In the first ever conviction under the new anti-rape law, which came into existence in April this year in the back drop of Delhi gang rape case, a Hoshiarpur court on Tuesday, sentenced two men for life "till natural death" and a fine of Rs. 50,000 each for having raped a 5-year-old.
The convicts also got 5-year term under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012. Both sentences would run concurrently.
The court of additional session judge JS Bhinder, that had delivered verdict in a rape case in mere 48 hours in the month of February, pronounced the judgment on Daljit Singh, a resident of Ibrahimpur village and Amarjit Singh of Bhulana village for raping the minor of Ibrahimpur village.
As per the statement of victim's mother, the child had gone missing on February 18 and when she went searching for her, she found her in the house of her neighbour Daljit Singh who, along with another man, who was later identified as Amarjit Singh were outraging her modesty.
The accused ran away on being caught but were later arrested by the Dasuya police who registered a case under Section 376 D, 511 and 34 of IPC and Section 9 (G) of Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
The court took into consideration medical and forensic reports, recoveries made from the spot and testimony of girl's mother, to convict the accused. The defence counsel argued that there was no direct evidence to prove that rape was committed and also that medical evidence was not supported by ocular evidence. He also raised the point that the statement of prosecutrix alone was not sufficient to convict the accused but the court decreed that there was no legal impediment in convicting a person on the sole testimony of a single witness unless there were sufficient reasons for doubt.
Relying upon the latest case law titled 2013 (1) Recent Criminal Reports 659 Radhakrishna Nagesh Vs State of Andhra Pardesh (SC), the court stated that the mere fact that victim's hymen was intact and there was no actual wound on her private parts, was not conclusive of the fact that she had been not subjected to rape. "Spermatozoa found on the cloth of the prosecutrix as indicated in the forensic report is sufficient to prove that the girl had been raped.
"The facts and circumstances establish a direct link of the accused with the commission of crime, hence both the accused are liable to be prosecuted under the anti rape law", the court said.
An offender can be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 20 years, but which may extend to life, meaning imprisonment for the remainder of the convict's natural life and with a fine.
The law has provisions for handing out death sentence to offenders who may have been convicted earlier for such crimes. It defines stalking and voyeurism as non-bailable offences, if repeated for a second time. Perpetrators of acid attack will attract a 10-year jail.
It also defines acid attack as a crime besides granting a victim the right to self-defence. It also has provisions for imposing a minimum 10-year jail term for perpetrators of such acts.It has fixed age for consensual sex at 18 years.