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Rape a crime against right to life: SC
March 05, 2006 12:42 IST
The Supreme Court has observed that rape is a crime against basic human rights and is violative of the victim's most cherished Fundamental Right namely Right to Life contained in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
A bench comprising Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice S H Kapadia vide their judgement dated February 28, 2006 has held that a socially sensitised judge is a better statutory armour in a case of crime against women than long clauses of penal provisions, containing complex exceptions and provisons.
The court's observations came while reducing life imprisonment awarded to the appellant Dinesh Buddah for raping an eight-year-old girl by the trial court and confirmed by the high court, to ten years' Rigorous Imprisonment.
The crime of rape was committed by the victim on February 5,1998 when the victim was returning home after witnessing a marriage procession. The state was also directed to pay a compensation of Rs 50000 to the victim by the court.
"Rape is not only a crime against the person of a woman, it is a crime against the entire society. It destroys the entire psychology of a woman and pushes her into deep emotional crisis. Where the victim is a helpless innocent child or a minor, it leaves behind a traumatic experience." the court noted.
The convict had threatened to kill the victim if she disclosed the incident to anyone but when the pain became unbearable for the child she told her sister, mother and grandmother about the incident and the matter was reported to the police.
The minimum sentence prescribed for rape of a child less than 12 years of age is ten years' rigorous omprisonment.
The court also observed that the socio-economic status, religion, race, caste or creed of the accused or the victim are irrelevant considerations in sentencing policy.
"There are no extenuating or mitigating circumstances available on the record which may justify imposition of any sentence less than the prescribed minimum on the respondent and to show any mercy in the case of such a heinous crime would be a travesty of justice and plea for leniency was wholly misplaced," the court concluded.