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Minimal penetration even if there is no outward sign of harm will be equivalent to rape: High Court of Meghalaya 

The Meghalaya High Court upheld the conviction of a man for raping a seven-year-old girl on the grounds that, in accordance with Section 5(m) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, even the slightest penetration of a male sexual organ inside a vagina constitutes an aggravating penetrative sexual assault.

“As because the investigative agency not has been alert would not require case made proven against the appellant to be thrown out on such count,” the Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W. Diengdoh mentioned.

The mother of the victim filed the FIR in this instance. According to the mother, the appellant sexually assaulted her daughter, who was seven and a half years old. The survivor alleged that the appellant’s penis had invaded her vagina and that there was ejaculation in her private areas, the medical examiner noted in the report.

According to the medical examiner’s assessment in the report, there were indications of recent vaginal penetration. The appellant was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in solitary confinement with a fine of Rs. 10,000 under Section 5(m) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act of 2012.

The Trial Court had sentenced the accused-appellant to 15 years of hard labour for aggravating penetrative sexual assault. Given that he was 60 years old at the time of the occurrence, the accused filed a motion with the High Court arguing that he was not medically evaluated to determine whether or not he was capable of engaging in sexual activity.

The accused report claiming that the survivor was sexually attacked would not cover the time of the incident because the survivor’s medical examination was done more than 24 hours after the alleged incident.

According to the Court, “Penetrative sexual assault does not require deep or complete penetration for applicable law. The smallest amount of penetration would be sufficient. The appellant’s allegation that examination of survivor took place many hours after the alleged occurrence has no substance, especially given that the young witness reported the incident happened at or after 5 p.m. on March 2, 2018, and the survivor was examined at or around 4:30 p.m. on March 3, 2018.

Given the age attributed to the appellant at the time of the offence, it is true that the appellant should have undergone a medical examination to determine if he was capable of sustaining an erection. However, the case brought against the appellant need not be dismissed on this basis solely because the investigative agency may not have been aware. 

The High Court noted that the trial court’s assessment of the occurrence was based on the oral evidence that was offered during the trial and in the context of the previous statements that were recorded in accordance with Section 164 of the Code.

The trial court’s determination that the appellant had sexually abused the juvenile survivor was shown beyond a reasonable doubt to be justified.

A similar case was upheld by the Division Bench of Sikkim composed of Justices Bhaskar Roi Pradhan and Meenakshi Madon Rai, who stated, “Penetration to any amount is sufficient to constitute rope under the IPC and penetrative sexual assault under the POCSO Act.”

The victim’s testimony makes it obvious that the appellant had placed his penis into her vagina in a definite, consistent manner.

Keywords: Meghalaya High Court, POSCO Act, penetration, rape, Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee, sexual assault, medical examination, reasonable doubt.

Ahir Mitra
Ahir Mitra

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