The District Additional Sessions Court has sentenced a 48-year-old man to life imprisonment until death for raping a four-year-old child belonging to a tribal community here.
This may be the first case in the State to be completed and sentenced after an amendment was brought in to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in April 2018.
Judge P.S. Sasi Kumar awarded the sentence to V.S. Raveendran, a resident of Sankaranmpadi in Kasaragod, who was charged under Sections 376AB of the Indian Penal Code. The Section stipulates that Whoever, commits rape on a woman under twelve years of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person's natural life, and with fine or with death.
The court also ordered the culprit to pay a fine of 25,000 and, if he failed, he must serve another two years, lawyer Prakash Amamannaya, who appeared for prosecution, said.
Mr. Amamannaya said the incident happened on October 9 last year when the four-year-old child was playing in the backyard of her house. The accused, a security guard, took her into the house and raped her. The mother of the child approached the police after the child narrated the incident.
The verdict in the case has come following an investigation by Dy.SP Harishchandra Naik K., who found that the accused raped the child on two other occasions as well.
The court gave the verdict after a month-long trial, he added. As many as 513 POCSO cases were registered between 2013 to 2019 in Kasaragod. Of these, punishment was awarded in 58 cases and the accused were acquitted in 142 cases. As many as 23 cases were dismissed.
The highest number of cases were registered in 2018 while 173 cases has been registered until October 31 this year.