The Calcutta High Court has recently commuted the sentence of life imprisonment awarded to a man convicted of raping a 7 year old girl after taking into account that the convict had no criminal antecedents and that he had already suffered incarceration for about 18 years.
A Bench comprising Justice Bivas Pattanayak and Justice Joymalya Bagchi opined that although in the instant case a minor victim had been raped, the accused was also a young person who was barely above 18 years of age at the time of the incident.
Commuting the life sentence imposed, the Bench observed,
"Although, the victim was a minor and was forcibly raped, appellant was also a young person who was barely above 18 years at the time of occurrence. He does not have criminal antecedents. Keeping in mind the aforesaid facts and as he has already suffered incarceration for about 18 years, I modify the sentence imposed upon the appellant and direct that he shall suffer imprisonment for the period already undergone in place of the maximum sentence of life imprisonment imposed upon him and pay the fine imposed upon him by the trial Court, in default, shall suffer rigorous imprisonment for one year."
The Court further directed that the period of detention suffered by the appellant during investigation, enquiry and trial shall be set off from the substantive sentence imposed upon the appellant in terms of Section 428 of the CrPC.
The instant appeal had been preferred against a judgement dated January 19, 2005 passed by the concerned trial Court convicting the appellant for commission of offence punishable under Section 376(2)(f) (rape on a woman when she is under twelve years of age) of the IPC.
In the instant case, a police complaint had bee lodged by the father of the victim after the appellant had taken his minor daughter inside a tea garden and raped her. The complainant along with his wife and minor children had gone to his in-laws' house at Beech Tea Garden when this incident took place. The mother of the victim had rushed to the post after hearing the victim's cries and had found the victim in her under garments with bleeding injuries.
Upon perusal of the record, the Court observed that the version of forcible rape as stated by the minor victim had been corroborated by her parents as well as local people. Furthermore, upholding the conviction, the Court opined,
"Her evidence also receives corroboration from the medical evidence on record. Hence, conviction of the appellant has been proved beyond doubt."
Case Title: Rajinder Lohar v. The State of West Bengal
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Cal) 177