Rapist nailed by cognitively challenged, speech-impaired girl; gets life sentence

    The Hawk
    June29/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    The victim, who cannot speak, used sign language to communicate her ordeal during the trial.

    Representative Image

    Palghar: The deposition by an intellectually challenged 16-year-old girl, who also cannot speak, using sign language led to the conviction of her rapist in Maharashtra’s Palghar district.

    A special court in Vasai that hears cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act on Friday sentenced the convict, a 48-year-old labourer, to life imprisonment.

    In his order, Special POCSO Judge S V Kongal also fined convict Sanehi Shrikisan Gaud Rs 10,000.

    During the trial, Special Public Prosecutor Jayprakash Patil told the court that Gaud raped the girl, who lived in his neighbourhood, in January 2017 when there was nobody in her house.

    The child later narrated the sexual assault to her mother through gestures, prompting her family to file a police complaint against Gaud, who is married and has two children.

    Patil said nine prosecution witnesses, including the survivor who communicated through sign language, testified in the court.

    The court said the girl has moderate intellectual disability and she cannot understand “good-bad, right-wrongs of the crime, which makes the act a serious one”.

    “Considering the nature of offence, I am of the view that maximum sentence will have to be awarded to the accused,” said the judge in his order awarding life sentence to Gaud.