A court in Maharashtra's Thane has observed that a minor's consent is "no consent in the eyes of law" while awarding seven years' rigorous imprisonment to a 31-year-old man for raping a teenaged girl in 2015.
District Judge P P Jadhav, in his order issued on September 12, also sentenced the accused, Devendra Gupta, to one-year rigorous imprisonment for house trespass. Both the sentences will run concurrently, the court said.
According to the prosecution, the incident took place on October 2, 2015, when the victim, then aged 16 years and studying in Class 11, was alone at her home in Kajuwadi locality here as her parents and brother had gone out.
While the girl was cooking food, the accused, a resident of the same locality, sneaked into the house, latched the door, gagged the victim and raped her.
When the victim's mother knocked on the door, the accused got scared and tried to hide himself in the house. The victim opened the door and narrated the incident to her mother.
In the meantime, their neighbours also gathered and caught hold of the accused and thrashed him, but he managed to escape, the prosecution said.
The victim along with her parents then went to the Vartak Nagar police station and filed a complaint against the accused who was subsequently arrested, the prosecution said.
Judge Jadhav said it has come to light that even prior to this incident, the accused had sexual intercourse with the minor girl, who was unaware of the consequences.
"Under such circumstances, considering the age of the victim, her consent is no consent in the eyes of law," the judge observed.
It is clear that the accused entered the victim's house with an ulterior motive and sexually assaulted her, he said, while pronouncing him guilty on charges of rape and house trespass, and relevant provisions of the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on the accused.