Poverty no reason to reduce punishment for rape: Court

Under Section 376 of Indian Penal Code, minimum punishment for rape is seven years’ rigorous imprisonment.

Updated: Sep 12, 2010, 18:07 PM IST

Mumbai: Poverty can not be a reason to show leniency towards a rape-accused, Bombay High Court has said.

Under Section 376 of Indian Penal Code, minimum punishment for rape is seven years’ rigorous imprisonment, and a judge can give a lesser sentence for "adequate and special reasons".

But socio-economic status of accused is irrelevant for this purpose, Justice A P Bhangale of Nagpur bench of High Court said in a ruling last week.

Satinath Raut, a labourer, was accused of raping a 22-year-old woman at his village Warthi, in Bhandara district.

Raut entered her house when there was nobody else at home except for her 3-year-old daughter, and raped the woman at knife-point.

Sessions court in Bhandara awarded him seven years` imprisonment in February 2007. In the appeal before the High Court, he pleaded that
he had a large family --- five children and an ailing mother--
therefore the sentence may be reduced.

Sessions court could have been more lenient with him on this ground, his lawyer argued.

But upholding the sentence, Justice Bhangale said in his judgement that "socio-economic status of the accused or his religion, caste, creed are irrelevant factors", as per Supreme Court`s earlier rulings.

PTI