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‘Most reprehensible crime’: Delhi court convicts man for molesting mother

A 48-year-old man molested his mother in south-east Delhi in September 2012. She had to undergo a surgery and remained in pain for days. Delhi Police caught the man in 2015.

delhi Updated: Jun 19, 2017 07:33 IST
Snehal Tripathi
Snehal Tripathi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Crime against women,Molestation,Delhi crime
A Delhi court observed that a woman’s complaint that she has been molested must be taken at face value in a conservative society like India where indelible stigma is attached to the victim.(HT Photo)

“A man committing the vile act of sexually assaulting his own mother is the most morally and physically reprehensible crime in the society,” a Delhi court said while sentencing a 48-year-old man to jail for four years.

The man, whose name has been withheld to protect the identity of the victim, was found guilty of ‘outraging the modesty’ of his mother and causing grievous hurt to her.

The incident happened in September 2012 in the residence of the convict in south-east Delhi’s Badarpur.

In her complaint to the police, filed nine months after the incident with the help of an NGO, the woman, who is a widow, said that her eldest son used to habitually get drunk, beat and molest her. On September 23, 2012, he dragged her into a room in his house, bolted the door, lifted her clothes and assaulted her till she started bleeding, it said.

While the woman was admitted in a hospital and had to undergo a surgery, the son absconded.

“Her injuries were such that without an immediate surgery, she wouldn’t have survived,” the prosecution told the court, adding that the man used to habitually molest the female members of his family. He misbehaved with his sisters and pulled their clothes, it said.

The accused was declared as a proclaimed offender in March 2014. Based on tip-off, the police nabbed him from Uttar Pradesh in 2015. He pleaded not guilty and requested a trial.

The mother, who remained in severe pain for more than 20 days after the assault and could not even follow her daily routine, registered her complaint nine months later with the help of an NGO. She told the police that she did not disclose the matter to anyone earlier due to a sense of shame and fear of societal stigma.

On the delay in filing the complaint, the court commented that the delay in a sexual assault case cannot be equated with delay in cases involving other offences. “In a tradition-bound society like in India, it would be quite unsafe to throw out the prosecution (victim) case merely on the ground that there is a delay in lodging the FIR,” said Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain.

The court observed that a woman’s complaint that she has been molested must be taken at face value in a conservative society like India, where indelible stigma is attached to the victim. “An Indian woman traditionally will not concoct an untruthful story and bring charges of sexual assault for the purpose of blackmail, hatred, spite or revenge. It must, therefore, be realised that a woman who is subjected to sex violence would always be hesitant about disclosing her plight,” the judge said.

The court noted that the convict has outraged the modesty of his own mother. “He caused her grievous injuries. He also abused her and absconded after the incident. It is true that the convict is aged about 48 years, but the fact that he committed the said act with his own mother cannot be ignored. Such an offence is universally considered to be amongst the most morally and physically reprehensible crime in society. It is an assault on the body, mind, privacy and the entire fabric of the victim. She had thought a number of times before reporting the matter to the police,” the court said, while pronouncing the order on the man’s sentencing on June 7.

The man was convicted for offences punishable under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with an intent to outrage her modesty), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 325 (punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 174A (proclaimed offender) of the Indian Penal Code. He has been sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of four years.

The court also recommended to the Delhi Legal Service Authority, south district, that an appropriate compensation be awarded to the victim.

First Published: Jun 10, 2017 14:58 IST