Survivor’s family to challenge judgment in higher court
New Delhi: Family members of the rape survivor — who later came to be known as Gudiya — as the advocates who represented her expressed their disappointment on the sentencing awarded to the two convicts and said they will challenge the judgment in higher courts.
The minor girl’s uncle, said they were expecting the court to pronounce the maximum punishment [life imprisonment] against Manoj Shah and Pradeep Kumar because not only they had committed a barbaric crime but had also tried to kill his severely injured niece by leaving her to die in the locked room where they raped her.
“We are disappointed because we thought that maximum punishment would be life imprisonment as prescribed under law. However, Shah and Kumar were given just 20 years, despite the fact that there was no remorse on their faces. There was no fear on Shah’s face and he walked into the court as if he is some revolutionary. We will appeal against the sentence in the high court and will seek life imprisonment for the perpetrators,” the uncle said.
Sampurna Behura, director (legal) at Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), which gave legal, financial and medical support to the rape survivor, said, “We are highly disappointed on the quantum of punishment because a five-year-old girl, for no fault of hers was brutally assaulted and left to die and had to undergo six major surgeries. Giving a mere 20 years of punishment is not justice but rather leniency towards the convicts. The very purpose of Pocso [Protection of Children from Sexual Offences] Act has been defeated as by not giving life imprisonment the judgement has become accused centric,not victim-centric.”
Meanwhile, Shah’s father, Bindeshwari Shah, who was present in the courtroom expressed relief on the punishment and said he will not challenge the judgment in higher court. “I don’t know what my son did. We are relieved that he will be out after spending 13 more years in jail,” he said.