The Bombay High Court on Thursday upheld the ten years of rigorous imprisonment handed down to warden a 24-year-old in-charge of Pune-based a boarding school for sexually assaulting students and indulging in unnatural sex.
Three students staying at a hostel run by run by Sant Nivrutti Maharaj Ashram had filed a complaint against Bansidhar Annasaheb Haridas Ghumare for sexually assaulting them from 2013 to March 2014.
Ghumare in his defence claimed he was falsely implicated because the students were fed up of the discipline instilled by him at the hostel, and they wanted to leave.
To this Justice AM Badar replied saying, “In such situation, it is hardly impossible to believe that just because the victims were fed up with staying in the Boarding House, they would make such a serious allegation against the accused.”
The court also refused to accept Ghumare’s argument that there was a considerable delay in filing the complaint. It said, “It is common knowledge and also a judicially noted fact that incidents like sodomy on children more so when perpetrators of the crime happens to be the in charge of the boarding house involves honour of the families of the victims as well as the victims. Therefore there is reluctance to report the matter. Thus it cannot be said that there is inordinate delay in lodging the FIR.”
The court said that in a rural set up, sodomisation is more than a crime, it is a taboo. Such instances instil a sense of shame and cast-based stigma on the victims,” the High Court observed.
The accused had denied the charges while the prosecution examined six witnesses to bring home the guilt of the accused.
The HC held the trial court’s conviction of Ghumare and sentenced him to suffer imprisonment under section 377 (unnatural sex), 506 (criminal intimidation) and various sections of Prevention of Children from Sexual offences.