New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) Observing that sexual abuse against children is the most heinous crime, the Supreme Court Friday upheld the conviction of three people, including two British nationals, charged with child sexual abuse.
Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan rejected the Bombay High Court judgment of July 23, 2008, acquitting the three who were convicted by the trial court for sexually abusing inmates of children’s shelter homes.
The apex court restored the March 18, 2006 conviction and sentence passed by the trial court.
The trial court had awarded six-year sentence for British nationals Allan John Waters and Duncan Alexander Grant and three years for William D’Souza.
The apex court directed that there is no need for further imprisonment of D’Souza as he has already undergone the term.
As for Waters and Grant, the apex court asked the trial judge to take appropriate steps so that they serve their remaining sentences and pay the compensation amount, if not already paid.
Both the British nationals had earlier served in British Navy.
“For the disbursement and other modalities, the directions of the trial court shall be implemented,” the judgment said.
Passing the verdict, the judges observed that children were the greatest gift to humanity and that sexually abusing them was the most heinous crime.
“It is an appalling violation of their trust, an ugly breach of our commitment to protect the innocent,” Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan said.
Justice Sathasivam said: “There are special safeguards in the constitution that apply specifically to children. The constitution has envisaged a happy and healthy childhood for children which is free from abuse and exploitation.”
The constitution, the judges said, “obligates both central, state and union territories to protect them from the evils, provide free and good education and make them good citizens of this country”.
The judges said the constitution recognises the importance of dignity and personality of the child and directs the state to provide free and compulsory education for children up to the age of 14 years.
“Several legislations and directions of this court are there to safeguard their intent. But these are to be properly implemented and monitored. We hope and trust that all the authorities concerned through various responsible NGOs implement the same for better future of these children,” the judgment read.