The Bombay High Court recently granted bail to the an octogenarian couple convicted under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for alleged sexual assault of a 4-year-old child in their building (Ashwin Parikh v. State of Maharashtra).
Justice Revati Mohite-Dere granted bail observing that there are certain inconsistencies and omissions that have come on record in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses.
The Court suspended the sentence of 10 years imprisonment handed down by the Special POCSO Court.
In March 2021, a Special POCSO Court had convicted Ashwin Parikh (87) and Vimlaben Parikh (81) and sentenced them to imprisonment for ten years.
The couple had moved the High Court assailing the verdict. They sought suspension of sentence and release on bail till the pendency of the appeal.
Advocate Dinesh Tiwari appearing for the applicants submitted that the allegations against the applicants are false and baseless.
He contended that the victim had made allegations against Ashwin but nothing against Vimlaben.
According to him the reason for falsely implicating the applicants was for taking over the house of the applicants, in which they are staying.
The Additional Public Prosecutor SV Sonawane opposed the plea.
“The applicants, aged 87 and 81 years respectively were on bail pending trial and have not abused or misused the liberty granted to them. Prima facie, having considered the evidence on record, the applicants have made out a case for suspending their sentence and enlargement on bail,” Justice Dere noted while proceeding to allow the application.
She directed the couple to deposit cash bail of Rs. 25,000 each for a period of six weeks in order to secure bail and suspended the sentence.