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The Rediff Special/Y P Singh
Rapist cop could face life sentence
April 25, 2005
The recent rape perpetrated on an innocent girl by a policeman not only calls for an expeditious trial but maximum possible punishment for the offender prescribed under the law.
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Since there is little likelihood that the accused could be released on bail, he being in custody, the trial is expected to commence without much of delay.
This is because generally the trial of those who are not released on bail is conducted much faster than in cases where the accused are on bail.
In addition, since the facts and circumstances of this case are quite clear and the evidence is clinching, therefore the trial is likely to be expeditiously concluded.
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The rule under Section 327 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is that the trial must be done in the open court.
However, there is an exception made where the trial related to rape cases has to be done in camera.
Moreover, under section 327(3) of the CrPC, it is also unlawful for anyone to print or publish any matter in relation to any proceedings in a rape case trial without the permission of the court.
Proving of the charge in this case may not be difficult because of strong circumstantial and oral evidence. Furthermore, evidence is self-sufficient since this is a case of a rape of a minor.
In such cases, all that is required to prove is that the accused indulged in intercourse and that the victim was a minor.
Consent of the minor in a rape case is immaterial to the outcome of the case.
Under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, for the offence of rape committed by a civilian, the minimum punishment is a 7-year sentence extendable to life imprisonment.
However, in a case where a police officer commits a rape on a woman in his custody, the punishment is minimum of ten years extendable to life imprisonment.
Therefore, the law provides a much more stringent punishment as it is in this case.
(Y P Singh quit the Indian Police Service disgusted by the corruption, and turned a writer. Recently he published Carnage by Angels, a fictionalized account of corruption in the police force)