“Incidents like these create fear in the minds of underage girls”: Mumbai court sends BEST driver to jail for harassing 13-year-old girl
Upon conviction of a bus driver in Mumbai for sexually harassing an underage girl, a special court observed that such incidents hamper a girl’s progress because they create fear in their mind.
The court last week sentenced a 54-year-old Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) bus driver to one year in prison for sexual harassment of a 13-year-old girl in 2018.
“In this case, the victim was 13 years old at the time of the incident and she regularly went to school by BEST bus. The accused was 54 years old… and he had uttered such words to the victim which scared him and she even refused to take the bus. These kinds of incidents hamper a girl’s progress because it creates fear in their minds while carrying out their activities, ”the special court said in its detailed order which was made available this week.
The victim, in her testimony, told the court that when she returned from school on July 24, 2018, the driver sat next to her and asked her if she knew anything about sex. The minor objected to his behavior and got off at his stop. The minor’s mother testified that the victim was frightened by the incident and therefore did not discuss it with her. However, a few days later, when she went to drop her off on the bus, she refused to take public transportation. A friend of the victim then disclosed the incident to his mother. Her parents took her to the bus station where she identified the accused and a complaint was filed against him.
“It is certain that such a nature of utterances is bound to have an impact on a 13-year-old girl, and the charge’s explanation that the victim was afraid seems fair and appropriate. It can be seen that the victim never confided in her family about the incident and told her friend about it. Therefore, this fact reflects fear in his mind. There is nothing in the file to show that the delay was intentional, ”the judgment read. The accused challenged the FIR saying it was dropped off more than a week after the incident.
The 54-year-old man was convicted under section 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act and section 509 (scandalous modesty) of the Indian Penal Code. He was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 20,000.