The Bombay High Court recently directed an accused to compensate his child born ought of sexual assault committed on the deceased victim, holding that the welfare of the child is of paramount importance..A Bench of Justices Sadhana S Jadhav and Prithwiraj K Chavan also reduced the sentence to the accused-appellant from life sentence to 10 years after noting that no purpose would be served in detaining him. The appellant, Ramesh Vavekar was convicted for life in a case of rape of a minor under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. life sentence of a DJ convicted of raping and impregnating a minor. "Looking to (sic) the young age of the appellant and his future prospects in his profession as a Disc Jockey as well as the fact of his willingness to provide adequate compensation to the child, we are of the considered view that, no fruitful purpose would be served in detaining the appellant for his entire life, instead, if the amount of compensation to be awarded to the child, is adequate, it would serve the ends of justice," the Court said.The High Court was hearing an appeal by the accused against an order of a special POCSO Court that sentenced him to imprisonment along with a fine. The Special Court had relied on DNA sampling evidence and other documents to hold the accused guilty.By way of background, the deceased aged 17 years was discovered to be pregnant by her mother and sister. She later died after giving birth to a baby boy. The accused was later apprehended the convict based on call record details of mobiles phones of the accused and the victim as well as witness statements which revealed that the accused was intimate with the deceased.He was charged and tried for offences under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 4 of the POCSO Act. The special judge trying cases under POCSO Act found him guilty and sentenced him to imprisonment for life..On appeal to the High Court, the primary contention of appellant's advocate was that the victim was not a minor during the incident, as evidenced by the fact that she was born in the month of January 1996, implying that she was 19 years old at the time..He claimed that the mother of the victim herself deposed that her daughter was born in January 1996 and therefore, prayed for setting aside the judgment of conviction and acquittal of the appellant of the charges for which he had been convicted and sentenced by the Special Judge..The High Court was of the opinion that the mother of the victim, along with other prosecution witnesses had been won over by the defence for reasons best known to them. It noted that the age of the victim was proved beyond all doubt based on her school-leaving certificate, as per which she was roughly 14-years-old when the incident had occurred..The prosecution argued that given the nature of the evidence, there was no doubt that the appellant committed penetrative aggravated sexual assault on the victim and impregnated her which ultimately resulted in her death. She asserted that this was not a case where a lenient view could be afforded, and that a strong message is required to be given in such cases..The Court agreed that it had been established beyond doubt that the victim was a child when she was subjected to not only aggravated penetrative sexual assault by the appellant, but was also impregnated as a consequence of such sexual assault.“The appellant had taken undue malefit (sic) of the tender age of the victim by seducing her for his amorous sexual lust resulting into not only impregnating by committing aggravate penetrative sexual assault but is also responsible for her untimely death and in addition to that permanently abandoned his own child at the mercy of an orphanage,” the order added..The appellant's attorney then urged the Court to be lenient due to the appellant's young age and expressed him and his family's readiness to offer sufficient compensation to the child.The Bench observed that although the trial court convicted the appellant under Section 4 of the POCSO Act, it did not award any compensation that ought to have been awarded by it.The Court therefore maintained the appellant’s conviction under Section 4 but reduced his sentence to 10 years along with a direction to him to pay ₹2 lakh towards compensation for the welfare of the child..Advocate Aashay Topiwala instructed by Anjali Patil appeared for the appellant.Additional Public Prosecutor SV Sonawane and advocate Priya Patil appeared for the respondent State and the victim respectively.