Court lets off rapist love-bird with 5-month jail term

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Akanksha Jain

New Delhi, Feb 25 (PTI) Observing that "love-end canbe tragic, but court cannot make it cruel", a city courtsentenced a 26-year-old youth to five months in jail forraping his minor girlfriend, but freed him by setting off thesentence against his detention during the trial.

"Love affair between the convict and the prosecutrixwas there and continued even after the apprehension of theconvict as was evident from the letters written by theprosecutrix to the convict," ruled Additional Sessions JudgeParamjit Singh, while convicting Bihar native Mohd Irshad forraping his 16-year-old neighbour in Jehangirpuri here in 2003.

But imposing a lesser sentence of five months on theconvict, the judge said, "Love-end can be tragic, but courtcan not make it cruel. In view of the peculiar circumstancesof the present case, I find it to be a fit case where thereexists special and genuine reasons to award lesser sentence."

"Mohd Irshad has been sentenced to undergoimprisonment for a period he has already remained in custodyduring the investigation and trial of this case," the judgesaid, setting off his sentence against the five month periodof his detention.

Under the Indian Penal Code, a person convicted ofrape is liable to be punished with minimum seven years ofimprisonment, but the courts may impose lesser sentences onspecial grounds.

The case dates back to January 5, 2004 when MohdIrshad, then 18, was arrested on charges of kidnapping andraping his 16-year-old neighbour, with whom he had gonemissing on November 27, 2003.

The case against Irshad was registered on a complaintby the victim''s father, who alleged that his daughter had beenkidnapped.

The victim during her examination deposed in the courtthat she was taken away by Irshad, who kept her in a room inMangolpuri area for about one and a half months during whichhe raped her repeatedly without her consent.

But during her cross-examination, she told the courtthat she went with Irshad on her own free will. At this, thecourt dropped the charges of kidnapping against Irshad, sayingthat "there was no taking or enticing" by the accused.

The court, however, held Irshad guilty of raping thegirl saying that as per municipal records the victim was aminor at the time of her rape and her consent or its absencewas immaterial in arriving at the guilt of the accused.

But, while sentencing the convict, the court heavilyrelied upon the fact that there was an affair between the two,taking note of the ''love-letters'' written by the victim toIrshad, both before and after his apprehension.

"The prosecutrix (victim) was willing and consentingparty and it seems that everything has happened with her sweetwill and consent," said the judge adding, "In addition, theconvict was only about 18 or 19 years of age at the time ofthe incident."

The court showed leniency to the convict saying that"the guilty has clean antecedents, belongs to a poor familyand is the sole bread earner of his family consisting of oldage parents, a wife and an infant daughter." PTI AKI RAX VMN

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