lodging a First Information Report (FIR) in a case of sexual assault under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) cannot be a ground to doubt the allegations, the Bombay High Court recently said [Ramkrshna S Kumbhar vs State of Maharashtra and Anr].
Justice NR Borkar said that survivors of sexual assault are generally reluctant to go to police stations to lodge FIRs, and therefore, the case of the prosecution could not be doubted.
"In a case like this, i.e., of outraging the modesty of minor girl or sexual assault there is always reluctance to go to the police station and to lodge the report. In my view, the case of the prosecution, therefore, cannot be doubted just because there is delay of two days in lodging the report," the Court stated.
The Court, therefore, rejected the anticipatory bail plea of a man accused of sexually assaulting a minor.
The FIR was registered against the accused, an employee at a food stall, by his employer alleging that he sexually assaulted her daughter by inappropriately touching her when both of them had gone to purchase grocery for the shop.
A case was registered under Sections 354 (outraging modesty of a woman) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 7 (sexual assault) and 11 (sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Counsel for the applicant highlighted the delay of two days in filing the FIR and said that a false complaint was registered against him in order to settle scores over a dispute regarding sharing profits of the shop.
He further stated that nothing was left to be recovered from him and hence his custody was not necessary for interrogation. Therefore, he prayed for anticipatory bail.
On the other hand, Assistant Public Prosecutor PH Gaikwad-Patil opposed the application stating that the offence of sexual assault was of serious nature.
The Court held that prima facie, the defense of the accused that the report was false was not probable.
Hence, it rejected the application and refused to grant anticipatory bail to the accused.
Advocate Satyavrat Joshi instructed by advocate Ashish S Vernekar appeared for the accused.