New Delhi: A youth, convicted for raping a minor girl with whom he had eloped and later married, has been spared of the jail term by a Delhi court which said he has "realised his mistake" and sentencing him would "disrupt" his married life.
"The convict is sentenced to the period of imprisonment already gone," Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat said, while observing that the youth himself had come forward to plead guilty so he should be handed a lesser sentence instead of a minimum of seven years for the offence of rape.
"The convict has himself come forward to admit his guilt which implies that his conscience has pricked him and he has realised his mistake.
"In my opinion, the conduct of the prosecutrix herself in the whole affair, coupled with the accused himself coming forward to plead guilty, thus showing utmost sense of remorse and respect for the law, constitute special reasons for awarding lesser sentence upon the convict than the prescribed minimum period of seven years for the offence under section 376 (rape) of the IPC," the judge said.
The youth was named in a charge sheet under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act after he was arrested by the police in June 2012 on the allegation that he kidnapped a 16-year-old girl, one of his relatives, and had raped her.
However, after charges were framed against the youth, the girl had told the court that the accused is her husband and she had willingly eloped with him to marry and now they were living together as husband and wife.
"The convict is a young boy just 22 years of age. It has also come on record that the couple has been blessed with a girl child. Therefore, in my opinion, if the convict is sent to jail for some more period at this time, it will create hardship and mental agony to the prosecutrix herself who shall be left with no source of income and would not be able to maintain the infant child," the court said.
"The happy family of the prosecutrix and the convict would be disrupted and thrown into disarray," it said.