SC lambasts MP High Court in rape case ruling

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New Delhi, Dec 3 (UNI)The Supreme Court today lambasted the Madhya Pradesh High Court for adopting an insensitive, indifferent, casual and perfunctory approach while dealing with a case of rape of a young married woman in broad daylight.

A bench comprising Justices CK Thakker and Altamas Kabir ruled that the court must deal firmly with the perpetrators of sexual assault on women. The Madhya Pradesh High Court had reduced the sentence of Babulal from seven years RI given by the trial court to only two months and three days on grounds that the accused was an illiterate agriculturalist from rural area and a fine of Rs 2500 was also imposed on him by the trial court.

The Supreme Court while allowing the appeal of the Madhya Pradesh government and setting aside the High Court order noted ''with respect to the learned judge, in our considered opinion the so called reasons can neither be said to be special nor adequate. On the contrary in the Special Leave Petition seeking leave to appeal, the applicant state has avered that the learned judge was in the habit of passing such orders by reducing sentences to the period already undergone in serious offences punishable under Sections 304,307, 376 etc. A list is also given of some of the matters decided by him. The learned judge of the High Court has committed grave illegality which has resulted in miscarriage of justice. There were no reasons, much less adequate and special reasons, to reduce the sentence less than the minimum required to be imposed under sub-section 1 of Section 376 IPC. The order is therefore liable to be set aside.'' The apex court in its judgement also observed ''sexual violence apart from being a dehumanising act is also an unlawful intrusion of the right to privacy and sanctity of a female. It is a serious blow to a supreme honour and offends her self-esteem and dignity. It degrades and humiliates the victim and leaves behing a traumatic experience. It has been rightly said that whereas a murderer destroys the physical frame of a victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female. The courts are, therefore, expected to try and decide cases of sexual crime against women with utmost sensitivity. Such cases need to be dealt with sternly and severely. A socially sensitised judge is a better armour in cases of crimes against women than long clauses of penal provisions containing complex exceptions and complicated provisos.

Once a person is convicted for an offence of rape he should be treated with a heavy hand. An undeserved indulgence or liberal attitude in not awarding adequate sentence in such cases would amount to allowing or even to encourage potential criminals. The society can no longer endure under such serious threats. Courts must hear the loud cry for justice by society in cases of heinous crimes and impose adequate sentence. Public abhorrence of the crime needs reflection through imposition of appropriate sentence by courts.'' UNI AKS SC AM AS1946

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