New Delhi: An Uber cab driver was on Tuesday sentenced to life imprisonment till his natural death for raping a woman executive in his taxi 11 months ago by a Delhi court.
The court awarded the maximum sentence for the offence which endangered the life of the 25-year-old woman. 32-year-old Shiv Kumar Yadav was given the life imprisonment by Additional Sessions Judge Kaveri Baweja who held that the convict while raping the victim abducted her with an intent to compel her for marriage. "Convict (Yadav) is sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment till his remaining natural life for the offence under section 376 (2)(m) (committing rape causes grievous bodily harm) of the IPC," the judge said and also imposed a fine of Rs 21,000 on him.
The court also directed the Delhi Legal Services Authority to give compensation to the victim and to take care of the family of the convict. Moments after pronouncement of the judgment, Yadav, his wife, father and two minor daughters started crying inconsolably. His wailing wife also fainted in the courtroom.
According to the prosecution, the incident took place on the night of December 5 last year when the victim, a finance executive working in Gurgaon, was heading back to her house at Inderlok in Central Delhi. The accused was arrested on December 7, 2014 from Mathura. The prosecution had produced 28 witnesses in the case. The court pronounced the sentence after hearing arguments of the prosecutor and defence counsel for over one-and-a-half hour.
During the arguments on quantum of sentence, special public prosecutor Atul Srivastava sought maximum punishment, i.E., imprisonment till remaining life for Yadav. He said Yadav has previous involvements in criminal cases and by means of sentencing, a message should be sent to the society so that no person commits this type of crime again.
"Rape murders soul of a person. We need to see the manner in which the act was executed. Only the woman is not the victim but the whole society is victim here. So, I request that maximum punishment is given to him," Srivastava said. Seeking leniency for the convict, his counsel D K Mishra submitted that 10-years' punishment would be enough to instill fear in the mind of society and there is nobody to support his aged parents, wife and three minor children.
"Maximum sentence of life imprisonment till natural death is not warranted in this case as it is worse than capital punishment. It is my perception that Yadav has changed during the trial and there are chances of his reformation," the counsel said. During the proceedings, victim's parents were also present in the court and they expressed satisfaction over the order. The court had convicted Yadav in the case on October 20.