The Delhi High Court has upheld the six-year jail term awarded to a Muslim cleric for sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl, saying great faith and trust is reposed in a ‘maulvi’ who teaches others the tenets of holy Quran and is looked up to with reverence.
The high court refused to either set aside his conviction or reduce the sentence, stressing he does not deserve any indulgence as the convict held a position of great trust and faith which he breached by sexually assaulting a gullible girl child.
“It is established that the appellant/accused (cleric) sexually assaulted the victim, who was six years of age at the time of the incident.
“Thus, I find no infirmity in the judgment of the trial court in concluding that the appellant is guilty of aggravated sexual assault in terms of Section 9 (m) POCSO Act, which is punishable under Section 10 POCSO Act and convicting the appellant under Section 354 (molestation) IPC and Section 10 POCSO Act,” Justice Poonam A Bamba said while dismissing the convict’s appeal.
Dealing with the convict’s alternative prayer of reduction in sentence to the period he has already been incarcerated, that is two-and-a-half years, the high court said, “It may be mentioned that the appellant is a maulvi/ hafiz, who taught Quran Sharif and Kayda’ (basics to beginners) to the victim”.
“A great faith and trust is reposed in the maulvi/ hafiz, who teaches to others, the tenets of the holy Quran and is looked up to, with reverence.
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“Thus, the appellant held a position of great trust and faith, which he breached by sexually assaulting the victim, a gullible girl child of six years of age. Thus, the appellant does not deserve any indulgence in this regard,” it said.
The convict had challenged the trial court’s January 2021 judgment by which he was sentenced to six years imprisonment.
Seeking a reduction of sentence, he had submitted that he has four minor children and a wife to look after and has clean antecedents with good conduct in jail.
The incident took place in Delhi’s Burari area in September 2016 and a complaint was given to the police by the girl’s family that she has been sexually assaulted by him.
The child, who used to go to the man’s house for learning Kayda’, had informed her mother about the incident and was medically examined at a hospital.
The cleric denied the allegations and claimed that he has been falsely implicated in this case as 15 days prior to the incident, an altercation took place between him and the father of the victim after some water had sprinkled on the latter’s cot when the appellant was watering plants.