Punishment for sexual abuse of a child is cognisable: HC
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Vujjini Vamshidhar
Hyderabad: Justice K. Surender of Telangana High Court made it clear that offences under Section 11 of Pocso Act (a person is said to commit sexual harassment like making gestures, utter words or any sounds upon a child with sexual intent) was cognisable and non-bailable. Punishment for such an offence is up to three years with a fine.
Actually, if an offence under IPC is punishable with imprisonment of less than three years or only with a fine then it is made non-cognisable and bailable and can be tried by any magistrate.
Mentioning the same, a government teacher D. Bhaskar, who was accused of harassing a girl student in his school, approached the High Court requesting it to quash the proceedings against him. He contended that the magistrate had not ordered investigation and the chargesheet filed by the police in the case was liable to be quashed.
Counsel for the petitioner submitted that in accordance with Part II of First Schedule of Code of Criminal Procedure, the offence was non-cognisable and taking cognisance of an offence is bad in law, without prior permission from a magistrate to investigate.
He cited the judgment of the Supreme Court in ‘State of Haryana v Bhajan Lal’, where in the apex court held that when the allegations constitute only non-cognisable offence, no police investigation is permitted without an order of the magistrate as required under Section 155 (2) of the CrPC.
Justice Surender did not agree with the arguments of counsel and recalled the observations of the Supreme Court in ‘M/s. Knit Pro International v State of NCT of Delhi and another’, which held that Section 63 of the Copyright Act 1957 prescribed that a maximum sentence of three years was cognisable and a non-bailable offence.