Two brothers get 20 years in jail for raping cousin in Panchkula
“The inherent bashfulness of the females and the tendency to conceal outrage of sexual aggression are factors which the courts should not overlook,” observed Panchkula additional district and sessions judge Narender Sura, while sentencing two brothers to 20 years in jail for raping their 19-year-old cousin even as the victim and her mother turned hostile.
The two are also accused of raping the victim’s younger sister, who was 14-year-old at the time of the incident in 2017. The judgment in that case is expected on Monday.
While the court had held the accused, aged 21 and 23, guilty on April 1, the quantum of sentence was announced on Saturday. They have been convicted under Sections 376D (gangrape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The two have also been imposed a fine of ₹50,000 each.
“The courts shoulder a great responsibility while trying an accused on charge of rape. The courts are required to deal with such cases (with) utmost sensitivity and are not required to get swayed by contradictions and insignificant discrepancies in the statements of witnesses, which are not of fatal nature, to throw out an otherwise reliable prosecution case,” the judgment reads.
The victims and the accused, sons of their maternal uncle, live in shanties near Sector 21, Panchkula.
In her complaint, the 19-year-old victim had alleged that the duo took her minor sister and her in their shanty and raped the two taking turns and even threatened to kill their family if they complained to anyone.
A case was registered at the women police station on July 17, 2017. A separate FIR was registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for the 14-year-old’s rape.
Even as the victim deposed in court that a “wrong act” was committed upon her, she failed to remember the date. She further deposed that she did not know who had committed the crime.
On seeing the accused in the court room, she claimed she could not tell as to whether they were the two who had committed the rape.
Thereon, she was declared hostile on the prosecution’s request.
The girl’s mother had also turned hostile, deposing that her daughters had not told her anything about the incident. She also refused to say anything on the matter in court.
Though admitting that she and her sister were raped, the 14-year-old girl claimed the incident took place at night and she could not recognise the accused. She, too, was declared hostile.
Meanwhile, the medical officer deposed that according to the victim’s medico-legal examination, “possibility of intercourse cannot be ruled out and possibility of sexual abuse cannot be ruled out”.
Holding the two brothers guilty, the court said: “It is also by now well settled that the courts must, while evaluating evidence, remain alive to the effect that in a case of rape, no self respecting woman would come forward in a court just to make a humiliating statement against her honour such as involved in the commission of rape on her.”