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Panaji: A division bench of the high court of Bombay at Goa upheld the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment imposed by a trial court on a father for grave sexual assault and rape of his minor daughter.
"This is a case where it is impossible to show any leniency to the accused," division bench judges AS Oka and FM Reis. The court observed that it is dealing with a very serious sexual offence committed by the father against his own minor daughter who had no protection of her mother.
Following a complaint that the accused raped and sexually assaulted his 17-year-old daughter at his residence for a period of five years, the Maina Curtorim police had registered the case on August 5, 2007. The matter came to light when the minor daughter gave birth to a baby girl.
Appearing on behalf of the accused, advocate Nigel Costa de Frias submitted in the court that the minor was more than 16 years old on the date on which the alleged offence was committed. Pointing out that till August 5, 2007, she never disclosed the alleged sexual intercourse by her father to anyone, Frias stated the girl's conduct shows that she had consented to sexual intercourse. However, public prosecutor C A Ferreira submitted that this is not a case where the consent on the part of the minor is established. He said that the father was in fiduciary capacity of the minor, and so theminorcould not make any grievance against her father. Ferreira also pointed out that the results of the DNA tests show that the accused is the biological father of the child born to the minor.The court observed that though it is true that there is a delay in lodging the FIR, but in the present case "we are dealing with the allegation of sexual offence committed by the appellant against his own daughter". "For such an offence, the delay, by itself, is not fatal," the division bench noted.The court observed that the failure of the victim to disclose the "deplorable conduct on the part of her own father to her several friends and others is consistent with the natural course of conduct of women in India".
It further noted that the minor had no support of her mother, and reluctance on the part of the minor to disclose such incidents can be justified considering the tradition bound non-permissive society in which the minor is living.