New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Advocating harsh punishment for rapists, the Delhi High Court has said those who have ruined the lives of women should not be let off lightly as this can encourage others.
Justice P.K. Bhasin said in a recent order that letting off rapists who committed such a “grave offence” with lesser punishment would encourage more people to indulge in the crime.
The observation came while hearing an appeal filed by Razzi Ahmed against a trial court order convicting and jailing him for six years for abducting and raping a 14-year-old.
The trial court passed its order Oct 6, 2003. Ahmed had sought lighter punishment on the ground that he was a young boy in January 2001 when the incident happened.
“If the courts start getting sympathetic towards persons who commit such serious offences and spoil the lives of young girls for the satisfaction of their sexual lust, more and more persons having such tendencies would get encouraged and more and more young girls would become their prey,” Justice Bhasin observed.
He said the convict knew what he was doing and its serious impact on the girl and there was no justification for letting him off with lesser punishment.
“The appellant-convict certainly knew … those inhuman acts of his must have had a serious impact on her, physical as well as emotional, and such scars cannot get washed off throughout her life,” the judge said.
The court said Ahmed should consider himself lucky that he was not awarded a longer term and instead was sentenced to the minimum punishment for raping a minor.
The accused had said as he was 18 years old in 2001 he should be let off with minimum punishment. Ahmed also said he is married and has four children.
“For his conviction for the offence of rape of a minor girl, he was awarded the minimum sentence of imprisonment provided by the legislature and he should consider himself to be lucky not to have been awarded a longer period of stay in jail,” Justice Bhasin said.
“So, I am not inclined to show any sympathy to the appellant-convict in the matter of punishment.”
The court dismissed his appeal and asked police to take him into custody so that he can serve the rest of his sentence. The accused was on bail while he filed the appeal in the high court.
According to the prosecution, on Jan 3, 2001, the victim’s father told police that his daughter had not returned home from school. The victim was tracked in Bihar a few days later with Ahmed.
The girl told police Ahmed forcibly took her to Bihar at knifepoint. The accused had threatened to kill her and her brother if she did not accompany him. He kept the girl in a hotel and raped her for many days, the prosecution said.
Ahmed contended that the victim was a consenting party but the girl denied this, saying she could not offer any resistance as Ahmed was torturing her.
Relying on the victim’s version, the high court held that when the girl was kidnapped and raped, she was below the age of 15 years and, therefore, her consent, if at all it was there, was immaterial and inconsequential.
(Garima Tyagi can be contacted at [email protected])