POCSO Act- New charge can be added during criminal trial: HC
Bengaluru: The High Court of Karnataka has held that a new charge under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act can be added to a criminal trial by the order of a Sessions Court judge.
A man, facing charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for offences of procuration of a minor girl, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy, had challenged the II Additional District and Sessions Judge, Kolar, allowing the additional charge under Section 7 of the POCSO Act before the High Court.
The High Court dismissed his petition saying no fault can be found with the order of the concerned court .
The prosecution had sought the alteration of charge for addition of offence under POCSO, under Section 216 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which is proper, the High Court said.
Section 7 of POCSO Act deals with the acts of touching specific sexual parts of minors with sexual intent. It also deals with any other act’ done with sexual intent which involves physical contact but without penetration.
During the trial, the victim had testified that the accused had touched inappropriate places of her body leading the prosecution to seek adding the charge under POCSO Act.
The victim was going to school on December 1, 2016 when the accused on a bike offered to drop her at school. But, along with two other accused, he kidnapped her to get her married to the fourth accused.
The girl escaped from their custody and a complaint was filed with the police. The accused, along with others, were charged under the IPC.
During the trial, based on the statements made by the girl, the prosecution sought the alteration of the charge and inclusion of offence punishable under POCSO Act as well. The Sessions Judge allowed the addition on December 12, 2021.
The petition challenging the Sessions Judge order was recently dismissed by the Single Judge Bench of the High Court Justice M Nagaprasanna.