Thane Court Acquits Man in 2013 Molestation Case Citing Lack of Evidence

A Thane district court in Maharashtra has acquitted a 52-year-old auto-rickshaw driver previously charged with the molestation of a minor girl in 2013. The Special POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) court judge, V A Patravale, ruled on May 8 that the prosecution had failed to substantiate the charges, necessitating giving the benefit of the doubt to the accused.

The case dates back to when the victim, then 13 years old, alleged that the auto-rickshaw driver, who regularly transported her to school, had touched her inappropriately and threatened her against informing her parents. Her complaint led to the registration of a police case under Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act, which addresses sexual offenses against children.

During the trial, the court noted a pivotal moment when the victim did not corroborate the prosecution’s assertions, which led to permission being granted to the prosecutor to pose leading questions. Nonetheless, the victim’s responses remained unaligned with the prosecution’s narrative.

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Judge Patravale highlighted the absence of definitive evidence against the accused, leading to his acquittal. The court’s decision has brought an end to a legal battle spanning nearly a decade, emphasizing the challenges in proving cases of sexual misconduct, especially when reliant on the testimony of young victims.

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