SC Sentences Man To 30 Years In Jail For Raping 7-Year-Old In Temple
New Delhi, Feb 6: Upholding the conviction of a man for raping a seven-year-old girl in a temple in Madhya Pradesh in 2018, the Supreme Court has sentenced him to 30 years in jail while noting that his action was barbaric.
The victim girl’s grandmother lodged an FIR against the man who was 40 years old at the time of the crime, for kidnapping and raping the minor. The convict took the victim to a temple and committed raped her.
After finding the man guilty, the trial court awarded him the capital punishment under Section 376 AB (rape on woman under 12 years of age) of the Indian Penal Code. The Madhya Pradesh High Court, however, commuted the same to life imprisonment for the remainder of the convict’s natural life.
A bench of Justices C T Ravikumar and Rajesh Bindal took into account the present age of the petitioner and the fact that he has already undergone incarceration.
While modifying his sentence, the top court also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the convict.
Noting how the incident may haunt the victim, the apex court said every visit to any temple may hark back to the unfortunate and barbaric action to which she was subjected to.
“It is noted that if the victim is religious, every visit to any temple may hark back to her the unfortunate, barbaric action to which she was subjected to. So also, the incident may haunt her and adversely impact her future married life,” the bench said.
“Then, we are also to take into account the present age of the petitioner and the fact that he has already undergone incarceration. On consideration of all such aspects, we are of the considered view that a fixed term of sentence of 30 years, which shall include the period already undergone, must be the modified sentence of imprisonment,” the bench said.
The apex court said the High Court had lost sight of the fact that despite conviction under Section 376 (2) (i) and sections of the POCSO Act, no separate sentences were imposed on the man for the offence under the POCSO Act by the trial court, as the capital sentence was imposed on him.
“In terms of the provisions under Section 376 AB, IPC, when a sentence of imprisonment for a term not less than 20 years which may extend up to life imprisonment is imposed, the convict is also liable to suffer a sentence of fine which shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim which we quantify as Rs 1 lakh and the same shall be paid to the victim,” the bench said. (Agencies)