Delhi High Court Acquits Man in POCSO Case, Stresses Impact of False Accusations on Social Stigma

Delhi HC acquits man in POCSO case, stressing social stigma on falsely accused. Ruling questions trial's reliance on legal presumptions.

Delhi High Court, in a significant ruling, acquitted a man accused in a POCSO case due to "serious flaws and gaps" in the prosecution's case. Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta emphasized the enduring social stigma faced by falsely accused child abusers, asserting it's more agonizing than trial and imprisonment.

The court highlighted that while a wrongful acquittal erodes public confidence, a wrongful conviction inflicts even greater harm. The case pertained to an appeal by a man convicted under IPC and POCSO Act for criminal intimidation and aggravated sexual assault, respectively.

The appellant was sentenced to five years in prison, fined Rs. 4,000, and ordered to pay Rs. 20,000 compensation to the victim. However, the court allowed the appeal, citing inconsistencies in the victim's statements and her refusal for medical examination.

Critically, the court questioned the trial court's reliance on legal presumptions under POCSO, noting the absence of foundational facts proven beyond reasonable doubt. Legal representatives included Mr. Nagendra Kasana, Mr. Aditya Sharma, Ms. Palak, and Mr. Rajesh R. Rathod for the appellant, and Ms. Meenakshi Dahiya for the state, with Mr. Bir Singh and Mr. Ravi Nirvan representing the victim.