Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has upheld a lower court order sentencing a man to life imprisonment for assaulting and raping his 19-year-old daughter-in-law, saying that his offences expose "decay of human values".
Division bench of Justices Mridula Bhatkar and V K Tahilramani, on July 16, confirmed a Pune Sessions Court order against Sachin Raghunath Fulsundar.
According to the prosecution, the victim stayed with her husband and parents-in-law; the accused was her distant father-in-law who stayed close by.
On April 28, 2006, when she was alone, Fulsundar went to her house, and said that his mother had asked her to come by.
When the victim went to Fulsundar`s house, he bolted the door and hit her with a pick-axe, then raped her, and strangulated her with her sari. As she passed out, he tied up her hands and legs, and dumped her denuded body in a sugarcane field.
The victim, on regaining consciousness, saw her sister-in-law passing by and called out; the latter brought her clothes and took her home. Fulsundar was soon arrested.
After the defence lawyer Abhaykumar Apte urged for leniency in punishment, the High Court observed that offences "expose the decay of human values, the betrayal of trust and throws to the wind the sanctity of human relations".
The conduct of the accused displays perversity and depravity which invites the maximum punishment, court said.
"The prosecutrix had come to the house of the appellant keeping faith in him that she was called by his mother... The appellant has betrayed that faith....His moral depravity did not end there. To save himself, he then attempted to kill her by strangulating her with her own sari. Her death was as good as definite. Only due to intervention of providence she was saved.
"There are absolutely no mitigating factors and circumstances which can impel this Court to take a lenient view," said the High Court, upholding the life sentence.