SC lets off gangrapists after they agree to compensate victim

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 21:12

New Delhi: In an unusual order, the Supreme
Court on Monday let off three gang rapists after they claimed a
"compromise formula" with the victim and agreed to pay her a
fine of Rs 50,000 each for their offence.

A bench of justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha
Mishra reduced to three and half years the 10-year sentence
awarded to three gang rapists who took the plea that both the
convicts and the victim were now happily married to different
people and "wanted to live peacefully."

Under Section 376(G) of the IPC, the minimum sentence to
the gang rapists is 10 years, which may extend even to life
imprisonment.

Though Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra was not initially
inclined to compound (close the case by way of fine)the matter
as it was not a compoundable offence, the apex court later
relented and agreed to let them off provided the convicts paid
Rs 50,000 each to the victim.

The apex court ordered that, " the amount shall be paid
to the victim within three months", failing which the same
shall be recovered under the Land Revenue Act from the trio
and paid to the victim.

In this case, the convicts Baldev Singh, Gurmail Singh
and Hardeep Singh, all said to be agricultural farmers, had
gangraped the victim in Punjab`s Ludhiana district on March 5,
1997.

The sessions court had awarded 10 years imprisonment
to the convicts.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed the
convicts` appeal, following which they appealed in the apex
court.

Counsel Rajat Sharma, appearing for the convicts, told
the bench that his clients had reached a compromise with the
victim and it was decided to drop the case. He submitted that
both the convicts and the victim wanted to bring an end to the
case as they were all now married and leading their respective
lives.

"We want to live peacefuly", the counsel said.

The submission evoked a remark from the bench which
said that, "after having committed a gang rape now you want to
live a peaceful life"?

Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra said the IPC provision does not
provide for compounding the offence as under the statute, the
court, apart from awarding a minimum of 10 years, can also
impose a fine or even extend the punishment to life
imprisonment.

The judge said, "how can we let you all go scotfree for
such an offence like gang rape? There is no provision under
the law to compound the offence.”

"Punishment has to be awarded so that it acts as a
deterrent", the judge said.

But later as the counsel persisted with the plea that it
was more than 15 years when the incident had occurred, the
bench relented and said it was upholding their conviction but
reducing their sentence to the three-and-half years already
undrgone.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 21:12

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