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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Court sends two rapist uncles of 10-year-old Chandigarh girl to life in jail

The girl told police that she was first raped by the younger uncle. The older uncle, too, assaulted her repeatedly.

punjab Updated: Nov 02, 2017 21:58 IST
Aneesha Bedi
Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
The court also imposed a fine of ₹3.5 lakh on both the convicts, the younger of whom impregnated the girl.
The court also imposed a fine of ₹3.5 lakh on both the convicts, the younger of whom impregnated the girl.(HT File )

A fast-track trial court in Chandigarh sentenced two brothers on Thursday to life imprisonment till death for raping their 10-year-old niece, who gave birth to a child in August after the Supreme Court dismissed her abortion plea.

The court of additional district and sessions judge Poonam R Joshi imposed a fine of Rs 305,000 on the convicts in the case that made headlines in India and abroad.

Also, the Chandigarh State Legal Services Authority (CSLSA) was directed for compensation to the girl.

The prosecution pleaded for a life term, calling it an instance of “rarest of rare” case as the two men had broken the trust of the family as well as that of the child. The defence, however, called for mercy and said the convicts were the sole earning members of their families.

The girl was found to be 30-week pregnant when her mother took her to a hospital after she complained of stomachache this July. Her parents approached a local court with the plea to abort the foetus but it dismissed their petition as doctors said the procedure would be too risky for the girl.

Later, the Supreme Court also refused to allow an abortion on similar grounds.

India’s strict anti-abortion law prohibits medical termination of foetuses above 20 weeks, except when the mother’s life is at grave risk.

When her pregnancy was discovered, the girl accused an uncle, her mother’s cousin, who was a guard at a local hotel.

Police arrested him but the case turned on its head after the DNA samples of the girl’s child — who was born on August 17 — didn’t match with those of the older uncle, a father of three.

More than a fortnight later, the man’s younger brother was arrested and he turned out to be the main culprit.

The girl told police that she was first raped by the younger uncle, a cook at the same hotel where the brother, around last Christmas. The older uncle, too, assaulted her repeatedly from April till early July, she said. She didn’t name the younger uncle initially, fearing he would kill her parents.

The older uncle, who has a teenage daughter and 11-year-old son, broke down when the verdict was pronounced but the brothers kept quiet when the court asked if they have anything to say.

The judgment referred to the rise in rape after 2011 and how such crimes are either not reported or don’t reach a conclusive state in India. The court cited data from the National Crime Records Bureau.

The court observed,”…. the gravity of the offence calls for severe punishment so that the facts act as a deterrent to other persons who ruin the fabric of society, its peace and tranquility”.

The girl’s family was earlier given Rs 1 lakh under the Chandigarh Victim Assistance Scheme, 2012, and another Rs 9 lakh that will part of a fixed deposit is yet to be released.

The state legal services authority’s member secretary, Mahavir Singh, said it was done in accordance with the Supreme Court’s directions on August 25.

As the father didn’t seek any compensation, the money was put in her mother’s account to provide a special diet to the girl when she was pregnant with the provision that if the father asked for any amount later, it would be available from the fixed deposit.

The girl’s parents are not keen on moving her to a government-run home.

“The child welfare committee is guided by the principle that the child’s best interest should be protected,” said its chairperson Sangita Vardhan.

“In this case, her home is where she is most comfortable, and we don’t see any harm to her from her immediate family.”

An official from the committee has been counselling the girl and taking care of her.

The committee provides feedback to the director of the social welfare department, which sends the status report to the Supreme Court, the final of which will go for hearing on November 9.

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 12:12 IST

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