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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Bombay HC convicts Pune man for rape, won’t sentence him as he was 16 then

The court decided that given the relationship angle of the case, the convict did not deserve to serve a sentence.

mumbai Updated: Aug 26, 2019 14:37 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday convicted a 38-year-old resident of Lohegaon in Pune district for raping a minor in August 1997. However, the court did not sentence him for the offence as he was 16 years old when he committed the crime.
Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday convicted a 38-year-old resident of Lohegaon in Pune district for raping a minor in August 1997. However, the court did not sentence him for the offence as he was 16 years old when he committed the crime. (HT FILE)
         

The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday convicted a 38-year-old resident of Lohegaon in Pune district for raping a minor in August 1997. However, the court did not sentence him for the offence as he was 16 years old when he committed the crime 22 years ago.

According to the prosecution, the survivor, a 14-year-old girl studying in Class 9 at the time, had fallen in love with the convict.

After a few months, on August 27, 1997, the girl eloped with him. They went to Shirdi, but the girl’s family succeeded in tracing her and brought her back to Pune.

On the basis of the complaint lodged by them, the convict was booked for allegedly committing offences punishable under sections 363 (kidnapping from lawful guardianship), 366-A (inducing minor girl) and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Three years later, a sessions judge in Pune convicted the accused of kidnapping and inducing the minor girl, but acquitted him of the charge of rape primarily on the grounds that the girl did not reveal in her statement to the police, that the convict had sexual intercourse with her.

The man was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one year.

When the case was brought before the Bombay HC, the division bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice Bharati Dangre reversed the trial court’s judgment.

The bench acquitted the Lohegaon resident of the charge of kidnapping and inducing the minor, but convicted him on the charge of rape.

The bench made reference to the Supreme Court’s (SC) ruling that if the girl runs away from her parental house for love, it would not attract the offence of kidnapping from lawful guardianship.

As regards, the charge of rape, the bench said the girl had stated that the convict had sexual intercourse with her and medical evidence corroborated her evidence.

Although the act was consensual, the girl’s consent was immaterial as she was 14-year-old at the time.

The court decided that given the relationship angle of the case, the convict did not deserve to serve a sentence.

First Published: Aug 25, 2019 23:52 IST