New Delhi: A court has sentenced a 55-year-old man to seven years jail for raping a two-year-and-a-half-old baby, observing children are a "supremely important national asset".
Additional Sessions Judge Illa Rawat also slapped a Rs.5,000 fine on Nepal resident Ram Singh, after convicting him under various provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and section 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) of Indian Penal Code.
"...the concept of welfare and wellbeing of children is basic for any civilized society and this has a direct bearing on the state of health and wellbeing of the entire community, its growth and development," the judge said and directed Delhi State Legal Services Authority to grant compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to victim child.
"It has been time and again emphasized in various legislations, international declarations as well as the judicial pronouncements that the children are a 'supremely important national asset' and the future well being of the nation depends on how its children grow and develop," the court said in an order delivered last week.
The court observed that at the time of incident in January 2013, the victim was aged about two-and-a half-year-old and was residing with her parents and younger brother aged about six months in a makeshift dwelling in Shalimar Bagh area of west Delhi.
Singh had come to their dwelling and when he saw that the girl's mother was busy with her younger child, he took the girl to his own hut and sexually assaulted her.
The court added that if the mother had intervened, the victim would have certainly suffered graver harm at the hands of Singh.
"The act of the convict has had a far-fetched and irreparable consequence on the life of a minor girl child and her family and thus, no leniency is called for in the matter," the court said and turned down the plea of convict seeking leniency.