27-year-old gets 10-year jail term for sex with minor | Mumbai news

Mumbai: A special court recently sentenced a 27-year-old man to ten years imprisonment in a case filed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for maintaining a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl who had run away from her house after a fight with her mother.

Though the accused was married and his wife and others were at his native place in Jharkhand, he claimed that the girl was his “girlfriend” and their relationship was consensual.

The special court rejected his contention and convicted him, observing that the consent given by a minor has no place in the eyes of law.

The Nehru Nagar police in Kurla had booked Sonu Karmali (27) based on a complaint lodged by the father of the minor on June 2, 2019, after she went missing. The girl was later brought to the police station on June 18, 2019, by Jharkhand police.

According to the prosecution case, the girl was studying in the eighth standard and used to attend tuition classes in the nearby vicinity. Opposite to the classes, there was a hotel and the accused worked there. It was stated that the girl came in contact with the accused at the hotel and the two exchanged their mobile numbers.

In her statement, she claimed that she had a fight with her mother on June 2, 2019, and had left the house due to that and went to meet the accused whom she referred to as her “boyfriend.” The two went to the house of Karmali’s friend in Vashi. Next day they went to Chembur where the girl sold her gold chain and the two watched a movie and went to Kolhapur, Ganpatipule in Konkan. After this, the accused took her to his native place in Jharkhand. The girl claimed that all this while, the two had physical relations on several occasions.

Upon reaching Karmali’s house in Jharkhand, the girl came to know that he was married and his wife had already lodged a case against him. After she approached the local police, the Jharkhand police took custody of the teenager and brought her to Mumbai.

During the trial, public prosecutor Pranjali Joshi examined six witnesses, which included the survivor, her father, a medical officer and the investigating officers of the case, to prove the case against Karmali.

Defence lawyer Anjali Patil, on the other hand, contended that the relationship between the two was consensual and that the girl had on her own volition left the house of her parents and joined the accused.

The special court rejected the contention. “She being a child, as contemplated under Section 2(d) of POCSO Act, giving consent by a child has no place in the eye of law. Contrary it amounts to an admission that at the relevant time, date and place the accused committed rape on child,” said the court and sentenced him to ten years imprisonment.

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