New Delhi : Delhi High Court's division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar adjourned the hearing on the appeal filed by Brajesh Thakur, who was sentenced to life term by a trial court in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, till October 1.
Challenging the decision of the trial court, Thakur in his plea before the High Court said the trial court has failed to appreciate that a case relating to rape the prosecution must first and foremost establish that an accused is potent and thereby capable of committing the alleged act.
"The said fact needs to be established by the prosecution as a foundational fact without which the entire case of the prosecution will collapse," the plea said.
"...the hurried manner in which the trial was conducted by the trial court was a violation of inter alia the right of the appellant to a free and fair trial guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India," the plea further said.
Thakur for sentenced life imprisonment by a Delhi Court in February this year after he was held guilty under Section 376 (rape), 376D (gangrape), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 120B (criminal conspiracy), and 109 (abetment) of the Indian Penal Code.
Thakur, a former Bihar People's Party legislator, was also found guilty under Section 6 and 17 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Section 75 of Juvenile Justice Act. The court, however, acquitted one accused.
The case pertains to the allegations that several girl inmates of the shelter home were sexually assaulted. Thakur heads an state-funded NGO named Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti which ran the shelter home.
The matter came to light following a audit report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
Thakur was the prime accused in the case while others were employees of his shelter home and Bihar Social Welfare Department officials.
The case was transferred from Bihar Police to the CBI in July 2018.
The court had on March 20, 2019, framed charges against the accused for offences of criminal conspiracy to commit rape and penetrative sexual assault against minors.
The case was, however, transferred from a local court in Muzaffarpur to the POCSO court at Saket here last year on the Supreme Court's directions.