Presumption U/s 29 POCSO Act Does Not Affect Obligation of Prosecution to Produce Admissible Evidence to Prove Essential & Foundational Facts: Kerala HC
The Kerala High Court observed that the presumption under Section 29 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 Act [POCSO] does not, in any way, affect the obligation of the prosecution to produce admissible evidence to prove the essential and foundational facts. When the prosecution produces admissible evidence to prove the foundational facts constituting the offence, the accused must, at the pain of losing, prove that he did not commit the offence on the principle of preponderance of probability, Justice PB Suresh Kumar observed while dismissing an appeal filed by an accused in a POCSO case. The court observed that the literal meaning of the words used in Section 29 of POCSO Act, appears to be constitutionally suspect and against the presumption of innocence available to the accused in a criminal case. The court also added that the presumption of innocence cannot be equated per se with the constitutional right to life and liberty adumbrated in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.