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HP High Court reduces sentence imposed on an Octogenarian who raped an infant [Read Judgment]

Ashok KM
1 Nov 2015 1:57 PM GMT
HP High Court reduces sentence imposed on an Octogenarian who raped an infant [Read Judgment]
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The persons who commit rape are psychologically sadistic persons.  But punishment should not only be punitive but also reformative, the High Court held.

In an appeal filed by an 83 year old man convicted by Trial Court for raping a 4 year old kid, the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, though it found no infirmity in his conviction recorded by the trial court, has reduced the rigorous imprisonment to 4 years instead of 10 years that was imposed by the Trial Court. The fine amount was also reduced to Rs.5000/- from Rs.10, 000/-.

A Division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Sureshwar Thakur, partly allowed the appeal by reducing the sentence imposed.  The court, reduced the sentence saying that “Accused has no criminal background. His conduct in the Jail is satisfactory since nothing adverse has been brought to our notice”.

The Court, saying that punishment should be both reformative and punitive, remarked “Within the parameters of law, an attempt has to be made to afford an opportunity to the individual to reform himself and lead life of a normal, useful member of society and make his contribution to in that regard. Denying such opportunity to a person who has been found to have committed offence in the facts and circumstances placed on record would only have a hardening attitude towards his fellow beings and towards society at large.”

Interestingly, the court after saying that the prosecution has proved the case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt, subsequently observed that the accused was 83 years of ageand the purpose of punishment is not only to make him realize his fault and not to repeat it in future, but also toenable him to relent and repent for his action and make himself acceptable to the society.  The persons who commit rape are psychologically sadistic persons.

According to amended Section 376 of Indian Penal Code, a person who (i) commits rape on a woman when she is under sixteen years of age; or(j) commits rape, on a woman incapable of giving consent, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine. Here in this case, the victim was only a 4 year old and whether High Court has power to reduce the sentence to a period less than what is prescribed by the statute is the question which emerges.

Read the Judgment here.

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