The Bombay high court, last week, reduced the sentence of a rape accused from five years’ rigorous imprisonment to only one month rigorous imprisonment on the ground that the incident had taken place nearly 20 years back and that both the victim and the culprit are now settled in their respective family lives.
In 1993, an additional sessions judge in Pune had convicted Martand Lohkare for raping a paralytic girl several times and had sentenced him to five years’ rigorous imprisonment. The accused, a Mapoli resident, had moved the high court to appeal against the sentence.
Justice RC Chavan upheld his conviction but Lohkare will not go to jail again for the offence he committed in June 1991, as he has already spent 44 days in custody.
The court drastically reduced Lokhare’s sentence taking into consideration various factors. The victim, who alleged that she was forced into having intercourse with the accused, maintained a physical relationship with the accused even after the incident. A police complaint was lodged against Lohkare only after the girl delivered a male child in March 1992. More importantly, both the victim and the accused are now married and settled in their respective lives.
Taking these factors into account, the high court found the punishment of five years’ imprisonment, imposed by the trial court, too harsh and reduced it to one month. The HC has, however, increased the fine imposed on the accused by the trial court from Rs500 to Rs10,000.