Ignoring a khap panchayat's decision to let go a rape accused, the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of a man for raping a minor. A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan blamed the panchayat for the inordinate delay caused in registering the FIR by the victim and declined to give benefit of doubt to the accused on that ground. The court dismissed the appeal of Satpal Singh and said the victim or police can't be held liable for registering the complaint of rape belatedly as in the village a helpless woman or her family can't go against the elders' wishes. The judgment exposes the system of kangaroo court that are being held to stall the due process of law. The court noted that the panchayat in Kurukshetra had imposed a fine of just Rs 1,100 on Satpal Singh 17 years ago and persuaded the victim and her family not to file a criminal case against him. The victim's family lodged a case with the police four months later, when the panchayat did not accept their prayer of imposing a fine of Rs 5,000 on the accused and parade him in the village with blacken face. The trial court had convicted the accused to seven years of imprisonment. The Punjab and Haryana High Court upheld his conviction but reduced the sentence. Singh moved the apex court saying it was a consensual sex and that there had been undue delay of four months in filing the FIR. "A tendency on the part of the villagers or the parents of a young child, who is ravished, would normally be to save the honour of the child as first priority," SC said quoting HC judgment. Upholding the victim's testimony, judges said the victim's family "generally shows reluctance to go to the police station because of society's attitude towards such women".
SC ignores khap, upholds conviction of rapistdelhi Updated: Jul 29, 2010 01:17 IST
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