Priest sentenced to life in prison by Delhi court for rape of two minor girls

Additional sessions judge Vijeta Singh Rawat said the convict,Vishva Bandhu, did not even care for the respect and faith attached to his office as a priest.
The judge also noted that the crime has not been committed by the priest due to any mental or emotional distress.(Representational image)
The judge also noted that the crime has not been committed by the priest due to any mental or emotional distress.(Representational image)
Updated on Aug 07, 2021 03:02 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A Delhi court sentenced a 76-year-old priest to life imprisonment for repeatedly raping two minor girls within the “sacred precincts of a temple” at a village in Mehrauli in 2014, saying that the accused is a “habitual sexual predator” and has “desecrated the temple where the children should have had a carefree and safe time”.

Additional sessions judge Vijeta Singh Rawat said the convict,Vishva Bandhu, did not even care for the respect and faith attached to his office as a priest. She said the offences were committed repeatedly on two girls,aged seven and nine years, showing the rapacious and habitual conduct on the part of the convict.

“…such habitual sexual predators cannot be trusted. He has not even cared for the respect and faith attached to his office as a priest and has also desecrated the temple where the children should have had a carefree and safe time. Therefore, the interest of justice would only suffice if the convict is sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life and fine of 50,000/-,” Rawat said in a 12-page order, dated July 16.

She said the convict “betrayed the trust and respect the victims and the public had upon him”. It also noted that no remorse was shown by him at any stage of the trial. On February 26 this year, the court convicted the priest of rape and under relevant sections of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act.

“In the facts and circumstances of this case, if leniency is shown, this court would be letting down children who have fought all odds to pursue the matter. These victims have been scarred for the future. The court would also be failing in its duty if such predators are set free...,” said Rawat.

The judge also noted that the crime has not been committed by the priest due to any mental or emotional distress. It said considering that extremely vulnerable victims were preyed upon by the priest repeatedly, despite his advanced age, there seems to be no scope for reformation.

“Rather, considering that minor children... had been repeatedly raped by the convict, who was then aged about 69-70 years, irrefragably speaks volumes about the depravity and proclivity in the mindset of the convict, which is an aggravating circumstance,” said the court.

The judge also ordered a compensation of 7.5 lakh each to the two victims to secure their emotional and mental health, and to ensure that they have access to unhindered education that will equip them for a safer future.

According to the prosecution, the incident came to fore when one of the victims complained to her mother of pain in her lower abdomen and difficulty in passing urine before finally breaking down and revealing to her the repeated assault. The mother checked with her daughter’s friend, who admitted that she too was sexually assaulted by the same priest.

The girls told their parents that the priest sexually assaulted them every time they went to the temple to play or have ‘prasad (sweet offering)’. He threatened them against talking to anyone about the assault.

The accused, then 70 years old, was arrested on August 18, 2014, after the parents of the girls lodged a complaint against him the same day.

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    Reports from the Delhi High Court and stories on legal developments in the city. Avid mountain lover, cooking and playing with birds 🐦 when not at work

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