A Delhi court on Saturday sentenced a 61-year-old man to 10 years in prison for molesting his pregnant daughter-in-law and then abetting her to commit suicide.
Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau, noting that the act was “sickening and unpardonable”, handed down the sentence to Sultanpuri resident Bharat Singh Rawat who was found guilty of sexually abusing his 24-year-old daughter-in-law and instigating her to end her life along with that of her unborn child.
The court observed that Rawat molested the victim by taking advantage of the fact that her husband stayed in Mumbai due to work-related issues. He forced the woman submit herself to his “evil designs” or threatened to defame her in public.
“There is something wrong in our social set-up. If a woman is not safe in her own house, she is safe nowhere. Instead of being a shield to his young pregnant daughter-in-law in the absence of his son, he (Rawat) rather took advantage of the situation.
“It is this realisation which compelled the victim to end her life, who found herself alone and helpless in warding-off the advances of her father-in-law (as reflected from her suicide note),” the court said.
The woman had committed suicide by hanging herself on September 3, 2008, within two years of her marriage. The suicide note the victim left behind accused her father- in-law of sexually abusing her. A case of abetment of suicide was lodged against Rawat. Later, the court had also invoked the provision of outraging modesty of his daughter-in-law.
Before ending her life, the woman had also sent a mail to her younger brother asking him to study well and to take care of their parents, but her brother had read the mail after the suicide, police had said.