Thursday, April 18, 2024

Bombay High Court upholds life sentence on rapist of 3-year-old

Mumbai (ILNS): The Bombay High Court recently upheld the life sentence of a 27-year-old man for raping a three-year-old girl in September 2014.

The Division bench of Justice Sambhaji Shiwaji Shinde and Justice Makarand Subhash Karnik dismissed an appeal by Sudam Shelke (27) against a January 18, 2016 order passed by the additional Sessions judge in Nashik.

The FIR was registered by grandmother of the victim. The victim was about 3 years and 8 months of age on the date of the incident. Complainant was residing along with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and the victim. On September 12, 2014 at around 3pm the victim, while playing, wandered into a dhaba. The girl came home with a mobile phone. The accused arrived and told the grandmother that it was his phone and that he had given it to the girl to play.

The grandmother carried on with her work. When her husband came home from his work in the fields 10-15 minutes later and asked where the girl was, she told him that she was probably playing in front of the house. When they could not find the girl there, the family launched a search and her grandmother found the child crying in a nearby bajra crop field. 

The child was taken to the hospital of Dr Chandurkar in village Nandur in Shingote. The next day, at around 7 am, the girl told her grandmother and her mother that the “mobile-wala baba” (accused) had taken her into the field. There he had committed his crime.

The Session Judge framed the charge on November 13. The accused pleaded not guilty and in the trial the prosecution examined 11 witnesses. The accused was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The high court, noted that the evidence on record showed that the convict had given his cell phone to the girl for playing sometime before the incident. The victim’s grandmother had seen him running out of the bajra field and his motorcycle was found lying nearby.

The court also found no merit in Shelke’s submission that his complicity in the crime could be ruled out since that she had not sustained any injuries during the assault. He maintained that she should have suffered some injury, especially because the girl was just three.

For the delay in lodging of the FIR the Court cited the Apex Court judgment in Punjab Vs. Gurmit Singh where the Apex Court had observed: “That in sexual offences, delay in the lodging of the FIR can be due to a variety of reasons, particularly the reluctance of the prosecutrix or her family members to go to the police and complain about the incident which concerns the reputation of the prosecutrix and the honour of her family. It is only after giving it a cool thought that a complaint of sexual offence is generally lodged. Even if there is some delay in lodging FIR in respect of an offence of rape, if it is properly explained and the explanation is natural in the facts and circumstances of the case, such delay would not matter and is not fatal.”

While giving its verdict, the court said: ”In such cases, complete penetration is not possible, especially when a perpetrator is a grown-up man. Even slight penetration is sufficient to attract rape charges.

”The evidence on record shows that the accused has committed a crime, which is heinous in nature. Accused has betrayed the trust of a small girl who was playing with the accused. The sexual assault on the children is one of the heinous crimes. In the present case, victim girl is only three years and 8 months of age. It is an ugly breach of our commitment to protect the innocent. The act of the accused shows that he has committed barbaric act and shown total disregard towards humanity,” the judgment reads.

Read the judgment here;



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