A man convicted of raping his 15-year-old student who took tuitions from him has been acquitted by the Bombay high court.
A rape victim’s evidence stands on a higher pedestal than that of an injured victim, the court held.
The prosecution was unable to prove that the alleged victim was under 18 at the time of the incident and the relationship between the two was consensual, said Justice A.M. Badar.
The appeal of one Pramod Jadhav (34), currently lodged in Nashik jail, against the February 16, 2015, judgment of an Additional Sessions Judge, Nashik, convicting Jadhav under Section 376 of the IPC and Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and sentencing him to 10 years and 7 years in prison, respectively, with both sentences to run concurrently, was allowed by the court.
The victim, a school going girl studying in the ninth standard at Janata Vidyalaya, Dindori, was 15 years old on the day of the incident i.e. 23 December, 2013.
She used to take tuition classes from Jadhav who was staying in the same neighbourhood.
According to the prosecution, the victim developed feelings for Jadhav and slowly, it turned into a love affair between the two of them.
On 23 December, 2013, the victim left her parental home under the pretext of going to school but instead went to Nashik to see Jadhav.
Apparently, the victim threatened suicide if the accused did not run away with her. The two later went to Surat where they had sexual relations.
The victim’s father lodged a missing persons’ complaint after a search for his daughter went in vain. He realized that Jadhav too had gone missing and filed a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the Indian Penal Code.
The couple was brought back to Dindori and Jadhav was charged for rape and eventually convicted. According to Jadhav’s lawyer, the victim’s evidence was entirely unreliable and she discredited herself by the statement given to the investigating officer. He further argued that the prosecution had failed to prove the age of the alleged victim.
The court, after hearing both sides, allowed the accused’s appeal.