New Delhi: Ruling out any sympathy for rapists, Delhi High Court has said that those who have ruined the lives of young girls for the "satisfaction of their sexual lust" should not be let off lightly as this could encourage others to commit the crime.
Justice PK Bhasin remarked 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 court`s observation came while hearing an appeal filed by Razzi Ahmed against a trial court order convicting and jailing him for six months for kidnapping and raping a 14-year-old girl. The trial court had passed its order Oct 6, 2003. Ahmed had pleaded for lighter punishment on the ground that he was a very young boy in Jan 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 like tendencies would get encouraged and more and more young girls would become their prey," Justice Bhasin observed.
He said that 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 what he was doing with the minor girl and 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" as he was not awarded a longer term but instead was sentenced to the minimum punishment for raping a minor girl.
The accused had said as he was 18 years old in 2001 he should now be let off with minimum punishment. Ahmed also said he is a married man with four children to support.
"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 the police to take him into custody so that he could serve the rest of his sentence. The accused was on bail while he filed the appeal in the high court against his sentence.
According to the prosecution, on Jan 3, 2001, the victim`s father had lodged a complaint with the police that his daughter had not returned home from school. The victim was tracked in Bihar a few days later along with Ahmed.
The girl told the police Ahmed had forcibly taken her away to Bihar at knifepoint. The accused had also warned that he would 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 that she could not offer any resistance because Ahmed had been torturing her at knifepoint.
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".